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Lt. Gen. (Ret) John Morris, RIP

Updated: Jun 6, 2020

Lt. Gen. (Ret) John “Jack” Morris

A special member of the extended Army, Corps of Engineers, and public service family passed away recently and his remarkable life deserves mention.  Lt. Gen. (Ret) John “Jack” Morris went to sleep on Thursday, August 15 and never woke up. His passing was peaceful with his family around him.

A 1943 graduate from the United States Military Academy, Jack commanded an airfield construction company in the Western Pacific during World War II. After the war he served in the Philippines, Japan, and in the Army Corps of Engineers’ Savannah District.

Jack commanded the divisional 8th Engineer Battalion in Korea and during the Vietnam War, he commanded the 18th Engineer Brigade in Vietnam. He was the Corps’ Director of Civil Works and 44th Chief of Engineers.

One of my fondest recollections of Jack dates back to 1985 and 1986 and how he was invaluable in persuading Congress to support the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 with its new cost sharing and user fees.

Without Jack’s credibility and advocacy, that bill would not have become law.

For more information about Jack, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has published memoirs from Jack that is a treasure trove of information about his activities and keen intellect.  To access the document, please click here.

Finally, given how special Jack was to all of us at Dawson & Associates, it’s only fitting to add reminiscences from some of our colleagues who knew Jack well.

Robert K. Dawson

President & Founder

At the Morris’ family’s viewing, the line to greet the family was much longer than anyone could anticipate.  His West Point classmates, their family, and all Jack’s family and friends turned out in full force.  The family needed longer than the allocated hour to receive everyone. This was a great tribute to the man and an indication of the enormous respect for “The Chief” and what he meant to the nation and local community.

It was especially touching to see the family’s nice but informal memorial for Jack that included a prominent “Go Army, Beat Navy” banner!  Jack was a great American who touched many!

Brig. Gen. (Ret) J. Richard Capka Chief Operating Officer

Jack was my mentor. In 1974, as an Assistant Director in CW (Urban Studies) he advised that I had a year to “work myself out of a job” and shift responsibilities to Planning Division. About a year later, after I had accomplished the task and advised him so he said, “What did you do that for?” He proceeded to assign me as Acting Chief of Planning Division while they searched for a new civilian chief.

Jack’s effort to convince President Carter of the value of the Corps is legendary. Needless to say, I could spend many hours extolling Jack’s virtues. His memory will have a place in our hearts forever.

Maj. Gen. (Ret) Thomas Sands Senior Advisor

Jack was the first Chief that I worked for directly and he was a great man. The first time I ever met him was at a Tuesday staff meeting in 1979. He gave me a quizzical look and the first thing he ever said to me was, “AND WHO ARE YOU?!” Someone else had to answer because I was frozen in place. Jack will be missed.

Barry Frankel Senior Advisor

Jack was a true leader and inspiration for scores of folks in the Corps.  He was the first Chief for me.  I was fortunate to work closely with him when he was head of the Army Museum organization and I was leading the headquarters effort to find a new Chief’s office.  It was a real pleasure to get to know him and strategize with him.

Rob Vining Senior Advisor

The funeral service for General Jack Morris occurs today at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. He will be buried there.


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