As a Naval reservist, John Morrison’s job is “to do the best [he] can with as few medical supplies as [he] has.” Indeed, the Cardinal Health sales rep is no stranger to blood analyzers, spirometers and gauze – whether he’s working with physician customers or helping treat war victims in Iraq. And, whether he’s at home or overseas, Morrison’s job is to build trust and earn the respect of those he serves.
His earliest experience with the Navy was in 1987, following high school graduation. “I spent 5 ½ years in active duty,” he recalls. Then, he spent the next four or five years as a reservist until 1996, when he met his future wife, Jackie, he explains. Soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy, Morrison “felt the timing was right to rejoin the reserves,” he says. In addition to wanting to serve his country, Morrison had a baby daughter to provide for and knew the military benefits would come in handy.
Providing care, building trust
“I always enjoyed the medical side [while in the Navy],” he points out, noting that early on he went to Fleet Marine school. In fact, even as a lifeguard in high school, “I always enjoyed caring for people,” he says. So, Morrison returned to Iraq with the 4th Marine AAV to serve two seven-month tours. During that period one day in particular – Jan. 5, 2005 – is engraved in his mind. He recalls hearing a dog barking and ducking behind some barriers. The dog sniffed out a bomb, which was responsible for the death of many that day – including the dog’s owner. Morrison put his medical experience into play, providing care to as many wounded soldiers as possible. “I took care of both the dog and its owner,” he says.
During his most recent deployment to Iraq, Morrison was attached to the civil affairs group. ‘[My job was] to help build rapport with the villagers,” he says. In this role, he was responsible for looking out for both the Marines and the villagers, he notes.
Having served a total of 16 ½ years of Naval duty overseas, Morrison has rightly earned the nickname “Doc.” “This nickname belongs to corpsmen who serve with the Marines,” he says. These are the people who serve as a friend, medic, psychologist – you name it – to their fellow soldiers, he explains. Soldiers who earn this title do so because they “are the person [the other soldiers] can come to with any issue,” he says. “You must earn this title.”
To read more from Repertoire’s August Rep Corner, click here