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NEWS | April 1, 2024

Country music singer and Army Reserve Soldier Craig Morgan performs at opening day for Chicago White Sox

By Staff Sgt. David Lietz 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command

Warrant Officer Craig Morgan Greer, a combat veteran who served in some of the Army’s most elite units, sang the National Anthem at the Chicago White Sox home opener versus the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on March 28, 2024.

Greer, a country music star known for songs like ‘That’s what I love about Sunday’, was also the Whitesox’ ‘Hero of the Game’.

He re-enlisted in the Army Reserve last year after a 13-year break in service.

“I’m at a place professionally where I can serve again. I saw there was an opportunity to have an impact on Army recruiting. I’m doing it so that people know you can do great things in this country. We should all be willing to make sacrifices for other people,” said Greer. “I’ve been to over 90 countries and I don’t know one that celebrates freedom like America does.”

Senior military leaders and civilian military officials were at the ballpark to also recognize Greer.

“I’ve been a White Sox fan since I was a kid. One of the big things is seeing Craig Morgan passionate about Army Reserve service,” said Maj. Gen. Matthew Baker, Commanding General, 88th Readiness Division. “It’s pretty cool the White Sox are recognizing the U.S. Army, and that everyone in the stands respects the U.S. military. We need more people to serve. We need to show the people in our community that we are serving and we are your neighbors. That’s what makes a great nation.”

“What’s more American than being at opening day enjoying a hot dog with the U.S. Army. The U.S. Army has been around longer than the nation,” said Steven Herman, Civilian Aide to Secretary of the Army, Illinois (North). “I think it’s great Craig Morgan wants to serve our nation and the Army in particular. He wants to get the message across that a strong military is important. We need to be strong militarily and economically.”

Greer originally joined the active Army in 1985 when the Army recruiting message was ‘Be All You Can Be’. The same marketing message the Army has re-branded today.

“I wanted to get out of Nashville, Tennessee. I wanted to be part of something bigger. It sounds cheesy but it’s the truth. I know the Army would give me opportunities to experience the world and it did,” Greer said.

Greer served in some of the most elite units in the U.S. Army which included service as an Army Ranger, a forward observer, and fire support specialist in the 101st Airborne Division, 82nd Airborne Division and 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Regiment.

“I went where I was told to go. The 82nd Airborne Division and 101st Airborne Division have a very celebrated history. They are elite groups in the Army and still are. The 82nd can be anywhere in the world in 72 hours,” said Greer.

The singer completed Ranger training at Fort Benning, Georgia but said jumpmaster training was the most difficult training he ever endured in the Army.

“Jumpmaster school is the toughest school I’ve done. It’s mentally and emotionally draining. The attrition rate is about 70 percent. You’re responsible for the lives of those paratroopers,” said Greer. “It’s a lot of information to absorb in a short time. It’s the longest three weeks of your life. Any of those special skill sets require a lot of physical energy and the ability to stay strong mentally.”

Greer graduated from airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He remembered getting his ‘blood wings’ from retired Master Sgt. Red King and Col. Leonard B. Scott, author of ‘Charlie Mike’ a book about Vietnam.

“Red King was a Soldier and the first enlisted man to jump out of an airplane in front of the test platoon,” said Greer.

According to a Los Angeles Times story dated August 25th, 1988 ‘Red King was the first enlisted man to jump out of a converted bomber on August 16th, 1940, when the U.S. Army’s embryonic test platoon made its first jump over Lawson Field at Fort Benning, Georgia.’

Greer is also a combat veteran. He served in Operation Just Cause, the U.S. invasion of Panama which began December 20, 1989, and ended January 31, 1990, to oust dictator Manuel Noriega.

“During the 1st coup attempt, I was calling in situation reports from a golf course. We were doing missions before Just Cause officially started,” Greer said.

Two of the 23 U.S. Soldiers killed in Panama were from his battalion.

Greer sees the same burning passion to serve in young people today.

“I think young people have a passion and desire for service. The problem is they have been fed bad information and are unsure. They must have a desire to serve and the energy will come. They are going to gain numerous skill sets that they can only gain in the military. And they will establish friendships under circumstances the military puts them in,” said Greer.

Young people considering a musical career can also find an opportunity to serve in the Army Reserve.

“Being a musician is an actual job in the military. They are some of the most highly qualified musicians I’ve ever met. You must audition for the Army Band,” said Greer, who is the Associate Bandmaster of the 313th Army Band at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, for his Army Reserve job. “There are multiple Army Reserve bands.”