Two Utah Guard Legends Retire

after 30 Years of Service

 

Written by Maj. Hank McIntire

Published December 29, 2005

       
Brig. Gen. Bruce Frandsen, left, pins the Utah Medal of Merit on Chief Warrant Officer Michael Burn at Burn's retirement ceremony Dec. 20.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Brig. Gen. Bruce Frandsen, left, pins the Utah Medal of Merit on Chief Warrant Officer Michael Burn at Burn's retirement ceremony Dec. 20.

 

DRAPER, Utah Chief Warrant Officer Michael J. Burn and Col. Craig V. Morgan retired officially from the Utah National Guard in separate ceremonies at Draper Headquarters Dec. 20.

At the morning ceremony honoring Burn, Brig. Gen. Bruce Frandsen, Assistant Adjutant General — Army, Utah National Guard, presented him with the Utah Medal of Meritone of the highest state awards a Guard member can receivefor Burn’s outstanding service.

The award citation read in part, “[Burn’s] thorough understanding of principles, procedures, integrity, leadership and keen ability to organize and accomplish tasks have been key to the success of the Utah National Guard. His total devotion to duty, unerring judgment and exceptional  personal courage reflect great credit upon himself, the Utah National Guard, and the United States Army.”

Maj. Ihor Balaban, left, presents a retirement gift to Chief Burn on behalf of the 640th Regional Training Institute.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Maj. Ihor Balaban, left, presents a retirement gift to Chief Burn, right, on behalf of the 640th Regional Training Institute.

Burn enlisted in the Utah National Guard in 1969 as a medic with the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He achieved the rank of sergeant first class before becoming a warrant officer in 1975. During his career he served as a supply sergeant, personnel sergeant, property book officer, and logistics-management technician.

Ceremony guests were also treated to an entertaining and touching slide show of images from Burn’s 36-year career, and then his friends and colleagues presented him with a variety of gifts and mementos.

Burn returned the favor by recognizing some key people who helped him during his career and presenting them with personalized gifts.

In keeping with his well-known sense of humor, Burn gave his supervisor, Lt. Col. Michael Norton, Utah National Guard logistics officer, an autographed 8x10 picture of himself, lest Norton forget what his soon-to-be-former employee looked like.

Burn paid tribute to his daughter and two sons and with a hug and a smile presented them with 5x7 autographed pictures of himself. He then awarded his wife Susan a certificate of “honorable discharge” from the Army National Guard.

Chief Burn hugs his wife Susan after presenting her with an "honorable discharge" from the Army National Guard.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Chief Burn hugs his wife Susan after presenting her with an

"honorable discharge" from the Army National Guard.

“This is pretty tough,” said Burn when he began his formal remarks. “My career was all about serving for my father, a World War II veteran killed in Korea.”

Burn reminded those gathered that although he likes to joke around, his focus has always been on the mission at hand.

“To me, the Army is not a game. It’s serious business. That’s why I’ve always tried to take care of the lowest grunt on the line. When I became a warrant officer, I dedicated myself to making sure Soldiers were taken care of,” Burn said.

He challenged members of the audience to continue to live the Army values, put the organization ahead of personal agendas and spend more time with their children.

“I’ve been proud to wear this uniform since day one,” Burn concluded. “I leave you now, hoping that my efforts have improved the Guard and its members’ well-being.”

Col. Craig Morgan, right, and Brig. Gen. Bruce Frandsen stand at attention as Morgan's Legion of Merit citation is read.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Col. Craig Morgan, right, and Brig. Gen. Bruce Frandsen stand at attention as Morgan's Legion of Merit citation is read.

A few hours later, the Draper auditorium filled up again for the afternoon ceremony to honor Col. Craig Morgan.

Brig. Gen. Frandsen presented Morgan with the Legion of Merit, one of the highest peacetime federal awards a Soldier can receive, for his 34 years of service to the Utah National Guard.

“[His] accomplishments have resulted in substantive and measurable improvements in the engineer arena and later while functioning in command staff level positions as Deputy Inspector General and particularly as Public Affairs Officer during the 2002 Winter Olympic World Games . . . His achievements are testament to the finest traditions of military service,” the citation stated.

“We are unable to do justice to all of the service Col. Morgan has rendered to this organization, the state of Utah, and the United States of America,” said Frandsen after presenting the award to Morgan.

Mary Beverly, left, presents Tammy Morgan with flowers and a certificate of appreciation for her support of her husband and the Utah Guard.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Mary Beverly, left, presents Tammy Morgan with flowers and a certificate of appreciation for her support of her husband and the Utah Guard.

Calling him “the Golden Throat of the Utah National Guard,”  having served as Governor’s Day announcer and master of ceremonies at several Veterans Day concerts, Brig. Gen. Ralph Dewsnup,  Assistant Adjutant General — Air, presented Morgan with the Utah Joint Medal of Merit and lauded him for his influence on his fellow Guard members.

“Craig has relished his service in the Guard and has an infectious enthusiasm for what he does. It’s been a pleasure for me to see the good that he’s done,” said Dewsnup.

Morgan then introduced his wife Tammy and their three sons to the audience, followed by a stream of his colleagues who took the stage one by one to honor Morgan and share memories of his dedication and outgoing, adventurous nature.

Among the presenters were military, government and business leaders, and even his high school principal, John Matthews, who, as a major general, was also adjutant general of the Utah National Guard from 1982-1994.

Morgan thanked those gathered for their attendance and support and indicated that his near-future plans include an extended trip to Australia, where he served an LDS mission, and working in real estate with his sons.

Chief Warrant Officer J. Mike Cottam, leader of the 23rd Army Band, left, gives drumsticks to percussion enthusiast Col. Morgan.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Chief Warrant Officer J. Mike Cottam, leader of the 23rd Army Band, left, gives drumsticks to percussion enthusiast Col. Morgan.

“I look out over all of you here and wish I could take you with me,” said Morgan. “The hardest day for me will be Feb. 1 (the day after his official retirement date) when I can longer put on the uniform.”

Morgan said that in his many interactions with the public he’s often asked for his definition of a hero.

“A hero is a person who sees what needs to be done and goes and does it simply because it’s the right thing to do,” said Morgan. “In my mind you are all heroes.”

Morgan joined the 1457th Engineer Battalion of the Utah National Guard in 1971 as a bulldozer operator and demolition specialist. He became a commissioned officer in 1981 and has served as a platoon leader, company commander, inspector general, public affairs officer, and most recently as Construction and Facilities Management Officer.

Lt. Col. Michael Norton, left, presents Chief Burn with a shadow box containing ribbons, patches, and awards from Burn's 36-year career.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Lt. Col. Michael Norton, left, presents Chief Burn with a shadow box containing ribbons, patches, and awards from Burn's 36-year career.

Maj. Gen. (ret.) John Matthews, left, Col. Morgan's high school principal, congratulates him on a successful Guard career.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Maj. Gen. (ret.) John Matthews, left, Col. Morgan's high school principal, congratulates him on a successful Guard career.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draper auditorium is filled to capacity for Chief Burn's retirement ceremony Dec. 20.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Draper auditorium is filled to capacity for

 Chief Burn's  retirement ceremony Dec. 20.

Guests at Col. Morgan's retirement ceremony give him a standing ovation at the conclusion of his remarks Dec. 20.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Guests at Col. Morgan's retirement ceremony give him a

standing ovation at the conclusion of his remarks Dec. 20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chief Burn, right, receives congratulations from well-wishers following his retirement ceremony.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Chief Burn, right, receives congratulations from

 well-wishers following his retirement ceremony.

Col. Craig and Tammy Morgan, left, greet friends and colleagues after his retirement ceremony Dec. 20.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Col. Craig and Tammy Morgan, left, greet friends and

colleagues after his retirement ceremony Dec. 20.