Today we hear the combat story of Jeff Morris, a former Army Infantry Officer who commanded soldiers in Iraq over two brutal deployments fighting on some of the most well-known and infamous streets of Baghdad.
NOTE: Stay tuned after Jeff's Combat Story to hear a Combat Story from one of our listeners!
Jeff was an Infantry Platoon Leader on Haifa Street in downtown Baghdad from 2004 to 2005 with 1st CAV where his Platoon of 34 men were awarded 27 Purple Hearts. He describes a significant battle that he was a part of on September 12th, 2004, in which two Silver Stars were awarded and he received a Bronze Star w/ V Device. He was then a junior but highly respected Infantry Company Commander in east Baghdad during the Surge from late 2006 to summer 2007, again with 1st CAV, where he lost eight men during fighting that saw almost every Bradley and M1 tank assigned to his unit destroyed by EFPs.
Jeff went on to document these experiences in his book, “Legion Rising: Surviving Combat and the Scars it Left Behind” and established the Legion 8 Foundation to honor the lives of the eight men lost under his command. The Legion 8 workout is also a Hero Workout of the Day (WOD) done at hundreds of CrossFit gyms around the country. He has previously been featured on other podcasts, including Mike Drop with Mike Ritland. I hope you enjoy this inside look at the burden of command in Iraq and Jeff’s combat story as much as I did.
Find Jeff online:
Book Legion Rising
0:00 – Intro
4:26 – The book, “Black Hawk Down.”
7:07 – The desire to be a SEAL
11:36 – “If it doesn’t make sense, don’t do it.”
13:00 – Jeff’s childhood
16:59 – The desire to serve the country
18:46 - “After I stood up for myself and took that challenge on, I wanted more.”
19:30 – The fastest guy in school
22:22 – “Boys do what they want to do. Men do what they have to do.”
28:37 – “You can’t go and create a leader of men and women in 14 weeks.”
31:03 – The role of a Platoon Leader
35:48 – The Bradley Military Vehicle
40:40 – Battle of Haifa Street
49:24 – The beauty of war
53:00 – The breezeway grenade
54:19 - “There’s a fine line between valor and stupidity and just plain luck.”
56:25 – Communicating in Battle
58:53 – September 12, 2004 (The Haifa Street Incident)
1:00:41 – Coming back to base
1:02:01 – Jeff’s Second Deployment
1:04:46 – Quotes from other podcasts about Jeff
1:05:55 – Building Camaraderie
1:12:50 – How having a child changed Jeff’s way of thinking
1:14:05 – The difficult mission
1:16:01 - “You know in that environment that you’re probably going to lose somebody.”
1:18:24 – Losing comrades
1:21:21 – Taking the dangerous route
1:24:18 – “I’m making decisions that are putting other people’s lives at greater risk.”
1:26:26 – “I’ve never had a positive thing happen in my life that came from me sitting around, waiting for somebody else to make a decision.”
1:29:12 – The Catalyst to turn things around
1:31:54 – “There’s no background music playing in combat.”
1:33:39 – A conversation with a Vietnam War Veteran
1:36:37 – The Man in the Arena
1:38:00 – Would you go back and do all that again?
1:41:48 - NEW FEATURE: A New Listener's Combat Story from Yonel Yogi Dorelis