Dedicated to the Memory of
Sgt. Morgan W. Strader
A Good Man... A Proud Man... A U.S. Marine
Sgt. Morgan W. Strader served with Kilo Company, 3d Battalion, 1st Marines. He was killed on November 12, 2004, while engaged in the battle for Fallujah, Iraq.
Sgt. Strader's life was characterized by challenge, commitment and courage. He was dedicated to the cause of freedom. He loved his country and was truly a patriot in the finest sense of the word.
His family and friends invite you to learn more about him here and join us in extending his memory as we endeavor to implement these elements of character in our lives.
Morgan was born July 18, 1981, at Hendricks County Hospital, Danville, Indiana. He went home to a brother and two sisters. In short order he learned that tormenting his sisters could really make life fun, so he practiced frequently.
He started school in Brownsburg, Indiana, and continued there through seventh grade. He moved to Germany with his mother and stepfather and attended the schools at Patch Barracks, the headquarters of the U. S. European Command. Here he preferred the Rod and Gun Club to the classroom, but he focused enough attention on school to get through. He participated in soccer, rifle club, and other activities.
His next educational experience occurred at Cumberland County High School, Crossville, Tennessee. He graduated in May 2000.
He developed a love of the outdoors very early. He spent time during each summer with his grandparents in Tennessee. He loved fishing, hunting and hiking in the woods. School, he said, was boring compared to all the things waiting to be done outside. To prove he had the native ability to do academic work, he would concentrate on his studies for short periods, earning stellar grades. But, once proved, he was quickly back to slighting study to concentrate on his other interests.
He had a curious nature. He loved to figure out how things worked or examine a new snake or lizard he was not familiar with. He also enjoyed learning new skills, from rollerblading to scuba diving to martial arts to photography to motorcycling.
Morgan took an early interest in the military. He reveled in the stories his grandfather told of service in the Army during the Korean War. He also revered other relatives who had fought in World Wars I and II.
While in the Marines, Morgan never stopped talking about the next time he would come home on leave. He always planned to spend the majority of his time in Tennessee. He would send his menu requests to his grandmother weeks before his arrival. Morgan's favorite meal consisted of steak, homemade yeast rolls and anything chocolate.
Morgan was likable and lovable to everyone, but he will always be remembered as the one who entertained through sarcasm. He had a unique individuality we will think of often. Most of all, Morgan's courage, bravery and honor will be forever etched in our hearts.
Morgan lived a life of challenge. He sought out the difficult path and followed it as far as he could go. The result was not always what he expected, but he gave it his best shot.
Not only did he challenge himself, he challenged those around him. He wanted us to really live life, not just go through the motions. And we're better for it.
What can you do to live a life of challenge? Identify something that seems a stretch for you to accomplish, then tackle it and keep at it until it is yours.
Start with something simple, maybe walking a mile, maybe getting your homework done before dinner, or getting to work on time.
Once you've mastered that first one, find another and keep at it every day, every week, every month, every year.
This image was taken by French photojournalist Frederic Lafargue, who was embedded with Morgan's unit in Iraq. Morgan had one of Frederic's business cards in his pocket.
We contacted Frederic by email after Morgan's death and he was very kind in providing several images that he had taken of Morgan.
We're very thankful to the effort he went to in locating those images and sending them to us. He went above and beyond.
We've added the Scripture below the picture. It was Morgan's favorite Psalm and seems appropriate for the mission he was on.
Also, the metadata with this image indicates it was taken on November 11, 2004, so it is possibly the last image of Morgan before he died. We're very thankful Frederic made it available to us.
Another image provided by French photojournalist Frederic Lafargue.
This image has been provided by American photojournalist Lucian Read. Lucian was also embedded with Morgan's unit at the time of the Battle for Falllujah in November 2004.
This photo was taken after the clearing of a mosque that was being used to attack the Marines. The date on this photo is November 10, 2004.
Our heartfelt thanks to Lucian for making this image available to us.
A coworker of Morgan's dad tracked down Lucian and made the initial connection that resulted in getting this image. Thank you, Joy!
A memorial was erected in downtown Crossville, Tennessee, to honor those who died during the Global War on Terror. Morgan's name is the first listed. The Marine Corps League Detachment in Crossville placed this wreath at the memorial on Veterans Day 2020. The wreath is being moved to Morgan's gravesite on November 12, 2020.
We're thankful to the Marine Corps League for remembering Morgan.
More to Come! Check back!