Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Morgan's Raiders: A Heritage Reclaimed

Living as we do in this age of political correctness, the alumni of the Morgan’s Raiders - one of the oldest and most celebrated organizations at MMI - maintain a low profile but are very active behind the scenes in supporting both the Institute and the community.

Founded in 1947-1948 by cadets who had served in World War II and who were attending MMI on the GI Bill, this service organization was named for famed Confederate cavalry commander, General John Hunt Morgan (1825-1864), who was born in Huntsville, Alabama. Captain John Miklos is credited with founding the Morgan’s Raiders which held its first initiation on January 9, 1948.

General John Hunt Morgan, CSA (1825-1864). (Credit: MMI Archives)

The birthplace and boyhood home of General Morgan in Huntsville, Alabama. (Credit:

The first group of Morgan’s Raiders at MMI, 1947-1948. (Credit: 1948 Orange and Black, MMI Archives)

The Morgan’s Raiders goals were to advance high standards of truth, honor, and service; to work for the betterment of MMI; to strive for and maintain a high level of esprit de corps; and to provide a social group for outstanding cadets of like interests and standards.

A 1966 announcement for Morgan’s Raiders’ Day at MMI. (Credit: MMI Archives)

From the start, the Morgan’s Raiders included some of the top cadet leadership on campus, members who were also leaders in other MMI organizations. For example, over a 39 year period, 33 cadet commanders – the highest ranking cadet in the Corps of Cadets – were members of the Morgan’s Raiders. Membership was by invitation only, and included top cadets from both the high school and junior college.

The Morgan’s Raiders sponsored two of the highlight events of the annual MMI social calendar – the Christmas Military Ball in December, and the spring Old South Ball, a colorful event straight out of Gone With The Wind! The Raiders also provided the cadet sword arch for the annual Selma (AL) Pilgrimage Court lead out. On campus, among other activities, they were responsible for cleaning the US Air Force F-84F aircraft, and for painting the base for the 75mm cannon in front of the flagpole. The Morgan’s Raiders also assisted with the Alabama Military Hall of Honor, and with various service events in the wider community.

Here are four images of the annual Old South Ball at MMI – Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara would be proud! (Credit: All images, MMI Archives)

Finally, the alumni of the Morgan’s Raiders have established the John Hunt Morgan Leadership Award and Endowed Scholarship at MMI. The award recognizes and encourages cadet leadership, and the scholarship promotes the education of deserving college cadets.