By Art Remillard
On Thursday, May 5th the world-traveling Tallahasseean and retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, Robert Morris, gave GWTC members an absorbing glimpse into his life. Among other things, Robert told us about his encounters with some of America’s military legends.
At his first Army/Navy football game, Robert, then a brash teenager, disdaining protocol, requested and received General George C. Marshall’s autograph. Although the penciled signature is now faded, Robert explained the encounter with crystal clarity. As a young lieutenant, Robert also shared office space with a junior officer named “Norm” Schwarzkopf.
Traveling was perhaps the foremost theme of the evening. Robert’s pictures from Laos in the 1950s showed the region’s stunning landscape. While Robert spoke, some of the more historically-minded audience members started connecting the dots (Robert/Army/Laos /CIA/1950s). Indeed, Robert told us he was “on loan” to a civilian organization that dropped rice and trained Laotian officers.
While a simple Google search can now tell us about the history of America’s involvement in Laos and Thailand, back then things were a little more, well, secret. In fact, when in Laos and Thailand, Robert wore no dog tags, no military ring and had no official rank!
Something that has never been secret, however, is Robert’s lifetime of fitness challenges. Robert has run races everywhere from Washington D.C. to Oahu. He also recently participated in a thirteen-mile “plebe” night march and hike at West Point alongside his fellow graduates and the young officer candidates. For Robert, this couldn’t have been too much of a challenge – after all, he did just finish this year’s Tallahassee Marathon.
A soldier, runner, family man, educator, and friend to many – Robert is the kind of person that anyone could admire. I know that I do. Kate and I will be leaving late this summer, so this was the last lecture that I will host. I couldn’t have planned a better one to finish with.
Rest assured that the more lectures are forthcoming. I am pleased to announce that my colleague and friend Michael Pasquier will be taking over the position. I would like to thank Robert and all of my former speakers for sharing the fragments of their lives with the club. It has been a joy.