Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Buck posted this link on Bruce Crandall in my comments yesterday. This site was apparently put together by Bruce’s children and is very special as is the man. Bruce was portrayed in the movie "We Were Soldiers" very accurately as a hero, but also as a friendly and very funny man. Talking to him is like talking to a stand up comic. I found this picture of my cousin, Captain Jim, Bruce Crandall, and my Uncle Bobby. The picture was taken in 2004 at the Ia Drang Veteran’s reunion in DC. Last May posted a picture of Ed Freeman, who was also a helicopter pilot and good friend of Crandall’s, with his Medal of Honor. Although both men were heroes flying the wounded out of the hot zone and flying supplies back into the zone, the MOH was awarded to Freeman years ago, but not Crandall. There is big excitement that the MOH is finally (40 years later) being awarded to Crandall. I am sure if you could talk to the men who fought in the Ia Drang Valley, they would all have heroic stories to tell about Crandall. He is a hero and he deserves the MOH, but more than that, he was a hero with style. This story was told to me by a veteran at the reunion (and was part of my post last Memorial Day). I thought it was appropriate as an example of Bruce Crandall's personality and heroism:
I met Mr. Rangel who signed my book on the page where he is described bayoneting a North Vietnamese soldier. Later Mr. Rangel told me how he was wounded and put into a helicopter flown by Bruce Crandall. He said that as he was put in the helicopter he could see a downed helicopter and feared the same would happen to him, but as they lifted off he watched the tree line, the mountains, and finally clear blue sky. He said that Bruce Crandall turned and gave him a "thumbs up" sign – something that he would never forget.

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