Southeastern town of Morenci remembers and celebrates local veterans
March 13, 2018
The town of Morenci, Arizona, located in the southeastern part of the state, remembers the military veterans of their community, and especially those known as the Morenci Nine.
The Morenci Nine were a group of young men who enlisted together. They trained in boot camp together and were later separated as many of them were sent to different areas overseas during the Vietnam War.
“These are tough kids,” Kyle Longley, author of “The Morenci Marines,” says. “They lived outdoors. A lot of them were Boy Scouts. Almost all hunted. These were not city boys. These young men basically had two options: go into the military or go straight into their mines and work like their fathers.”
Joe Sorrelman is one of the nine who fought in Vietnam. He was witnessed some of the worst fighting of 1967. He stayed connected with his friends as best he could.
“I wanted to get into the real action of what combat would be like so I volunteered to go to division,” Sorrelman says. “At the time I was scared to death. I don’t know how you explain that. It’s a different kind of afraid… It’s a scared where it’s kind of your body takes over to survive.”
Only three of the nine would return home from the war.
Today, there are nine flags on a hill that overlooks Morenci’s sister town of Clifton. There is a monument made by local veterans to honor those who have survived and are currently serving.