Jim Morrison's dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War - We Are The Mighty
MUSIC

Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War

It’s fairly well known to students of pop culture and classic rock aficionados that the father of The Doors’ frontman Jim Morrison was a flag officer in the U.S. Navy. What is not as well known is that then-Captain George Stephen Morrison was the commander of U.S. Naval forces at the time of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident that gave the Johnson Administration the justification they needed to enter the Vietnam War.


After graduating with the U.S. Naval Academy’s Class of 1941, George Morrison was sent to Hawaii to join the crew of the minelayer USS Pruitt (DM 22). He was there on the fateful morning of Dec. 7 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
The Morrison family in the mid-1950s. (Jim at the far right.) (Photo: Morrison family collection)

After several combat deployments as a surface warfare officer, Morrison went to flight school. He pinned on his Wings of Gold in 1944 and flew combat missions in the Pacific for the balance of World War II and also during the Korean War.

In August of 1964, Morrison was aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31) leading the U.S. Navy force stationed off the coast of Vietnam. On August 2 several North Vietnamese patrol boats attacked the USS Maddox (DD 731) during an intelligence gathering mission that put the ship at 28 miles off the coast.

The PT boats fired several torpedoes that Maddox evaded while firing back with five-inch guns. Maddox hit one of the attacking boats, while F-8 aircraft launched from the USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) strafed the others as they fled, sinking one and heavily damaging another. Maddox emerged from the skirmish having only been hit by a single bullet.

Tensions remained high over the next days, and Morrison put his assets on high alert. Under the direction of President Johnson, he also ordered Maddox along with the USS Turner Joy (DD 951) to sail close to the North Vietnamese coast to “show the flag.”

During an evening and early morning of rough weather and heavy seas, the destroyers received radar, sonar, and radio signals that they believed signaled another attack by the North Vietnamese navy.

For some four hours the ships fired on radar targets and maneuvered vigorously amid electronic and visual reports of enemies. Despite the Navy’s claim that two attacking torpedo boats had been sunk, there was no wreckage, bodies of dead North Vietnamese sailors, or other physical evidence present at the scene of the alleged engagement.

Got a fever? Here’s the cure: How this WWI veteran became Metallica’s ‘One’

James B. Stockdale, later an admiral who was bestowed the Medal of Honor for his bravery during his time as a POW in Hanoi, was airborne in an F-8 during that time and reported seeing no enemy activity.

The details of the incident were distorted (perhaps intentionally) between Morrison and the other commanders on the scene, the Pentagon, and the White House. That night President Johnson interrupted prime time TV (a very big deal in those days) and told the American public that two U.S. Navy warships had been attacked on the high seas and he was asking Congress for support to counter the North Vietnamese aggression.

Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
Jim and his dad Radm. Morrison on the bridge of Bon Homme Richard. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

 

At the same time Morrison and his staff told Navy headquarters in Hawaii that the radar returns the destroyers had targeted were probably false returns generated by the rough seas. Headquarters relayed the information to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, but he failed to gives those details to President Johnson.

Based on Johnson’s testimony that the destroyers had suffered an unprovoked attack in international waters, Congress approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving the president the authority to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without a declaration of war.

According to an article by Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon, the next year Johnson commented privately:  “For all I know our Navy was shooting whales out there.”

 

Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
Jim Morrison: Lizard King, Navy brat.

George Stephen Morrison went on to earn his first star at the young age of 47. Five years later he was the keynote speaker at the decommissioning ceremony for Bon Homme Richard in Washington D.C. the same day his son Jim, the rock icon, died in Paris, France at age 27 after years of drug and alcohol abuse.

The elder Morrison was an avid piano player who had always encouraged his three children to appreciate music, but he never understood the choices Jim made and was always perplexed when he went to friends’ homes and saw posters of his son on their children’s walls.

George Stephen Morrison retired from the Navy in August 1975 as a rear admiral. He died in Coronado, California in 2008.

Articles

This music festival is hitting military bases and we’re amped

A new festival experience is coming to military bases this year and we’re pretty pumped up about it. Base*FEST Powered by USAA will launch at Camp Lejeune this 4th of July weekend and continue the party through Labor Day.


Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
Did we mention it’s free?

To celebrate, we’ve put together some playlists to get you amped (may I recommend “The Double Tap Ensemble”?) and we’re teaming up with some bad ass vets who will be sharing their own musical inspiration for things like, you know, fighting terrorism and defending the free world.

Also read: 8 epic deployment music videos you need to watch

We’re also powering up with USAA and To The Fallen Entertainment to bring you a music competition that will let veterans and their families bring down the house, so stick around.

Comment below and tell us which song we absolutely cannot leave out of our ultimate Battle Mix.

Articles

This is the new ‘Pitch Perfect’ trailer featuring the USO

The “Pitch Perfect” films are actually pretty funny and the music is definitely catchy — great date night movie (you’re welcome).


If you haven’t seen them, they’re about a women’s collegiate a capella (singing without music accompaniment) group competing against other singers for glory and what not. I was wondering where the third film would go, considering most of the characters were graduating at the end of “Pitch Perfect 2” — and now we have our answer: the USO.

(Pitch Perfect | YouTube)

This introduces some military-ness into an otherwise girly world — including military working dogs and Anna Kendrick flying out the back of a heavy — but mostly it leaves me wondering one thing: How would a group like the Bardon Bellas be received on a USO tour?

And on that note, who have been your absolute favorite (and not-so-favorite) USO guests? Leave a comment and let me know.

MIGHTY TRENDING

This is why so many veterans turn to music after war

An increasing number of studies and testimonials suggest that music heals symptoms of trauma, depression, and anxiety. As a result, veterans are being offered more music programs to help with healing after service.


Walter Reed Army Medical Center and at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence have created a music therapy program.

There are music therapists at VA hospitals across the country.

Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
Vietnam War veteran and Guitars for Vets volunteer James Robledo places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (Guitars for Vets photo)

And there are non-profit organizations like Guitars for Vets, which provides free guitar lessons — and a guitar — to veterans nationwide.

Vietnam War veteran James Robledo is a graduate of the program and the chapter coordinator at the Loma Linda chapter in California who, as a volunteer, has helped over 180 veterans graduate from the program.

“Playing the guitar takes concentration, it’s a little frustrating, it’s a challenge — but when you’re doing that, everything else disappears,” Robledo told We Are The Mighty.

Guitars for Vets — and its impact — has gained national attention. Robledo was named the 2015 National Humanitarian of the Year by the National Association of Letter Carriers, and he was invited to a music panel at the White House as well as to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

“There have been students that have come back and said because of the program they no longer have suicidal thoughts. And that’s what we’re about,” added Robledo.

Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
It costs $200 to put a veteran through the program, and all the funding comes from donations. (Guitars for Vets photo)

Ted Peterson, a veteran of the Navy and the Army and another graduate of the program, joined Robledo (and Willie Nelson — maybe you’ve heard of him) at the White House for a panel on music in the military.

He has written songs about the military community, including one that helped provide solace after the loss of loved ones.

“Learning to play guitar has let me reinvent myself. My knees and back are pretty banged up, but I can still impact other peoples’ lives in a positive way,” said Peterson about how he uses music to help others.

To date, Guitars for Vets has administered over 25,000 guitar lessons and distributed over 2,500 guitars to Veterans, and their waiting list keeps growing, which is why We Are The Mighty has partnered up with Base*FEST powered by USAA to donate $1 (up to $10k) every time you vote for one of our veteran artists and Mission: Music finalists until Sept. 23, 2017.

Editors’s Note: Voting is now closed. We reached our goal of donating $10k to Guitars for Vets — thank you to all those who supported this program!

MIGHTY CULTURE

This Army S6 rap track will be stuck in your head all day

You can talk about them but you can’t talk without them — that’s pretty much the commo creed. One U.S. Army information technology specialist took to the mic to remind everyone just how important that is.

The signal specialist here is known as Mark Vision, aka Marcus Twitty, a Germany-based soldier and Christian rapper who woke up one morning wanting to rap and ended up writing an entire EP. His track about being a commo soldier is called “This Is The Life (S6 Anthem),” and it’ll be stuck in your head for days.


For those not in the know, the ‘S’ in S6 means staff and the ‘6’ means communications. In the case of the U.S. Army, the S6 is the signal officer at the battalion or brigade staff level. In the song, he also mentions a “25 Uniform,” referring to the Army MOS 25U, Signal Support Systems Specialist, who works with radio and data, provides technical support for computers and networks, and maintains comms-related terminals, equipment, and data.

The song goes through the most common questions an IT specialist comes across on a daily basis, like:

  • What’s the wifi password?
  • Why can’t I login?
  • Why is my account disabled?

Also mentioned in the song is why people ask him about their account status while he’s eating lunch, second lieutenants trying to throw their rank around to get better service, and that TKS, the leading cable and telecomms service provider for U.S. troops in Germany, set up their civilian wifi and not the Army – but soldiers come to him for help anyway.

This is hilarious because we all know it’s 100 percent true. Be good to your communications staff: These are the kind of things they have to put up with every day.

MIGHTY TRENDING

This Marine’s rap is just as epic and mysterious as his identity

If you’ve ever surfed the internet looking for any information on the underground music scene, you may have come across a Marine rapper that wears a gas mask to conceal his identity.


June Marx, a Brooklyn native, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2004 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“I was a sophomore in high school when 9/11 happened,” June Marx states. “I just remember how chaotic that day was, but through all the confusion I knew one thing that day, I wanted to fight.”

Related: This Marine’s powerful music earned him an epic record deal

June deployed to Fallujah during OIF as Field Radio Operator and earned several awards during his time in service. He even credits the Marine Corps for giving him the needed discipline to continually write his rap lyrics drawing them from personal experience.

Afterward, he became a CBRN instructor and trained hundreds of Marines before they deployed to their combat zones.

Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
June Marx keeps his dress blues and medals in his personal studio for lyrical motivation (Source: Writeous Optics)

In 2012, Marx received an Honorable discharge from the Marine Corps then spearheaded himself to focus on his true calling — a music career.

June wears the gas mask as part of his image and believes the modern music industry is too “toxic” and there aren’t enough artists with “substance” being promoted.

His unique writing discipline has attributed him to record nearly 20 albums via his record label Torchbearer Records — quickly growing audience fan base.

Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
June Marx on the Heavy Artillery Tour signing posters his loyal fans. (Source: Writeous Optics)

He is best known for his “Modern Warfare” lyrical style and vivid wordplay. June is currently the lead of two music groups: Heavy Artillery and Cobra Unit.

After his album titled “Veterans Day” was released in 2015, Marx patriotically donated the proceeds to the VA Hospital in Brooklyn, New York.

For other authentic June Marx content check the following links: Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora.

Also Read: This incredible rap song perfectly captures life in Marine Corps infantry

Check out June Marx’s video below to his unique look and hear his motivating sound for yourself.

June Marx, YouTube
MIGHTY TRENDING

This is why Wil Willis was proud to serve

Army Ranger and Air Force Pararescueman Wil Willis is literally an American bad ass, so it makes sense Kid Rock’s epic song would make his Battle Mix playlist.


“Music became sort of this way of marking your time through the military.”

He’s not the only vet to talk about the impact music had on his time in the service. Like others, Willis has specific memories tied to the music he listened to while wearing the uniform, whether he connected with the lyrics or sang the songs to keep the cadence on unit runs.

“When you’re in the Ranger battalion, you’re the tip of the spear. ‘Break glass in case of war. Unleash hell’ — War Pigs is what that’s all about.”

Willis said he fought for family and love and adventure; for him, that was the whole point of service.

Check out the rest of his Battle Mix on Spotify by clicking right here:

MUSIC

‘Dear John’ letters inspired a classic Jim Croce song

Love letters from girls back at home are colloquially known as “Dear John” letters…but they’re not always true. In 1972, Jim Croce released “Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels),” a song about a one-sided conversation with a telephone operator. The singer is trying to find an old flame who seems to have run off to Los Angeles on a tryst with his old friend. The caller expresses his disbelief at being betrayed by someone he once trusted. It’s an all-too-common story, especially among those serving in the military — Jody ran off with the singer’s girl. 

In fact, Jody is exactly what inspired Croce to write the song, except it wasn’t about his old flame, it was about everybody else’s on the base where he was stationed, back in the days when a phone call cost a dime.


Operator, well could you help me place this call?
See, the number on the matchbook is old and faded
She’s living in L.A. with my best old ex-friend Ray
A guy she said she knew well and sometimes hated

Croce enlisted in the Army National Guard in 1966 with hopes of being able to avoid active service and a potential trip to Vietnam. He ended up serving on active duty for a few months, having to go through basic military training two times. Explaining that he was not good with authority, he once said he would be totally prepared if he “had to go to war with a mop.”

Still, he had a unique experience in the Army, one he probably wouldn’t have had otherwise. Some years later, his wife relayed the story of Jim waiting in the rain at the Post Exchange, listening to soldiers make calls on the payphones. He would overhear many, many “Dear John” stories as the soldiers called their ex-lovers to find out if the fateful letters they’d received were serious.

Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War

Jim and Ingrid Croce during Jim’s Army service.

Croce, who died in 1973, remarked:

There wasn’t a phone booth; it was just stuck up on the side of the building and there were about 200 guys in each line waiting to make a phone call back home to see if their ‘Dear John’ letter was true, and with their raincoat over their heads covering the telephone and everything, and it really seemed that so many people were going through the same experience, going through the same kind of change, and to see this happen, especially on something like the telephone and talking to a long-distance operator, this kinda registered.

Later, after Croce left the military, he worked in a bar and noticed the same phenomenon happening at the bar’s payphone. People always wanted to check up on someone but end up talking to the operator.

By the end of the song, the caller tells the operator he’s over the whole thing, but it’s clear that the caller isn’t. After all, nothing is going to change in one phone call. Jody worked fast, even in 1972.

Articles

This is the playlist that got this SEAL out the door

Here’s a short list of things we already knew about
Kaj Larsen:


1. He’s a former U.S. Navy SEAL

2. He’s an Emmy-nominated producer and war correspondent for
VICE and he has a masters from Harvard University.

3. He’s
a total hottie a founder of The Mission Continues, an organization that empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact.

But you might not know that he has rather eclectic taste in music and even learned to play while deployed.

“We’d sit around as a platoon. A couple of us played guitar, and we’d play and sing and that was extraordinarily significant for me on that first deployment. It helped carry us through.”

In a conversation with We Are The Mighty, Larsen shares the songs that meant something to him at different moments during his military career — whether it was the shotgun rack in M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” hitting home before a mission, or the patriotism of Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” during a controversial time in American history.

Larsen easily carries the gravitas of a combat-experienced SEAL, but he isn’t concerned about being vulnerable. He can laugh about being afraid of his jump training and how R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” helped get him out the door.

That’s the thing about music — in many ways, it becomes the soundtrack to our lives
, and Larsen’s has been a rather inspiring one.

Check out what he had to say about music and his SEAL career in this video:

And here’s his Battle Mix, just in case you’ve got some ass kicking of your own to do:

MUSIC

This former paratrooper is now a country music megastar

Craig Morgan Greer is a former fire support specialist who served in the U.S. Army’s 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions before becoming a country music star with seven songs that reached Billboard’s Top 10 most-played country tracks. His top hit, “That’s What I Love About Sundays,” spent six weeks at number 1.


Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
Craig Morgan performs on Crete, an island in Greece, during a USO tour. (Photo: Steve Manuel, USO)

The veteran, who performs under the name Craig Morgan, is releasing a new album but still finds plenty of time to go on USO tours and stop by military bases to visit troops, an activity he says is near and dear to his heart. I mean, who doesn’t like country music? 

The tours can feel strange for him though, since he’s treated like a VIP while he still thinks of himself as a soldier. This is especially true when he visits his former duty stations like Fort Campbell or Fort Bragg.

“It’s super odd, even still to this day, many years later,” he told WATM. “I’m not a VIP, I’m a soldier. It’s emotional. I mean, I had children born on both of those bases.”

Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
Craig Morgan Greer while serving in Korea. (Photo courtesy Craig Morgan)

While Morgan is very proud of his veteran status and open about it, he’s surprised that many of his fans and peers in the industry don’t know that he served. His new album’s title track, “A Whole Lot More To Me,” is partially about the fact that he wasn’t always a performer.

“I find it amazing that having been in the music industry for this long, there are still people who don’t know I was in the military,” he said. “That’s crazy to me. That’s what this record is about. There’s a whole lot more to me than country music and pickup trucks.”

The music video for a new song on the album even includes shots of his time in uniform as well as video of Morgan visiting troops and conducting activities, like PT, with them.

While the new album contains direct references to Craig Morgan’s time in the military, he says that most of his songs have ties to the service.

“The music always reflects back, at some point for me, to my experiences in my life, and since most of my life was in the military, they all relate back to it.”

One standout hit has a surprise military connection. “Redneck Yacht Club,” a 2005 song about a bunch of country boys taking their boats onto the lake for a party, is tied to his time slipping away from the post during downtime in the Army.

Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
Craig Morgan sings to a group of service members during a USO tour on Okinawa, Japan. (Photo: Steve Manuel, USO)

“I remember being at Fort Bragg and going to the lake or to Louisiana to get on the water,” he said.

Morgan, who spent over six years in the Reserves after serving for nearly 10 on active duty, says that he still misses the military from time-to-time, especially after USO tours.

“When I come home I pout around a little bit because I feel like I should be back in the Army,” he said.

Craig Morgan’s new album is available for pre-order on his website. It comes out on Jun. 3 nationwide.

MUSIC

6 ways Chester Bennington championed our troops

On July 20, 2017, the veteran community lost a valuable advocate in Chester Bennington, lead singer and front man of Linkin Park. Not only do his lyrics resonate deeply within the veteran community, he was a loud supporter of the U.S. troops.


To commemorate the life and support of Chester, let us never forget the acts of a true patriot.

1. He was a friend of Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA

 

2. He joined many celebrities on the “Convoy to Combat Suicide” tour

Along with Lady Gaga, Korn, Avenged Sevenfold, Cale Conley, and many MLB teams, the goals of the tour were to pass the Clay Hunt SAV Act, getting President Obama to take Executive action in this effort, and to connect over a million post-9/11 veterans with transitional resources.

 

Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
Chester talking in front of a San Diego crowd. (Photo via YouTube Screengrab)

3. His vocal support of the Clay Hunt SUV Act worked

On Feb. 12, 2015, President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act into law. The bill not only broadens VA and third-party support for veterans, but also extends combat veterans’ eligibility for VA hospital care for one year.

(The Obama White House, YouTube)

4. The song “Wastelands” is dedicated to the troops

In addition to being a dedication by Linkin Park, the music video features many photos of our men and women in uniform.

[dailymotion //www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x3nxjh6 expand=1]

Real Time With Bill Maher: Backstage Pass… by fatimagale

Fellow Linkin Park band member Mike Shinoda said to Military Times, “Our effort to help soldiers is a humanitarian one, about people. I hope the veterans feel our deep gratitude for their service and hope our efforts help give them the support they need to re-establish their lives.”

(IAVAVids, YouTube)

5. Every stop on the “Carnivores” tour, he would give a shout out to the troops

In Linkin Park’s 2014 tour, Chester would take a moment to thank the troops and veterans in attendance. He would address the audience about veteran suicide in a somber tone. He encourages the crowds to join in with him for all the troops do for the country.

During the tour, Linkin Park flies twenty two flags, each flag symbolizing the Veterans Affairs Department’s estimate for daily suicide among veterans.

(Quan Nguyen, YouTube)

6. He truly cared and took his time to speak to veterans who approached him

Chester Bennington would always make time for his fans, especially his military fans. Many times, he would allow the veterans to just vent directly to him.

Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
(Photo via Twitter)

Writer’s Note: He was a great man and a voice of my generation. Personally, his music helped me get through the rough times of my teenage years.

As a soldier, Linkin Park was always on my playlist. Going through my divorce in Afghanistan, it was the music that truly felt like someone else knew what was going on in my life.

Now, as a veteran, it breaks my heart knowing that a man that gave his all to prevent veteran suicide ended his own life.

An estimated 40% of all Post 9/11 veterans know a veteran who ended their life and 47% know someone who attempted. The burden of suicide isn’t just on the shoulders of one person.

We need to stand together. Friend to friend. Comrade to comrade. Veteran to veteran.

Be there for the people who swore to always have your back.

Articles

Katy Perry’s USMC Recruiting Video

Bad breakup, lady? Skip ‘Sex and the City’ marathons in your jammies and gal pal ex-bashing wine parties. Wanna forget that jerk in a hurry? Join the Corps!


This KP video (see what we did there?) was shot in 2012 at Camp Pendleton with official Marine Corps blessing, which makes it either a stroke of recruiting genius or a huge waste of taxpayer dollars.

Watch and decide:

Do Not Sell My Personal Information