Max Adams Morris rescued Wayne B. Nelson, Jr., and attempted to rescue H. Daughtry Perritt from electric shock, Fort Benning, Georgia, July 10, 1941. Following a storm, a radio antenna, which was four and a half feet above the ground, became charged with a current of electricity. The earth was damp. Perritt, 22, student, got hold of the antenna, was shocked, and became unconscious. Nelson, 20, student, who thought Perritt had been overcome by heat, was about to take hold of him, and his wrist came in contact with the antenna. He was shocked, became unconscious, and slumped down. Morris, 23, student, was told that the youths had been shocked and were in contact with the antenna, and he took hold of Nelson’s arm and was shocked. He jerked his hands free, and, balancing himself on the rubber heels of his shoes, he again took hold of Nelson and gave a tug backward. He was shocked more severely, but Nelson fell free of the antenna. With a pillow Morris then struck Perritt, knocking him free of the contact, but the antenna broke and the charged section fell across Morris’s shoulder, neck, and back. Morris was shocked, and he fell and was unconscious. A youth by means of a board lifted the antenna from Morris. Nelson and Morris were revived. Morris suffered severe burns where the wire fell on him, and his feet were blistered, but he recovered. Perritt could not be revived. 39218-3238
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Max Adams Morris of Blountsville, Ala., entered Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) in September 1938 and was a varsity football player. He was a member of “A” Club, Scabbard and Blade, and Blue Key honor societies. On July 10, 1941, while attending Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) summer camp at Fort Benning, Ga., Morris rescued Wayne B. Nelson, Jr., and attempted to rescue H. Daughtry Perritt, fellow API cadets, from electrocution. For that act, Morris was awarded the Carnegie Medal for heroism.
Morris graduated from API in June 1942 and was designated an honor military student. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the field artillery in the regular army. For his service during World War II, Morris was promoted to the rank of major and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Army Commendation Ribbon. During the Korean War, Major Morris served in the 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division. During combat at the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea, Major Morris was killed in action.
The original Max A. Morris Drill Field was dedicated on May 14, 1953, under the leadership of API President Ralph Draughon. That field was located at the intersection of Wire Road and Thatch and West Magnolia Avenues. Prior to that time, ROTC students drilled on Bullard Field, which was named in honor of General Robert Lee Bullard, World War I hero and API alumnus. Max Morris Field was dedicated as a tribute to those men and women of the Armed Forces who gave their lives in the defense of this country and in resisting aggression throughout the world. The field was also named as a tribute to the courage and faith of Auburn students in their determination to preserve the freedom and ideals for which generations of Americans have sacrificed so much. For many years, Max Morris Field served as both ROTC drill field and as a venue for intramural sports activities.
On May 24, 2012 a new drill field was named in honor of Morris.
(Provided by Prof. Charles Hendrix of Auburn University.)