Major General Morphis A. Jamiel was born in Fall River, Massachusetts and spent his early years there until his family moved to Warren, Rhode Island. He was a 1940 graduate of Warren High school where he excelled in academics and was a member of the Rhode Island Honor Society. On 4 June 1942, Morphis enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army Reserve and simultaneously enrolled in the Army ROTC program.. He graduated in 1943 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. Immediately following graduation, Second Lieutenant Jamiel was mobilized for training at Fort Benning, Georgia.
He deployed to during World War II with the 38th Armored Infantry Battalion, 7th Armored Division. On 21 December 1944, Lieutenant Jamiel led a platoon from B Company on its mission to keep the roads near St Vith, Belgium open for the Allies. Second Lieutenant Jamiel explains: “The road junction had woods on both sides so you could only see about 10 feet. So, we didn’t see the enemy until they got about 10 feet away from us.” This was the start of The Battle of the Bulge, one of the most decisive battles in World War II. During the fighting in St Vith, some 1,000 American soldiers were assaulted by a combined force of 10,000 Germans and 200 tanks.
Lieutenant Jamiel’s platoon was at the point of this attack by the combined German infantry/armor force. While no one took the time to take a headcount as to exactly how many Germans were attacking his platoon, two Panther tanks were quite prominent in the force advancing upon his platoon. After learning that the platoon’s tank support had been eliminated, Lieutenant Jamiel’s platoon nevertheless succeeded in destroying one of the two German tanks; when the other tank faltered, the attackers retreated.
In subsequent fighting during the Battle of the Bulge, when what remained of his platoon became surrounded, he exfiltrated those who could walk back to friendly lines. Thereafter, he returned to the area now occupied by the enemy in order to search for other soldiers who may have remained behind. With about 610,000 men committed and some 89,000 casualties, including 19,000 killed, the Battle of the Bulge was the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the United States in World War II.
Lieutenant Jamiel continued to serve in the front lines until the end of the war. His third Bronze Star was for action on 30 March 1945. General Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Prince of Belgium presented Lieutenant Jamiel with a citation for leading his men heroically in the vicinity of St. Vith, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge by assisting in the halt of the German Army advance, thus facilitating the allied counter attack.
Recalled to active duty during the Korean conflict, Captain Jamiel served with the 43rd Infantry Division. His numerous decorations include the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star with three oak leaf clusters and V Device, Purple Heart, Belgian Fourragere, World War II Victory Medal, European Campaign Medal with three stars, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Rhode Island National Guard Service Medal. He remained active in the Rhode Island National Guard with the 43d Military Police Brigade until his military retirement as a Major General in l975.
As a civilian and full-time Army National Guard Officer, Major General Jamiel earned a JD and served as Probate Judge. He graduated in 1948 from Boston University Law School and began an active law practice in Warren.
In civilian life, Major General Jamiel has been active in numerous fields. He served as a State Senator for four years, as a State Representative for eight years, as a Probate Judge for the Town of Warren for 13 years, as a member of the Town Council for two years, and as a Town Solicitor for two years. He was active in the Masonic Lodge and numerous other fraternal organizations. He taught law at Roger Williams College for eight years. Perhaps what he considers his most important achievement in civilian life, Major General Jamiel, at his own expense, attended Clown College in order to be able to provide amusement to sick children in hospitals.
Major General spent his entire life serving his community and nation during peace and war. His exemplary devotion to duty, personal bravery and outstanding leadership is in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his family and the University of Rhode Island.
Major General Morphis A. Jamiel died on 26 January 2013 in Warren, Rhode Island. He was buried with full military honors at South Burial Ground, Warren, Rhode Island.