By Christian Pelusi
The USO has enjoyed a proud partnership with seven-time USO entertainment tour member and Army veteran Craig Morgan that has brought his popular collection of country music to service members stationed all over the globe. Now, Morgan is premiering the lyric video for his newest single, “I’ll Be Home Soon,” to fans exclusively via the USO’s social media networks today.
Including the USO for the launch of “I’ll Be Home Soon” is a fortunate twist of fate for both Morgan and the organization. He participated in the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff USO tour in March, which dovetailed with the upcoming June 6 release of his new album, A Whole Lot More To Me. The sentiments from the album’s lead track resonated perfectly with what many service members experience when on deployment.
“It was one of those ‘alignment with the stars’ scenarios,” Morgan said. “I’ve been saying that the song has been divine intervention.”
“[‘I’ll Be Home Soon’] really evokes the emotions of someone who is excited about going back home. What I love about this song, as much as it is the singer saying ‘I’ll be home soon,’ it’s really about the person he’s going home to. Him saying I’m going to relieve you of some of this stress and take away some of your worries. And that’s what a soldier really looks forward to coming home and doing: Being that person in their love’s life.”
Morgan knows those feelings well after serving 17 years as an Army Fire Support Specialist (forward observer) and Army Reservist before beginning his music career in 2000.
“Almost half my life was spent in [the military] world. It’s a big, big part of who I am and it always will be. I always tell people [going on USO tours] is very emotional. It’s a bit … distressing [sometimes], because I have this attachment to the military, unlike a lot of other artists. So for me, it’s difficult to go over and be the guy that they’re all wanting to take care of and they’re all trying to say, ‘Thank you for coming,’ because I still, most of the time, feel like I’m them. I’m still a soldier. I still want to do the things that they do. I feel like I have a lot to give back.”
The perfect timing of the album and tour allowed Morgan to perform the song last March for service members stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson as part of a surprise USO stop with Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Paul J. Selva.
“To see the reaction of the service members, some of them didn’t even wait until the song was over to get on the phone,” Morgan said. “They just started calling their loved ones. That’s powerful. And that’s what the music is supposed to do. That’s the kind of impact we hope to have with our music. So I got to witness it first-hand, up-close and personal on that tour, because these are people that have been gone from their spouses for quite some time.” Another thing Morgan, a USO 75th Anniversary Honorary Committee member, has intimate knowledge of is the effect the USO has on service members and their families and it is the reason he has asked the USO to be a part of his new song’s debut.
“It’s immeasurable, what the USO does. There’s no way to gauge the complete impact the USO has and here’s why: You have these USO centers and they can keep [up with] the number of people that come in and out, but they can’t keep up with the physical, emotional, spiritual impact that those locations have,” Morgan said. “I’ve been told by more than one soldier that they have seriously contemplated taking extreme measures – like suicide, even – but then they stepped in a USO center and they felt appreciated and they understood it.”
“The entertainment that the USO puts together and sends overseas, that’s very expensive to do. But again, it’s immeasurable. I wish I had a recorder to record every time a solider came up to me or emailed or sent a letter or posted on Facebook that said ‘I was so frustrated. I didn’t know if I could get through this tour. But because you guys came over, the entertainment refreshed my batteries and I know I’ll get through the end now.’ That’s the kind of stuff you can’t measure.”
You can send a message of support and thanks directly to service members via the USO’s Campaign to Connect. Your messages will appear on screens at USO locations around the world.