Jim Morris was born on October 4, 1931, in Vidalia, Georgia. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 1948, and completed Infantry Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in November 1948. His first assignment was with the 18th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division in Bavaria, Germany, from November 1948 to July 1950, and then with Company C, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division during the Korean War from July 1950 to October 1951. Sgt Morris next served with Company F, 164th Infantry Regiment of the 47th Infantry Division at Camp Rucker, Alabama, from October 1951 to September 1952, followed by service with Company G, 102nd Infantry Regiment of the 43rd Infantry Division in Augsburg, West Germany, from September 1952 to June 1953. He served with the 7727th U.S. Army Retraining Center in West Germany from June 1953 to October 1955, and then with Combat Command B of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas, from October 1955 to February 1956. Sgt Morris then served with the 4th Armored Division at Fort Hood and then in West Germany from February 1956 until he entered Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, in January 1959. He was commissioned a 2d Lt of Infantry in the U.S. Army on June 24, 1959, and then served with the 3rd Army NCO Academy at Fort Jackson from August 1959 to February 1961. Lt Morris served with the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from February to September 1961, and then deployed to Laos with the White Star Mobile Training Team from September 1961 to June 1962. His next assignment was with the 8th Special Forces Group in Central and South America from June 1962 to November 1965, followed by service as Secretary of the Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg from November 1965 to March 1966. Capt Morris served with the 6th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg from March to August 1966, and then with the 1st Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, Thailand, and South Vietnam, from August 1966 to September 1967, during which time he served as Commander of Special Operations Detachment B with the 46th Special Forces Company in Thailand. His next assignment was as Chairman of the Leadership Committee with The Infantry School at Fort Benning from September 1967 to October 1968, followed by service with the 5th Special Forces Group in South Vietnam from October 1968 to August 1969, where he served as Commander of Special Forces Detachment B-33 and then as Commander of the MACV Recondo School at Nha Trang, South Vietnam. He then served as Adjutant with the 3rd Special Forces Group and later as Executive Officer of the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg from August 1969 to August 1970. Maj Morris next served as a mission planner on Project Ivory Coast, the Son Tay Raid to rescue American Prisoners of War held in North Vietnam, on November 21, 1970, from August to December 1970, and he deployed to Thakli AB, Thailand, and Monkey Mountain, South Vietnam, during the raid. After completing the Foreign Area Officer Coarse at Fort Bragg, he attended Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia, from January to August 1972. He then attended Campbell University, North Carolina, to complete his bachelor's degree from August 1972 to August 1973. His next assignment was as the Special Operations Action Officer in the J-3 Operations Directorate of U.S. Readiness Command at MacDill AFB, Florida, from August 1973 to July 1976, followed by service as Commander of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg from July 1976 to April 1978. After attending the Defense Intelligence School, the Foreign Service Institute, and the CIA Case Officer Course, Col Morris served as a Defense Attache to Malawi from May 1979 to August 1980. He attended Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, from August 1980 to July 1981, followed by service with the U.S. Institute for Military Assistance at Fort Bragg, where he served as Commander of the graduate level school of International Studies from July 1981 to April 1982, and then as Commander of the Special Forces School from April 1982 to March 1983. Col Morris served as Commander of Special Operations Task Force Europe with U.S. European Command at Stuttgart, West Germany, from March 1983 to March 1986, followed by Inspector General School in Washington, D.C., from March to June 1986. His final assignment was as Inspector General for the State of Alabama National Guard from June 1986 until his retirement from the U.S. Army on July 1, 1987. After his retirement from the Army, Col Morris was awarded the Military Order of Saint Maurice, Primicerius, for his contribution to the U.S. Army Infantry Branch by the National Infantry Association in 2008.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
On 24 March 1951, Sergeant MORRIS was leading his squad in an attack on Hill 337, north of the town of Uijongbu, Korea. While advancing up the slopes, he and his squad were pinned down by intense small arms fire and hand grenades coming form a knoll overlooking their position. Sergeant MORRIS, having gathered grenades from his men to replenish his own exhausted supply, leaped to his feet and singlehandedly assaulted the enemy emplacement in the face of withering fire. Having utilized his grenades he then courageously continued his charge, firing his rifle into the well fortified position and completely destroying the occupants. The gallantry and devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant MORRIS reflect great credit upon himself and exemplify the high traditions of the military service.