“Make The Most Of Your Time With The People You Love”: My Experiences As A Tomb Sentinel, Dive Medic, And Cadet

Cody Morris


Cody Morris grew up in an Army family, the second oldest of 10 children. His mother raised the children while his father was a Field Artillery Officer who later transitioned to Military Intelligence. His paternal grandfather graduated from West Point in 1936 and served as an Infantry and Ordnance Officer. Cody lived in a variety of locations, but really came into his own when his father retired from the Army in 2014 and moved the family to Flagstaff, Arizona. In high school (he attended three of them), Cody participated in JROTC, and as a senior, his father was the Officer in Charge of the JROTC program. After graduating from Coconimo High School in 2015, Cody joined the Army. He enlisted as a 12D, Engineer Diver, but poor color vision forced him to reclass. Given limited options, his recruiter enabled him to become a 68W, Combat Medic. After Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, he completed AIT at Ft. Sam Houston, TX. Near the end of his AIT, the students were given the opportunity to interview for their follow-on assignment. Cody thought he was going to a Civil Affairs slot, but instead received orders for Ft. Myer and the Old Guard. Thinking it was Ft. Myers, he was excited to go to Florida, and was dismayed when he landed in Virginia instead. There, he was assigned to the Regimental Aid Station. After providing medical support for Tomb Sentinels, he decided to become one himself. Training to become a Sentinel was essentially an apprenticeship under a veteran Sentinel with responsibilities increasing as proficiency grew. After his assignment with the Old Guard, he reenlisted for the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City Beach, Florida, attempting to fulfil his original dream of becoming an Army Diver with a waiver for his color vision. Personal issues got in the way of his training and he did not become an Army diver (one of his few regrets), but he remained in Panama City Beach as a hyperbaric medical technician, and was promoted to E5. His Commander and XO, both West Point Graduates, convinced him to apply to the Academy and he was accepted with the Class of 2024. His Cadet Basic Training started after the COVID-19 pandemic began, creating an unorthodox Beast experience. At West Point, he has done well academically, and he credits his success to the discipline he learned in the Army. Militarily, he describes Affirmation as a “huge turning point” for him, solidifying his commitment to the Army. Physically, he feels as if he could do better, remembering the top physical shape he was in while assigned to the Dive School. He is on the parachute team, and loves the sense of camaraderie he has experienced as the team bonds during summer training. Cody plans to branch Engineer and hopes to qualify as an Army Diver. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his experiences as an enlisted Soldier, and his time at the Military Academy. He comments on the closeness he feels to those buried in Arlington Cemetery and how he approaches visiting the West Point Cemetery, sharing his thoughts about the Yearling year “Inspiration to Serve” tour. He candidly addresses his attitude as a prior service Cadet during his first two years at the Academy, and highlights how he has broadened his outlook as a Cow. Finally, he reflects on his service with the Old Guard and what West Point means to him.


topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie West Point History
interviewer David Siry
date 16 May 2023


name Cody Morris
institution USMA
graduation year 2024
service Medic
unit 3rd US Infantry, “Old Guard’; A Co, 169th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade
specialty Combat Medic, Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
service dates 2015