Cadet Christopher J. Morgan
Hometown: West Orange, NJ.
Died: June 6, 2019
Unit: West Point Military Academy, NY.
Cadet killed, 21 injured in military vehicle accident at West Point
The West Point cadet killed when a military vehicle overturned at the New York military academy was identified on Friday as a 22-year-old man from West Orange, New Jersey.
Christopher Morgan — who was set to be a part of the class of 2020 — died and 21 soldiers were injured on Thursday when the vehicle overturned and rolled at least 15 feet down a steep embankment, officials said.
“Cadet Morgan was a valued member of the Corps of Cadets and will be missed by all. The entire community is ensuring that our cadets are being cared for physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” said Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, 60th Superintendent, U. S. Military Academy.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Morgan family.”
Morgan was a former wrestling and football player at West Orange High School where he graduated in 2015, according to the West Orange Patch.
Morgan’s wrestling coach, Kevin Ward, mourned his loss in a statement.
“We are devastated by the news of Chris’ passing. He was a talented, hardworking, and determined athlete who loved his sport,” Ward said.
“Chris had an infectious personality with a smile big enough to fill any room, and a heart big enough to love everyone around him. He made everyone around him better and he will be greatly missed.”
Before the crash, the vehicle was headed along a dirt road in “hilly, mountainous terrain.” It overturned and rolled down some 15 to 20 feet, coming to a rest on a rocky area.
Who was Christopher J. "C.J." Morgan?
Morgan had been a cadet second lieutenant in the junior Air Force ROTC program at West Orange High School. Morgan graduated in 2015. Eveny de Mendez, acting superintendent for the West Orange Public Schools', said the district's thoughts and prayers were with the Morgan family.
"Chris represented the very best of West Orange and our country, and his family continues to be foundational members of our community," de Mendez said.
Morgan had two younger sisters and a younger brother.
After graduating from West Orange, he spent a year at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School, according to an article on West Orange Public Schools' website.
He was a law and legal studies major at West Point, according to a news release from the military academy.
He was expected to graduate from West Point in 2020 and would have been commissioned as a second lieutenant with the Army.
His brother, Colin Morgan, won an appointment to West Point and is scheduled to become a member of the class of 2023 on July 1.
Throughout his career, Morgan left a legacy as one of the top wrestlers in West Orange history.
In his senior year, he won 40 matches and finished fifth in the NJSIAA state wrestling tournament at 182 pounds. He won district and region titles that season and was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the Essex County Tournament.
Morgan made the first team for the All-Super Essex Conference at 182 pounds. The Mountaineer upper-weight also qualified for the NJSIAA State Championships as a junior, when he reached the Round of 12.
Morgan was then a "standout member of the Army wrestling team," according to the release from the military academy.
Kevin Ward, coach of Army's wrestling team said Morgan was a "talented, hardworking and determined athlete who loved his sport."
"Chris had an infectious personality with a smile big enough to fill any room, and a heart big enough to love everyone around him," Ward said. "He made everyone around him better and he will be greatly missed."
In addition to being a highly touted wrestler, Morgan was the co-captain of the West Orange High School football team, according to the article the school district published.
Morgan said even if he didn't become a career Army officer, he hoped to work with Homeland Security, the school district article said. He expressed interested in political science, foreign affairs and the global economy.
His father said he also considered law school after his five years of Army service were through.
"He was happy with his choice and he was pursuing that direction," Christopher Morgan Sr. said of his time at West Point and beyond.
When will his funeral be?
A private memorial service and funeral service for Morgan will take at the military academy sometime next week. A vigil is being held Friday night by the Corps of Cadets.
Staff Writer Joshua Jongsma and LoHud reporter Peter Kramer contributed to this story. (northjersey.com)