The father of Jake Morgendorffer in Brother Grimace's lexicon of stories, Sergeant Major A.H. Morgendorffer is a decorated veteran of World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts, dying one month after being placed on desk duty in July 1976. In "It's All About Respect," Kyle Armalin recalls reading about him during basic (actually, Plebe Summer at Annapolis) and has a high level of respect for him.
"Dad enlisted in the Marines in 1944, just after he turned sixteen - he was already six-foot-four and built like a bulldozer," Jake told her. "He lied about his age, of course, and they sent him to the South Pacific with a flame-thrower and an attitude. He got the name 'Mad Dog' because - well, one time, his unit was pinned down by heavy fire coming out of a dense area of the jungle, so he managed to sneak out of the ambush. The others in his unit thought he was a coward and ran away, but he was moving around and through the jungle growth so he could come up from behind. "
"He was about a hundred or so yards behind them when he runs into five or six of the enemy - apparently, they had the same thought he did about making their way behind. They start shooting, he flames them as he gets hit - and his tank gets nicked. One of the bad guys - I don't know, he must've thought about getting a brand-new flame-thrower from the U.S. Marines was a good idea. So - instead of just shooting him, he gets a belt from somewhere and gets it around Dad's neck to strangle him - or at least keep him busy while another soldier slices him with his sword."
"Dad swung the belt-guy around and HE got sliced, then got him with the flame-thrower," Jake continued. "Now, here's where it gets weird - because Dad swore he didn't remember any of this - but the guys in Dad's unit suddenly see the jungle where the shooters are just explode into flames like a Roman candle! The Japanese soldiers just start throwing their guns down and running - in total fear of something coming behind them… and that's when they see Dad charging after the soldiers, literally foaming at the mouth and yelling incoherently at the top of his voice! He actually ran through the flames, with the flame-thrower in one hand, the sword in the other - and the belt still tight around his neck, looking for all the world like a broken leash!"
"That would scare anybody."
"It really bothered the platoon CO - he had Dad checked out for mental problems. Meanwhile, the big-shots are looking over the combat area: it turns out that the bad guys had the firepower to wipe out the entire unit and then move in to do serious damage to the landing craft on the beach about five miles away. If that wasn't enough to make them go nice with Dad, checking his flame-thrower and finding his makeshift repairs -"
"Chewing gum and duct tape. They gave him the Medal of Honor three weeks later," Jake said. "The nickname 'Mad Dog' stuck almost immediately… and then they stuck him behind a desk for the next three years - except for promotional tours.
In "The One Day We Forget," it is shown that Jake has found some small measure of forgiveness for his father, as he takes a young Quinn with him to a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. At his father's grave, we see that Jake has kept his father's Medal of Honor.