The Noble Nature
"It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make Man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year.
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere; A lily of a day Is fairer far in May.
Although it fall and die that night— lt was the plant and flower of Light.
In small proportions we just beauties see And in short measures Life may perfect be.”
The above words might have been written on June 2, 1950, at West Alexandria. Ohio; for there, exactly five years from the day he received his wings. Lt. David Crawford died in an aircraft accident.
Dave does not need our tears. He led a full, happy life in
the brief span of years allotted to him. His career was a
success in the finest sense of the word; not only because he
accomplished much and promised more in the service of his
country, but because he left behind him a host of friends
whose lives he had brightened, and a genuine admiration and
respect in the hearts of all who knew him. Finally, when the
end came he was doing something he loved. A life like his is
not granted to many of us. We are the ones who must suffer,
and though cur sorrow may be basically selfish, it is but
natural that we mourn the loss of so bright a light in this very imperfect world.
David J. Crawford III was born to David James Crawford,
Jr. and Madeleine Barrett Crawford at Fort Bennlng, Georgia,
on May 31, 1925. An “Army Brat," he lived in Hawaii, Fort
Bragg, Boston, and Aberdeen, Maryland, before graduating
Wilson High School In Washington, D. C.. In 1942. He entered the Military Academy that same year and graduated In 1945 with a Major "A" in track, academic stars, and pilot’s wings.
After B-25 and A-26 transition training at Enid, Oklahoma. Laughlin Field. Texas, and Frederick, Oklahoma, Dave went to Orlando, Florida, to the Junior Officers Staff School, then to Kearns, Utah. In February, 1946. he went to the Philippines as a C-46 pilot in the 6th Troop Carrier Squadron, and was subsequently stationed in Okinawa. Japan, and Guam.
Upon returning to the United States in February 1948, Dave met his wife-to-be, Marjorie Piga. After a few weeks with ATC at Westover AFB, Massachusetts, he entered the graduate engineering department at Princeton University, received his Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering in June 1949, and was married on the eighteenth of that month. In July 1949 he was assigned to the Flight Research Branch of Test Engineering at Wright-Patterson AFB. On April 6, 1950, his son Vincent was born.
On June 2, 1950, Dave was testing an F-51 at altitude and the oxygen system apparently failed, for no radio calls preceded the crash and the aircraft went straight in. His death was quick and painless. He was undoubtedly unconscious, and was thus spared the last hopeless struggle which so often precedes death in the air.
No one can say just how much the Air Force lost by his death, but Dave's accomplishments during the last five years Indicated that his career would have been a distinguished one. The ranks will close up and others will be appointed to carry on this man's work, but we will have no replacement for his friendship but our memories.
Dave is survived by his widow, Marjorie, his son Vincent, his parents. Colonel and Mrs. David J. Crawford. Jr.. and his brother, Charles.
—J. S. S.