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NEWS | Feb. 6, 2024

Country music artist becomes Army Reserve warrant officer

By SKIP VAUGHN U.S. Army Garrison - Redstone Arsenal

Country music star Craig Morgan wore his Army green service uniform Saturday at Redstone Arsenal.

The Army Reserve Soldier was promoted to warrant officer in a pinning ceremony at Heiser Hall attended by his fellow members of the 313th Army Band, family and friends from as far away as Texas and Oklahoma. He was promoted from staff sergeant.

Warrant Officer 1 Craig Morgan Greer serves as associate bandmaster for the 313th Army Band at Redstone Arsenal. The 313th is under the 81st Readiness Division at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, which also includes the 100th Army Band at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the 208th Army Band at Concord, North Carolina.

“I am here as part of this command and honored and grateful and proud to be part of it,” Greer, 59, said. The Tennessee native – born in Kingston Springs and residing in Dickson – re-joined the Army Reserve on July 29, 2023, while on stage at the Grand Ole Opry after a 13-year break in service. The oath of enlistment was administered by Gen. Andrew Poppas, commander of the Army Forces Command.

He first joined the Army in 1985 and served on active duty for nine and a half years as a member of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions and remained in the Reserve for another six and a half years. Greer was a Ranger, a forward observer and fire support specialist with the 101st, the 82nd and the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He participated in the U.S. Invasion of Panama in 1989. After charting 17 times on the Billboard country music charts since 2000, the singer-songwriter described why he has returned to the Reserve ranks.

“Two reasons. What started it all, the primary reason, I had 17 and a half years of service. And when my enlistment was up, I just left. And I didn’t get that letter that said I served my country,” Greer said. “And that was the primary. The second reason, I’d heard that the Army was coming back with the Be All You Can Be campaign. And that was the campaign when I joined (in 1985). So, when they said they were coming back with it, I felt like I had a lot to offer especially in attempting to influence and encourage people to serve.”

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Billy Green, commander of the 313th Army Band, talked about having a country singer in his 48-member unit since August.

“Craig is one of the most genuine people I have met in my life,” Green said. “He wants to influence people to be all they can be in the Army. It’s been fun. Thank you for making this commitment and being a part of this unit.”

The 313th Soldiers have a one weekend a month, two weeks a year requirement in addition to 60 performances a year. “They volunteer to do that. I can’t thank you all enough for this process,” Green said.

With his three-year contract, Greer said he plans to stay in the Reserve “till they make me leave; as long as I am having a positive impact on the Army mission, I’ll be here.”

This was his fourth or fifth time at Redstone Arsenal. Mostly he supports Army outreach at the Pentagon. On Sunday, Greer sang the national anthem at the NFL Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

His wife of 35 years, Karen, pinned the new rank on his shoulders along with John Clement, state field director and military adviser to U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. Blackburn played a key role in Greer’s re-enlistment. The Greers have five children: daughters Marisa and Alexandra and sons Kyle, Jerry and Wyatt. On July 10, 2016, Jerry went missing after falling off an inner tube in Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River. His body was recovered one day later. He was 19.

Karen shared her thoughts on her husband’s Reserve role.

“It’s fantastic,” she said. “It’s the one thing in his life that he felt he did not finish. It’s the best thing for him to finish well.”

The pinning ceremony was followed by a reception at The Summit. Greer took the stage with members of the 313th jazz combo and sang some of his hits, including “International Harvester” and “That’s What I Love About Sunday.”

Among the reception’s 85 attendees were Jan Haigler, deputy chief of operations for the 81st Readiness Division at Fort Jackson; and retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Willie Williams.