(Edited by Dick Nelson ’64)
The U.S. Marine Corps has a proud tradition of producing superb combat leaders, and this Exemplary Graduate is certainly from that mold. As the son of a Marine officer and Vietnam veteran, he also followed a family tradition of selfless service in one of our military’s most challenging branches—Marine Infantry.
Colonel Jason Morris was commissioned in May 1992 after graduating with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy. Following The Basic School, he graduated from the Infantry Officer Course and was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marines (The First Team). At the First Team, Lieutenant Morris served as a rifle platoon commander, the 81mm mortar platoon commander, and the Weapons Company executive officer. On his second unit deployment program deployment to Okinawa, Lieutenant Morris assumed command of Headquarters Company, 4th Marine Regiment, and was promoted to Captain.
In August 1996, Captain Morris reported to The Basic School for instructor duty where he was assigned to the Defense Section, Instructor Group. For three years, Captain Morris served as a patrolling and defense instructor, a Delta Company 4-97 staff platoon commander, and finally as an Infantry Officer Course instructor.
In August 1999, he reported to the Amphibious Warfare School. In June 2000, Captain Morris reported to 1st Battalion, 5th Marines as the Commanding Officer, Bravo Company and deployed to Okinawa with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Ops Capable). In August 2001, Captain Morris received the Leftwich Award and subsequently assigned as the Assistant Operations Officer, Fifth Marine Regiment. In July 2002, then-Major Morris was reassigned to the 1st Marine Division Schools where he served as the Director until January 2003 when he was reassigned to the Division G-3 as the Assistant Operations Officer.
During the heavy combat operations of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, he served in the Division Forward Command Post until being reassigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines as its Executive Officer on 27 March 2003.
After redeploying from Iraq in June 2003, Major Morris assumed command of Marine Corps Recruiting Station, Portland, Oregon. During his three years of command, RS Portland won 12th Marine Corps District Station of the Year honors three years in a row and Western Recruiting Region Station of the Year in 2004 and 2005.
In 2006, Major Morris reported to the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. In July 2008, Lieutenant Colonel Morris reported to I Marine Expeditionary Force and deployed forward to Fallujah, Iraq, where he served as the Future Operations Officer, G-3 Iraqi Security Forces, Multi-National Force West. Following his redeployment in February 2009, he served as the Deputy G-5 and Chief of Plans, I Marine Expeditionary Force.
In September 2009, Lieutenant Colonel Morris assumed command of 3d Battalion, 5th Marines (Darkhorse) and led its combat deployment to Sangin District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan conducting counterinsurgency operations in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM 10-2 against the Taliban forces in that troubled province. Morris and his battalion were thrust into an enemy stronghold that British forces had failed to eliminate, with orders to dislodge them. The unit suffered heavy casualties, losing 25 Marines during its seven-month-long deployment, the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the Afghan war.
After relinquishing command in June 2011, Lieutenant Colonel Morris attended the College of Naval Warfare in Newport, RI, from where he graduated in June 2012. Lieutenant Colonel Morris reported to U.S. Northern Command in July 2012 and was assigned to the Theater Security Cooperation Branch, Future Operations Division, USNORTHCOM Directorate of Operations. In January 2014, Morris was reassigned as the Chief, NC/J32 Counter-threat Network Division. He was promoted to Colonel on 1 June 2014 and assumed command of the 9th Marine Corps District in July 2014.
Col Morris was nominated for promotion to Brigadier General in February 2019, with confirmation now pending before the Senate. He is currently serving as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.
Col Morris holds a B.S. in Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, a Master’s in Military Studies from the USMC Command and Staff College, a Master’s in Operational Studies from the USMC School of Advanced Warfighting, and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategy Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. He graduated with honors from The Basic School, the Amphibious Warfare School, the USMC Command and Staff College, the USMC School of Advanced Warfighting, and the U.S. Naval War College.
His personal decorations include the Bronze Star with Combat “V” (two awards), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), and the Combat Action Ribbon (two awards). As a Captain, he was awarded the prestigious Leftwich Trophy for leadership.