Craig Morgan – Thank A Vet!


Craig Morgan is best known as a singer and songwriter. The Kingston Springs, Tennessee native was born to a bass playing father whose job offered a look behind the scenes at some of country music’s biggest stars as he grew up around Nashville. When he was ten, he had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem in front of a crowd that included Minnie Pearl, who told him, “Son, someday you’re gonna be a famous singer.”

But, Morgan didn’t think the odds were in his favor. “At first, I didn’t want to be a musician because I always thought that to be a musician you had to do three other things to make a living,” he said. Instead at 18 years old he joined the Army. In the beginning, was a forward observer with the artillery and worked with Army’s 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions. Morgan added, “I worked with the ranger battalion and later on had the great fortune of working with the Special Forces units.” The singer, whose full name is Craig Morgan Greer, went on to be deployed with the 82nd Airborne to Desert Storm where he became a parachutist.

Morgan also entered many singing and songwriting contests in the military and won acclaim from his fellow soldiers and officers. He also won a singing competition. The prize was an opportunity to open for the band Sawyer Brown, which was on a USO tour in the region.

He spent 10 years in the active military, but during a counseling session with his commanding officer to discuss reenlistment he was told, ‘You could possibly be the Sergeant Major of the Army one day. You have the potential to do that and you have a great skill set, but I also believe that you should not pass up the opportunity to be a singer. I believe you have a shot at that,'” Morgan said. It was those words that gave Morgan the confidence to go out and pursue a career in country music.

Morgan stayed in the reserves for another six and a half years. “I had a hit record on country radio and I was still going to my weekend drills,” said Morgan. “I knew the weekend that I went in and there were people at the gate waiting to get my autograph that it was probably time for me to move on.”

In 2002, he released the single, “Almost Home,” earning him a “Song of the Year” award from Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and a Songwriter’s Achievement Award from the Nashville Songwriter’s Association.

The rest of his song list includes hits like “International Harvester,” “Wake Up Lovin’ You,” “This Ole Boy,” “Redneck Yacht Club,” “This Ain’t Nothin’” “Bonfire” and “That’s What I love About Sunday.”

Morgan still spends plenty of time with the military, a place that he states put a sense of loyalty within him like no job or company could. His USO tours are numerous, and he was currently in Japan when writing this story. He is part of Air Force General Paul J. Selva USO first tour as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to celebrate the USO’s 75th anniversary. He has performed for the troops in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany and in some of the most remote locations around the world. He has also performed for the military and their families at military bases all over the United States. His efforts for the military earned him the 2006 USO Merit Award for his tireless support of U.S. soldiers and their families, and was honored with the USO of North Carolina’s Heart for the Warrior Award in October of last year.

“In addition to showing our support for the service men and women deployed, I find a growing sense of pride in the good our country does while on these visits,” Morgan wrote on his website. “We are not just fighting a war and helping people gain democracy and human rights in their own country, but our military is over there building hospitals and schools … structures and plumbing that didn’t exist before 9/11.”

Morgan will be back in the states soon, and performing at the Dusty Armadillo in Rootstown, as part of the WQMX Charity Concert Series on Wednesday, March 23rd.

The show will benefit appropriately benefit NEOPAT and Pay It Forward for Pets.

NEOPAT, is a non-profit organization that not only honors the fallen soldiers from Northeast Ohio, but is also dedicated to promoting patriotic acts that will deepen the sense of patriotism locally.

Pay It Forward for Pets in Akron, is also a non-profit organization that improves the lifes of people and “rescued” pets.  The group offers six programs including Senior Pets for Senior Citizens, Pets for Vets and a Critical Care Assistance Program.  The group also offers assistance to county shelters to help expedite adoptions and end euthanasia.

Craig Morgan performs for the WQMX Charity Series at Dusty Armadillo in Rootstown, Ohio on Wednesday, March 23rd at 7:00pm. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at OR in person at the Dusty Armadillo (during their business hours).