10th Mountain Division veteran, leader remembered for outreach to soldiers

By GORDON BLOCK | Watertown Daily Times, N.Y. | Published: March 14, 2013

WATERTOWN, N.Y. — The former president of the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, Nathan E. Morrell, was remembered for his big heart and his enthusiasm for Fort Drum soldiers.

“He appreciated their sacrifice and service, and he let them know that,” said Michael T. Plummer, the organization’s president.

Mr. Morrell, 89, died March 6 at Samaritan Medical Center. The post hosted a funeral for him last weekend.

Training with the division at Camp Hale, Colo., Mr. Morrell served with the division in Italy during World War II. He also was a medic during the Korean War. Mr. Morrell earned a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars during his career.

After leaving the Army, the New Hampshire native moved in 1967 to New York, where he ran several businesses.

His daughter, Jennifer A. Morrell, said her father always was taking on new projects and learning new things.

“He loved history, he loved politics and he loved the 10th Mountain Division,” she said.

Mr. Morrell served as president of the division’s organization from 1998 to 2001.

Among the accomplishments during his time leading the organization was the development of the 10th Mountain Military Monument. He also was chairman of the organization’s board from 2002 to 2007.

Mr. Plummer said Mr. Morrell brought a large amount of enthusiasm to his work.

“Everything in the glass was half full,” he said. “His optimism was contagious.”

In recent months, he was involved in the Project Fallen Warrior Monument, which is expected to be finished this fall.

James W. Corriveau, who worked with him on the statue, said he first met Mr. Morrell in 1998 when he was planning a reunion of about 350 10th Division soldiers on post.

The highlight of the reunion, Mr. Corriveau said, was the march of veterans in formation at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.

“It was quite a scene, a bunch of proud old guys, and Nate was the ringleader for all that,” he said.

Mr. Corriveau, the post’s director of public works, said Mr. Morrell set up several opportunities for current soldiers to interact with the veterans during the reunion.

“He wanted more engagement between the young soldiers of today and the veterans of World War II while they were still around,” he said.

Craig Boss, the organization’s executive director, said the outreach was appreciated.

“They’re looking at this guy who was in combat in the 1940s, 1950s, and they’re going through the same stuff now,” Mr. Boss said. “They share the same bond.”

He said Mr. Morrell was a regular visitor to division headquarters.

“He’d literally just go into an office and plop into a chair and talk to you if you were in uniform,” he said.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Morrell is survived by a sister, Marion Owen, along with several nieces and nephews.|


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