Rocky Mount, N.C. – In honor of National Criminal Justice Month, North Carolina Wesleyan College is proud to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Lieutenant Colonel Mike Morgan’s awarding of the Silver Star. A 1989 Wesleyan graduate and criminal justice major, Colonel Morgan was presented the nation’s third highest war-time medal for valor by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan last March.
Serving with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, at the time of his heroism, Morgan was the commander of 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment (Task Force Saber). He earned recognition for his part in repelling an insurgent ambush directed at a U.S. Army Engineer unit while they were performing a route clearance patrol.
Morgan was air mission commander for a team of two OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters that arrived in support. According to his citation, Morgan repeatedly maneuvered his aircraft between rocket propelled grenade and heavy machine gun fire, enabling him to fire on and destroy enemy positions.
“I’m honored that the Secretary of Defense recognized the accomplishments of Task Force Saber, Task Force Talon, and Task Force Pegasus in southern Afghanistan,” said Morgan. “Although there were singular, decisive acts that led to the receipt of this award, the incredible contributions and teamwork displayed by the 4th Engineer Battalion, aviation mechanics, armament technicians, forward arming and refuel personnel, and fellow aviators cannot be overlooked.”
Morgan grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia and was a self-described “average, undersized kid.” A graduate of Kempsville High School, he came to North Carolina Wesleyan in the mid-80s and proceeded to join and participate in the College’s ROTC and men’s soccer programs.
Morgan returned home from the yearlong deployment last April with his Silver Star, as well as two Distinguished Flying Crosses and an Army Commendation Medal with Valor. He joins a wealth of NCWC alumni who have proudly served our country.
Parts of this article are courtesy of The Virginian-Pilot and the United States Army.