West Point accident: Cadet killed identified as New Jersey man

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Saturday, June 8, 2019
West Point accident: Cadet killed identified as New Jersey man
Diana Rocco has more.

WEST ORANGE, New Jersey -- The West Point cadet killed after a truck overturned on a dirt road Thursday morning was identified as Chris "C.J." Morgan, a former star high school wrestler in New Jersey and from a family of West Point graduates.

The Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV), which was loaded with cadets, overturned where Route 293 connects with the Camp Natural Bridge training site around 6:45 a.m., killing Morgan and injuring 21 others.

Morgan, age 22, was part of a family well known in his West Orange community. West Point was all in the family for C.J., with several generations attending the military academy.

"He was my first child. He was my hero. He helped make me into a better father," said his dad, Christopher Morgan Sr. "He made me a better person."

Morgan was a star athlete at West Orange High School.

Stephan Zichella, wrestling coach and West Orange High School Dean, said Morgan was a beloved person.

"He was the greatest kid. He was everything you would want in a student. The school is really feeling this as well. We love him. We love him," Zichella said.

The father of West Point cadet Chris "C.J." Morgan talked to Eyewitness News

Morgan was set to graduate from West Point in 2020, where he also wrestled.

Kevin Ward, Morgan's wrestling coach, described him as "talented, hardworking, and determined."

"Chris had an infectious personality with a smile big enough to fill any room, and a heart big enough to love everyone around him. He made everyone around him better and he will be greatly missed," he said.

He was the oldest of 4 siblings - 2 brothers and 2 sisters. His younger brother, Colin Morgan, received his Certificate of Appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He starts this fall. His dad said Colin wanted to follow in his brother's footsteps.

A few high-level officials also shared their condolences, including President Donald Trump.

"So sorry to hear about the terrible accident involving our GREAT West Point Cadets. We mourn the loss of life and pray for the injured. God Bless them ALL!" he said in a tweet.

New Jersey Governor Murphy also expressed his condolences.

"Cadet Morgan represented the highest and best values of New Jersey. By all accounts, he was a standout in every regard - academically, athletically, and in the leadership he showed among his peers within the West Orange and West Point communities," he wrote in a statement.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, in part, "we pray for a speedy recovery for those involved and we share in the sorrow experienced by their loved ones during this extremely difficult time."

The Corps of Cadets will hold a vigil to honor Morgan Friday night. A memorial ceremony for the West Point community and private funeral service will be held at the academy next week.

Classes ended at West Point last month, but the academy runs summer military training exercises in the heavily wooded hills outside the main gates.

The rollover occurred on a fire break road as the vehicle was leaving Camp Natural Bridge, where about 2,400 trainees live during the summer.

They were en route to Land Navigation Training, part of regular training for West Point cadets. The terrain where the crash occurred was described by military officials as rugged and hilly, which is common in that region.

The investigation of the cause of the single-vehicle accident was continuing.

West Point is on the Hudson River about 50 miles north of New York City.