Carl B. Crumpler was born in July 1927 in Waldo, Florida. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve on June 25, 1945, toward the end of World War II and served on active duty for one year. Crumpler attended the University of Alabama, where he was a member of the Air Force ROTC program. The program commissioned Crumpler as a second lieutenant in 1950. He commenced active duty at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, with 14th Air Force. Crumpler attended pilot training for two years, first at Greenville Air Force Base in Mississippi and then at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma, until May 1952.
Crumpler served as an F-86 Sabre pilot with the 94th, 327th, and 16th Fighter Interceptor Squadrons. While serving with the 16th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Crumpler served in Okinawa, Japan. Crumpler’s other roles included aircraft maintenance officer with the 1st Organizational Maintenance Squadron, detachment commander the 3751st and 3321st Field Training Squadrons and for the 3320th Tech School and Aircraft Maintenance Staff Advisor to the Imperial Iranian Air Force in Tehran, Iran. Crumpler then served as an F-4 pilot, assistant Chief of Operations Plans and Chief of Operations and Training with the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing in Thailand.
During his 45th combat mission, Crumpler destroyed four enemy aircraft artillery locations. Right after, the enemy scored a direct hit. Crumpler ejected from his aircraft over North Vietnam. The enemy captured him and took him as a prisoner of war. He spent 1,714 days as a prisoner in North Vietnam until his release during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973.
Crumpler retired from the Air Force Oct. 1, 1977. During his service, Crumpler received a Legion of Merit, a Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Star Medals, a Purple Heart and a Prisoner of War Medal.
Crumpler passed away in September 2019.
We honor his service.
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Mackenzie Knight
Editor: Kara Anderson, Essence McPherson
Fact checker: Claire Dufault
Graphic artist: Alyssa Morford