AFWA honors weather warrior, enlisted heritage with auditorium dedication
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Retired Chief Master Sgt. Peter Morris talks about his career in Air Force Weather during the dedication of the Air Force Weather Agency auditorium in his name here Feb. 15. Chief Morris served 30 years in the Air Force and is widely recognized as one of their finest enlisted leaders and weather warriors. (Air Force photo by Jeff W. Gates)
by Ryan Hansen
55th Wing Public Affairs
2/18/2011 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- The Air Force Weather Agency honored one of their own by dedicating their auditorium to retired Chief Master Sgt. Peter Morris during a ceremony here Feb. 15.
Chief Morris served 30 years in the Air Force weather community and is widely recognized as one of their finest enlisted leaders and weather warriors.
"We have a great auditorium ... and when those who went before us had the right idea that we needed to dedicate (it) to our enlisted heritage the challenge was, who do we recognize for their great contributions?" said Col. Robert Russell, AFWA commander, who presided over the event. "I have to tell you, we got it right."
Born in Czechoslovakia, Chief Morris moved to the United States when he was 11 and enlisted in the Air Force in 1963. He graduated from weather observer school in 1964 and served in this capacity until 1968 when he received special operations training. He subsequently became a member of the special warfare weather team. He was then assigned to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, which was his first of three tours of Southeast Asia.
"What a magnificent career ... this guy is a combat hero; one of our weather warriors that led the way," said Dr. Fred Lewis, director of Air Force weather, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements. "He has been there and done that. He was a mentor to our Airmen. He cared and he did things right."
During his tours of Southeast Asia, Chief Morris was highly decorated, including two Bronze Star medals. He supported multiple classified air and ground operations and as the NCO in-charge of his team he established clandestine, limited weather observations in austere locations behind enemy lines.
"My tours in Southeast Asia as a young NCO no doubt played a major part in growing and preparing me for the challenges I would encounter for the remainder of my career and in fact for the rest of my life," Chief Morris said. "That job entrusted me with exceptional responsibility and it also brought home the reality of war - the seriousness of it.
"As a result, that job reinforced my sense of mission and gave me the confidence and the willingness to persist to do whatever it took to get the job done," he continued. "It also gave me the perspective ... of what was truly important and what was not."
Chief Morris went on to serve as a chief observer and after attending weather forecaster training he became chief of weather operations. From there he was chosen for many key leadership positions in Air Force weather before finally serving as chief of enlisted weather assignments.
"I truly loved being in the Air Force and the Air Weather Service," he said. "I was privileged to be part of it and for being able to do all the things the Air Force empowered me to do. The 30 years I spent in a variety of jobs just flew by. It was never just a job."
In attendance with Chief Morris at the ceremony were his wife, Pun Chae, his daughter, Heather, his brother, Jim, and his wife, Pat.
"I'm overwhelmed by this," Chief Morris said. "I'm also very humbled and much honored that out of all the outstanding people I've known and served with that you've somehow chosen me for this honor and I sincerely thank you."
The Chief Master Sgt. Peter Morris Auditorium is part of the Lt. Gen. Thomas S. Moorman building, which has been AFWA's home since August 2008. It seats more than 240 people and is available for use by everyone at Team Offutt.