One of our regular and most fascinating WWII veterans is Al Crawford. I interviewed Al not long ago, and Kevin Farkas and Chris Rolinson were there to capture him talking about his WW II experiences in the Navy. We held the interview at the Father Ryan Arts Center in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.
On December 7, 1941, 17-year-old Al asked his father if he could join the Navy. His father’s response was swift: “One less mouth to feed.” Those five words launched Al’s long military career. In WWII, Al served on the USS Swivel (ARS-36), which saw duty at Normandy. He was also part of the rescue operation sent to the sinking of the SS Leopoldville on Christmas Eve, 1945.
Having signed up for “Regular” rather than “Reserve” duty in 1941, Al was called back into service after WWII and ended up serving in the Navy until 1980, when he retired at the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer, the highest enlisted rank in the United States Navy.