West Point cadet killed in vehicle accident identified as exemplary wrestler from New Jersey studying law

The 22-year-old West Point cadet killed on Thursday morning after a multi-vehicle accident near the U.S. Military Academy was identified on Friday as Christopher J. Morgan of West Orange, New Jersey.

The cadet died at the scene after a 5-ton truck with 20 cadets and some U.S. Army soldiers aboard overturned during summer training near the Camp Natural Bridge facility in upstate New York.

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Nineteen other cadets and two soldiers operating the vehicle sustained non-life-threatening injuries. All had been treated and released by Friday.

“Cadet Morgan was a valued member of the Corps of Cadets and will be missed by all. The entire community is ensuring that our cadets are being cared for physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, West Point superintendent, said in a statement on Friday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Morgan family.”

It remains unclear what caused the crash. The investigation will include a probe by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, a review by a safety team from Alabama’s Fort Rucker. The New York State Police will help to re-create the scene.

“Cadet Morgan was a valued member of the Corps of Cadets and will be missed by all. The entire community is ensuring that our cadets are being cared for physically, emotionally, and spiritually.”

— Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams

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Morgan was an exemplary wrestler who studied law in the class of 2020. His father called him a hero and “an inspiration to me and my family.”

“He was my first son. He was an inspiration to me and my family. He was my hero,” Christopher C. Morgan told the New York Post. “I miss talking to him, I miss his smile, I miss hearing about what he’s doing. No father should have to bury their child.”

His wrestling coach Kevin Ward said in a statement that Morgan was “a talented, hardworking, and determined athlete who loved his sport.”

“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.

This undated photo provided by the U.S. Military Academy West Point shows Cadet Christopher J. Morgan, Class of 2020, from West Orange, NJ, who died Thursday June 6, 2019 when a vehicle loaded with West Point cadets on summer training overturned in rough, wooded terrain.

This undated photo provided by the U.S. Military Academy West Point shows Cadet Christopher J. Morgan, Class of 2020, from West Orange, NJ, who died Thursday June 6, 2019 when a vehicle loaded with West Point cadets on summer training overturned in rough, wooded terrain. (U.S. Military Academy West Point via AP)

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Morgan always wanted to serve the country, saying back in 2015, when he was part of the school’s Air Force ROTC, that although he planned to wrestle at West Point, he was more interested in academics.

“I’m interested in political science, foreign affairs, and global economy,” Morgan told online news site TAPinto West Orange. “Whether or not I remain in the Army as a career officer, I want to work in Homeland Security.”

A memorial ceremony and private funeral service will be held at the academy 50 miles north of New York City next week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.