A lot of country singers seemingly adopt the title of American hero because they sing about the working class and national pride. But Craig Morgan truly can call himself that -- a hero.
During his 11 years of active duty in the U.S. Army, Morgan, who trained elite combat units, participated in Operation Just Cause, the U.S. military operation that removed Panama's Manuel Noriega from power.
"It's difficult, but as a soldier it's something that you know that you might encounter," the impeccably polite Morgan says of fighting. "I don't want to say it's part of the job, but that's really what it is. It's part of the job. You know that it's going to happen. You hope that it don't. Nobody wants to fight. But they are ready, willing and able to, fortunately for us."
Graham Central Station, 7850 South Priest in Tempe
Scheduled to perform with Aaron Lines on Tuesday, December 2. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance at Graham Central Station, $17 at the door. For more information, call 480-496-0799.
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Morgan has music in his blood. His father was a musician, so, in not wanting to follow in his footsteps, he joined the Army. Yet it was as an enlisted man that he discovered his true calling.
"It was always in my blood," he says. "I grew up 45 miles west of Nashville, a little town there. My father was a musician. I think it was something that was always in my system. But I kind of avoided it as a youngster. I left, joined the Army, and it wasn't until I left and got away from it that I realized I wanted to do it."
Morgan has been successful in his second career so far. His hit "Almost Home," from his album I Love It, reached Billboard's country singles chart earlier this year.
In December, he's heading to the Middle East to perform during a USO show and support his military peers. "God willing and everything stays the way it is. . . . There's so much going on over there. It's subject to cancel. [But] I know what it's like to be overseas and have someone come from home. I'm looking forward to that."