Lorraine Morrison, a retired chief warrant officer, relaxes at Bead & Berry Coffee House. She served in the U.S. military for more than 30 years. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Age:  57
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Maricopa residence: Tortosa
Pets: One cat and one dog
Hobbies:  Plinking
Greatest talent: The ability to juggle cotton balls in a haboob *laughing*! The only great talent I may possess is that I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. I am not concerned with what people feel, only with what they believe. I don’t care what people think, I’m interested in what they know.
Age of enlistment: Can’t remember; some time in my 20s.
Years in military: 30 years, 1 month, 23 days
Highest rank: Chief Warrant Officer

Why did you join the military? Fifty-two Americans had been taken hostage in Iran, so it was my duty to serve my country just as so many members of my family before me had done.

Where did you serve? Primarily in the United States and Asia.

What brought you to Maricopa? Its geographical location (between Phoenix and Tucson).

What military experience had the biggest impact on your life? Burying my fiancé at West Point in the autumn of 2010.

What was the most notable act of heroism you witnessed? There are numerous incidents I have witnessed throughout my 30 years of combined military service, but on a more personal note, it was my having saved a fellow service member from bleeding out.

What were some challenges you faced entering civilian life? Upon retiring I lost my support group of brothers and sisters, which seemed like taking point without my platoon behind me. Another challenge was attempting to effectively communicate with civilians.

What was the best advice you received during your time in the military? Back in 1979 my granddaddy advised me to, “Keep your eyes and ears open, your mouth shut, your nose clean, your head down and your butt covered.” His words have proven to be great advice in several types of environments.

What is your proudest moment? On a global scale there are so many incidents, but on a personal scale it would have been earning my commission at more than 50 years of age.

What is the one thing you would like civilians to know about the U.S. military? The military (and first responders) are not some strange entity created to frighten civilians. No, quite the contrary. We are just like every other American. The military is a cross-section, microcosm of American society; we are your first and last resort, but what sets us apart from civilians is that we have vowed to protect/defend those who are not as strong (de oppresso libre). We love our country and our American way of life, and when called upon we will defend all that it encompasses.

This story was published in the Fall Edition of InMaricopa the Magazine.