Craig Morgan is widely known for his country music hits like Redneck Yacht Club or more recently, The Father, my Son and the Holy Spirit. Now you can see it on the new CBS show, beyond the edge.
Before fame, Morgan was a soldier first.
“I grew up in a small town in central Tennessee,” he explained. “I thought that in order for me to do anything good or be successful, I was going to have to do something bigger than what I thought I was capable of doing there. I decided to join the military so I could go places, learn, and experience things I wouldn’t do anywhere else, while getting paid.
Although he first joined the army in 1986 to experience a world beyond his small town life, it soon became so much more for him. “It didn’t change me – it made me,” Morgan admitted.
He was deployed as a Forward Observer or 13F in Panama during Operation Just Cause in 1989, working alongside CIA and Navy SEAL teams. Morgan then spent the majority of his nearly 10 years of active duty attached to the 101st and 82nd Airborne, with which he deployed to Desert Storm.
During this time he was writing songs and singing. Morgan eventually decided to pursue it full-time after receiving encouragement from command. He moved into the Army Reserve in 1996, doing odd jobs while recording demos and eventually signed a recording contract.
“If I didn’t have success in the music business, it wasn’t the end of the world. You just work as hard as you can and try to get the most out of everything you do and move on. And that’s how I approached it and I attribute that to the military mission,” he explained.
Eventually Morgan’s hit records were creating long lines of fans at the door for his exercise weekends and he knew it was time to say goodbye to soldier life in 2004. “I acquired a sense of gratitude for how lucky we are in this country, being in the military, because I’ve traveled all over the world and seen so much,” he said. “Even however bad or poor I may have been at times, going abroad I saw that it was still nothing compared to how bad many other people were.”
In a full circle, his new venture brought him back to Panama. “This time of year, it rains every day, every night, so it could be brutal. But it was also very exciting,” Morgan laughed.
For two weeks, he and other celebrities fought to survive in a harsh environment and avoid ringing the “I quit” bell. “The reason I did this show is because it wasn’t about trying to get rid of each other. It was about trying to encourage each other pull through,” Morgan explained. “It was an opportunity for all of us to work together as we all fundraise for various charities. I think people will be intrigued to see how relationships develop and flourish and what happens throughout the effort.
Premiering Wednesday, March 16 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET/PT), viewers can watch beyond the edge on the CBS Television Network and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
For Morgan, it was all about camaraderie and fundraising for Operation finally at home, an organization providing and improving homes for American veterans and first responders. “The one thing I love about Operation Finally Home is their involvement with the wider community. I think it’s as important as they are to have a home without debt,” he added.
Her life has been filled with many beautiful moments, lessons learned, and undeniable heartaches. In 2016, her 19-year-old son, Jerry, was killed in a boating accident. Morgan retreated from the spotlight for a year as he and his family dealt with the devastating loss. In 2019 he published The Father, My Son and the Holy Spirit. A hauntingly beautiful song, it takes listeners through its journey of grief.
It went viral.
Two years ago he started working with Jim DeFelice, co-author of American sniper, to write his own memoirs. Morgan’s Book, God, family and countryis due out in September 2022.
“I hope that by sharing my story, people will see that it is normal to feel this pain while finding joy,” he explained. “That’s the biggest struggle with most people who lose someone, especially parents who lose a child, because they feel guilty when they experience laughter or joy. And I hope that through this book, and especially my story, they will find that it is good to have both.
As for what drives him now and always, living a life of honor and purpose is at the core – it’s a message he hopes his story will carry to others.
“I want to live as well as possible in honor of my son and his life. Although he is not physically here with me, he is still a part of my life every day and always will be until the day where I’ll see him again,” Morgan said. “I talk about it in part of my military history in the book, having suffered casualties there as well. We should all strive to live a good life in honor of all those we have lost.