Full video: WWII Home of Heroes
William J. Crawford was a janitor at the US Air Force Academy in the 1980s…little did the cadets know his amazing history.
Master Sergeant Crawford had been awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War II…but because he was a POW and thought dead, he never received his MOH from a President (as is tradition). A USAF cadet discovered this and was able to get this hero the ceremony he never had.
plan your visit: https://pwam.org/
Ep80 – Pueblo Home of Heroes
[00:00:00] Scott: The squadrons and dets ended up getting assigned, you know, overseas. But Clark Gable actually trained there. I think he was an officer, maybe
[00:00:07] Jenn: I think he was an officer, maybe a major.
[00:00:08] Scott: Yeah.
[00:00:09] When the public found out that he was training there, the phone lines would get jammed up for hours every now and then with his fans trying to get a hold of him, trying to kind of wish him
[00:00:18] luck, or girls trying to call him, or whatever it was, because he was still a famous movie
[00:00:32] Scott: Welcome to talk with history. I am your host, Scott here with my wife and
[00:00:38] Jenn: Hello.
[00:00:39] Scott: this podcast, inspired world travels, YouTube channel journey, deeper conversations with the curious,
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[00:01:51] It’s like two
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[00:02:36] History of the Medal of Honor
[00:02:36] Scott: So, Jen, we are talking, people kind of saw the show title about Medal of Honor, so tell us a little bit about, kind of, why we’re talking about Medal of Honor
[00:02:57] Jenn: Tell us a little bit about Medal of Honor recipients tonight.
[00:03:01] highest recognition bestows
[00:03:03] the United States military bestows on a service member and
[00:03:09] Teddy Roosevelt really lobbied for one and never received it and General George Patton when said I would sell my immortal soul for that metal Yes
[00:03:17] The Medal of Honor was first authorized in 1861 for the sailors and Marines, and the following year for soldiers as well. So it was first authorized during the Civil War and
[00:03:28] Scott: Okay. So that’s, that’s when it started. So the medal of honor began coming out of the civil war, 1861. It looks like from what I can see here, the efforts of Senator James
[00:03:39] Grimes and the secretary of Navy Gideon Wells, we actually,
[00:03:45] Jenn: or
[00:03:45] twice we have mm-hmm.
[00:03:47] Scott: and. inspire sailors to valorous service, and each of the, what I, one of the things I found interesting, and I’ve found this over the course we’ve talked about but each service, each service’s actually is a little bit different.
[00:04:09] you see each one, they’re not all the exact kind of actual metal, right? The Army’s is that’s one thing that until I started making videos, I actually didn’t realize that. They still have that classic kind of ribbon collar with the stars square and then the metal that hangs down from it.
[00:04:29] But each service
[00:04:31] Jenn: Yes. And you were thinking of the first formal system for rewarding acts of individual gallantry by the nation’s fighting men was established by General George Washington, August 7, 1782. And that was designed to recognize any singularity meritorious
[00:04:46] recognize any singularly , meritorious
[00:04:48] action. And the award consisted of a purple cloth heart.
[00:04:53] So it’s kind of how the purple heart started. It’s not what the purple heart Is, is now
[00:04:59] Scott: started. it’s for
[00:05:00] Jenn: wounded in action. So, But the, but it was started by George Washington recognized, but the actual title medal of honor did not come around until Civil War. And you remember us talking about Secretary of Navy Gideon Wells because of the ironclad.
[00:05:17] So and because we talk about Mary Lovestry.
[00:05:21] She presented the plans for the ironclad to him. So if you wanna listen to any of those episodes, the Battle of the Ironclads and Mary Vetri, she was the spy down here. African American spy who got the plans when they were building when the south was building their
[00:05:36] Scott: and pretty pivotal to but to bring it back to the Medal of Honor while we’re talking about it today, again, this is another thing that we got to see on our jam packed Western road trip when we were again in Pueblo, Colorado at the Pueblo Weisbrod Air
[00:05:54] Pueblo Weisbrod Air Museum
[00:05:54] Scott: And one of the displays that they had there was kind of this whole section to service men and women mostly historical stuff. They had a Medal of Honor
[00:06:11] section, and we, we weren’t expecting
[00:06:12] Jenn: We weren’t expecting that. And what’s very interesting is Dwight D. Eisenhower, Upon presenting one of these Medal of Honors to one of these recipients from Pueblo, Colorado, said to him in
[00:06:28] 1953, What is it? Something in the water out there in Pueblo? All you guys turn out to be heroes.
[00:06:35] And so, Then in 1993, there was a congressman who read into the congressional record information about Pueblo and its recipients of the Medal of Honor. And he cited at the time, it was the only city in a record to have four living recipients of the Medal of Honor from the same hometown.
[00:06:53] Scott: And so we actually open our video with John Hill, who’s one of the docents there. And he taught, he showed us the picture of all four recipients, you know, living at the time. I think today, which in June, you know, for us a I think there was only one that was, that was still
[00:07:11] Jenn: There’s only one still
[00:07:12] Scott: still living so who were, who were the four? That we’re from
[00:07:16] Four Medal of Honor Recipients
[00:07:16] Jenn: So Pueblo, Colorado has since been called the home of heroes because of this. So you have four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. You have William J. Crawford, Army, World War II. He’s the one we Ok we’re just going to go through what happened in Vietnam, and I want to share These four gentlemen are all from Pueblo, Colorado, and what they did.
[00:07:50] So when you read about what they did.
[00:07:54] it’s why
[00:07:55] the Medal of Honor is such a prestigious, you know, award. It’s that next level, right? And we we focus on Crawford. because his story is just so interesting.
[00:08:10] William J Crawford
[00:08:10] Jenn: Crawford is a World War II fighter. He basically disarms three machine gun nests of the Nazis during World War II single handedly.
[00:08:27] Just kind of runs out there, throws grenades. His grenades happen to be spot on. Blows up these nests. He’s able to, basically, his men are taking so much fire that they can’t get by. He takes a ton of fire. And it’s almost like he says, like, the bullets were going between his legs
[00:08:42] Scott: he, and he says it himself, in some of the video that we cut in, because for a lot of these Medal of Honor that are more modern there’s a site, and it’s, if you Google it, you can find it pretty but it’s a lot of them telling their story.
[00:08:55] And so we found that video, and I, I kind of cut it in to, to John talking about it as well. And, and he literally says, like, I, I ran, he’s like, and I. He basically sounds surprised he didn’t get shot. He’s like, bullets must have been going between my
[00:09:10] Jenn: And it’s just like. Totally badass, but so he does this. He’s in Italy at the time and subsequently he gets captured and he spends 19 months as a prisoner of war. But during those 19 months he is awarded the Medal of Honor. And so because he’s a prisoner of war and they actually think he has
[00:09:30] Scott: thought he was
[00:09:31] Jenn: they posthumously present the medal to his father and Truman presents it to his father.
[00:09:37] And so again, and then he’s He’s, you know, he’s at least as a prisoner, he comes back home, gets the Medal of Honor from his father. So he’s never given his Medal of Honor from a president, which is how you should receive the Medal of Honor. You should get it from the sitting president.
[00:09:51] Scott: and he actually, I did a little bit further research. He comes back and he finishes a full career in the army. retires as a Master Sergeant Which is in, which is incredible to me. So here he, here he is, he comes back, you receives his medal of honor from his dad. Right. You know,
[00:10:07] Jenn: Oh yeah, while you’re a prisoner, I got this from the
[00:10:10] Scott: right. And then finishes a full career, retires as a master sergeant. And then how, so how did we, how
[00:10:16] did, how did
[00:10:17] Jenn: after retirement, he takes a job as a custodian at the Air Force Academy, because it’s not far from Pueblo,
[00:10:23] Scott: 45 minutes
[00:10:24] Jenn: And so he’s, you know, he wants to mentor young cadets and he’s a, you know, he’s the custodian there. And then one of the cadets writes a paper. And I. And he writes his paper on the janitor’s lessons and leadership.
[00:10:38] And then they start to look up his background and realize that he has achieved the Medal of Honor. But
[00:10:46] Scott: he was doing
[00:10:47] research for
[00:10:47] Jenn: he was to be for, for the
[00:10:49] Scott: he recognized the name. Mm-hmm. , and went and asked him. He’s like, Hey, are you the William J. Crawford? Who’s the William J. Crawford in this Medal of Honor book over
[00:10:56] here? And
[00:10:57] he was like, yeah, that’s me. Yeah. . And
[00:10:59] Jenn: that’s when they came to realize he never received his Medal of Honor from a sitting president. So at the Air Force Academy graduation, President 1985 at that ceremony. Presents him with the Medal of Honor.
[00:11:13] Cool. It was pretty cool. Mm-hmm. .
[00:11:19] Scott: Reagan presents him with the clip of Reagan speaking, calling him up on stage.
[00:12:46] Scott: Now, he, he knew. He was in, he was in, William Crawford was wearing his but he calls him up on stage, you know, gives him the medal. And then, of course, Reagan has to be Reagan. Like, he like, He, he finishes that whole little mini presentation, then he looks around because everybody’s standing up for presentation, and he kind of looks and speaks to someone off to the side, and he’s like, I think everybody can see, sit down, right, and you hear from the, from the side, he’s like, oh, yes, sir, yes, sir, he’s like, okay, and he just tells everybody, yeah, sit down, sit
[00:13:10] down. and everybody just kind of laughs because Reagan has that aura, right, he has that, that presence and that timing, and then he just says, , sometimes I don’t know my own power, right, just because he asked everybody to sit down, and he’s always cracking jokes, right, it’s, it’s Reagan just kind of, Making moments light.
[00:13:27] Jenn: And he, Reagan also humbles himself in that moment, as most presidents do when they present the Medal of Honor, that that person is actually like the highest.
[00:13:38] Achiever of America’s respect at that moment even more than the president in that moment.
[00:13:43] Drew Dix
[00:13:43] Jenn: We talked about Drew Dix He’s the one who’s currently still living. He was army during Vietnam What he did is totally badass too during the Tet Offensive of 1968 Although outnumbered at least 30 to 1
[00:14:05] He led a small contingent of troops on a harrowing 56 hour battle against two Viet Cong battalions.
[00:14:12] And he rescued a ton of civilians. He rescues a young nurse, eight volunteers, two Filipino workers, a young Vietnamese girl, a wife and children of the chief in the area. And acting alone, he assaulted enemy strongholds, secured key buildings, and captured over 20 prisoners, including one of the highest ranking officers ever seized during the Vietnam I know. That’s why the Medal of Honor is like next level.
[00:14:49] Scott: That’s why the in the, in military former military that and throughout my career and
[00:14:55] throughout your you get to every now and then we kind of say, Hey, this is one of those kind of Navy heritage they’ll talk about some and they’ll read the official citation.
[00:15:09] and I did that when I was in command, right, every now and then, once the Medal of Honor And it’s just so hearing these stories thinking about, like, it’s true self sacrifice because that person is not, almost at a point of not thinking of themselves whatsoever.
[00:15:33] The only thing they’re is saving those around defeating the enemy. it’s,
[00:15:41] I, it’s, it’s difficult to even understand and
[00:15:44] Jenn: to even understand it.
[00:15:49] People from Pueblo, Colorado.
[00:15:51] Carl Sitter
[00:15:51] Jenn: He was a Korea Marine, and during the winter of 1950, General Douglas MacArthur declared troops will be home by Christmas, but unknown to the commander, the 1st Marine Division was being surrounded by over 120, 000 troops. thousand Chinese troops. And so on November 29th at the Chosin Reservoir, Carl Sitter received his faithful orders to take East Hill and in frigid 60 below zero conditions, and that’s no joke,
[00:16:26] Scott: I’ve heard of this. The Battle of Chosin is very
[00:16:30] Jenn: Sitter and his men ended up on East Hill outnumbered at least 20 to 1.
[00:16:35] They engaged the Chinese troops for three nights, many times in hand to hand combat. And during that battle, Sitter remembers feeling as though he was protected by an invisible shield. He was able to strategically maneuver his men to take and hold East Hill. He yelled words of inspiration to his fellow soldiers, and several times Sitter refused evacuation and determinedly led his men out of the Chosen Reservoir, leaving no one behind.
[00:17:06] One of his boys, they were, they’re called Carl’s boys now retired. Remember, it is the highlight of their life. And he was a highly respected Marine colonel.
[00:17:17] Scott: of their Someone, you know, I’m not the history buff, but I remember learning about the Battle of You know, even, so at the Naval Academy again, hearing about it a couple times. I, I didn’t, I don’t think I even realized when we were talking about it because it was a relatively short segment when we recorded of it because we just weren’t expecting And he kind of, and it’s cool because in the video, again, the video will be linked in the, in the show notes, they actually have his backup. His like, I guess, replacement or whatever they call it, Medal of Honor there in the museum. And it’s on kind of his, that’s his uniform. Which, that’s pretty incredible that a museum like this in Pueblo, Colorado, you know, home of heroes, gets to have this, something that’s so significant.
[00:18:05] Because the Battle of Chosin, I mean, everybody
[00:18:08] Jenn: Yes. And what I really appreciate about these gentlemen is most of them are officers. And you know, you hear, we, we always laugh about how officers are kind of depicted in movies, how they’re kind of, Oh, we don’t know what’s happening and other people doing the job.
[00:18:25] These are guys leading from the front.
[00:18:26] Scott: time. He was a major at the
[00:18:28] Jenn: He was a major at the time. Like they’re out in front. They’re doing it. And like you said, he felt like he had an invisible shield to what you had said before these, a lot of these recipients of Medal of Honors.
[00:18:40] have really just completely put their lives out there on the line, right?
[00:18:44] I think it’s part of the saying when you read it, you know, to, to completely put your own life at risk for the betterment of your troops and your people that you, you really thought you didn’t really think of your own personal life. You were thinking of everyone else’s life. Like that’s part of the verbiage, I think, of the Medal of
[00:19:02] Scott: Yeah. I wish I would have had a little more time to kind of read that and to soak that in. anybody listening, if you ever get a chance to, to visit, you know, the Denver area, Pueblo is not too far away. I highly recommend heading over to the museum there to kind of take that all in.
[00:19:16] It’s an amazing You can spend, easily spend an entire there if you
[00:19:24] Raymond Murphy
[00:19:24] Jenn: And the, the last one, the Lieutenant Raymond Jerry Murphy, he’s Korean, 1953 he was a Marine, and there was a raid on I think it’s Ungok Hill in Korea. And it was a cold day in February, 1953, again, these ungodly.
[00:19:43] Cold temperatures it turned very grimly very quickly for the first and second Marine platoons of able company. Second Lieutenant Raymond Murphy was the third platoon leader with the assignment of evacuation. As the raid progressed, he became uneasy and he felt something might be wrong. So defying direct orders, he kind of climbed up.
[00:20:02] on the hill to assess the situation. And it was just as he suspected. The assault had been stalled because all the officers and NCOs of the first two platoons had been killed. So what he did knowing the raid had failed is he led his a very heroic rescue mission to get everyone out of there. And so under his command, he took enemy fire.
[00:20:23] He made countless runs up. the Hill. Think of like Forrest Gump going back. This is what he did. He pulled other men back, provided cover. He would provide a kind of air cover. And this is the person who Eisenhower is presenting the Medal of Honor to when he makes the statement, what’s in the water with you guys in Pueblo?
[00:20:43] Scott: Pueblo?
[00:20:44] Jenn: Yeah. And so, He just, he received numerous wounds, refused treatment until everyone else had been evacuated and treated. So again, like you had, you said, there is a moment with soldiers where they’re just so a part of the mission that it really isn’t about them. their life anymore. It’s about everyone else’s life and the, and seeing the mission through.
[00:21:10] And what I appreciate about him as a young officer, because he’s a young lieutenant, is he is defying orders to figure out what’s going on. And when he sees that the mission has changed, he completely takes the leadership upon himself to take control and evacuate everyone from that from that offensive.
[00:21:27] So, those are the four. medal of honor recipients from Pueblo, Colorado. It’s their hometown.
[00:21:34] The fifth
[00:21:34] Jenn: And then we also showcase one in the video who is a civil war medal of honor recipient, but he’s buried in Pueblo. He’s not from Pueblo. So there’s basically five in the area and So again, at the time they were, the four were living, and I think that’s what made it the hometown of heroes, because there might be other towns that have more Medal of Honor recipients from that hometown, but because those four were living at the same time, it’s because they got that name.
[00:22:08] And so it’s just amazing. Those stories, they just, I mean, you can see why that is the highest award. It’s not even an award. The highest recognition you can get from our country for your military service. And then we also showcased in that video the World War II
[00:22:29] World War II Memorabilia
[00:22:29] Scott: Yeah. so they had a phenomenal section of just wouldn’t call it memorabilia, right?
[00:22:39] But it’s, it’s items from World War II Korea and Vietnam and, you know, communi And they set it all up to, you know, it’s even interactive for the
[00:22:49] Jenn: Kind of have the aircraft that coincide with the kind of theaters they were a part of in the military.
[00:22:57] Scott: Kind of those World War Two propaganda posters that some of them, like you said, I had never
[00:23:01] Jenn: And they were all original. So of course they had the G, I wish I was a man, I joined the Navy, which I love. I have the magnet of it on the refrigerator. But they had one of Dory, Dory Miller, who is the, he was the cook on the ship during Pearl Harbor attack. When the gunman was killed, he took control of the surface to air guns and shot down a plane.
[00:23:24] Scott: they just named an aircraft carrier
[00:23:25] Jenn: Mm hmm. Yeah,
[00:23:26] he was… Yeah. And so, there was a poster of him. There was some really cool ones there. I always loved those
[00:23:33] Scott: then they had the kind of whole display of all the female That was neat.
[00:23:38] Jenn: So they really do. I say it in the video. They really do a good job of honoring women in service. And there was about… eight mannequins with full dress military uniforms. They had Marines, they had Coast Guard, they had Navy, they had Air Force, they had WASP uniforms. So it was very neat to see a full female uniform from the, from that era and and for the different services.
[00:24:03] And then the last thing was the flight jackets.
[00:24:05] Scott: Yes, the flight jackets were really cool and, and I got some really fun shots of those and I have a feeling that if we’d have been able to spend more time on each one of them and the significance of why they were on display, we called out one.
[00:24:18] It was from the, the aircraft called Witchcraft and I guess it was called Witchcraft because it had done, you know, kind of an ungodly amount of successful missions without getting hit or ever pulling back. It’s like 135
[00:24:29] Jenn: Yeah, and they thought there must be some kind of something special, some kind of witchcraft about
[00:24:34] Scott: So this flight jacket had kind of witchcraft written on it and some of them had more decorations, kind of drawings on ’em.
[00:24:40] Yeah. Some of ’em were a little bit more plain. But it was cool seeing those old leather flight jackets.
[00:24:44] Jenn: Yes. So, and most people know that I was a Navy pilot, so I was a naval aviator. And when you get your wings, you get a brown leather. Maybe issue flight jacket. They’re hard to get. They’re very expensive if you want to buy them off market. And so to to receive it when you get your wings is a great honor because you only get one.
[00:25:04] And it’s a throwback to this old era where you would fly in open cockpits or freezing cold cockpits and you’d have to You have to be issued a brown leather jacket because you’d be freezing in the cockpit. And so now it’s really just very ceremonial. I flew with it one time over the Rockies. I was freezing.
[00:25:25] I put it on and I actually flew with it in the T 34. But most time you don’t really fly, you get it, you get another military jacket issued to you to fly with, but you, now we put patches on it and you wear, you pass it down and you have it in your family, but it’s a throwback to when they really were used as part of your gear, as part of what you flew with because of the cockpits being so cold.
[00:25:48] And and it’s just very cool to see the ones that were in action. And actually people have put stuff on them from the, you know, the flights they flew. And so they have a nice collection there at the Pueblo Museum.
[00:26:00] Clark Gable
[00:26:03] Jenn: , but one more thing I wanted to talk about real quick before is and you just mentioned it real quick in the video, is that Clark Gable
[00:26:10] Scott: Yes.
[00:26:12] So the old Hollywood actor Clark
[00:26:15] Gable. Yes, the famous, you know,
[00:26:17] Jenn: Gone with the
[00:26:18] Scott: Gone with the Wind, Frankly Scarlet, I Don’t Give a Damn.
[00:26:22] Right? That guy. He, right, because a lot of these You know, during World War Two,
[00:26:27] Jenn: joined the
[00:26:27] Scott: they joined the military, And so he trained, and you actually didn’t know this until after we left. So I was talking with, I think, the museum president. She was hanging out with me and the kids while you were sitting doing, filming with some of the other gentlemen.
[00:26:42] And she told me And it’s it’s actually, it’s on their website. So if you go to, to their website, PWAM, P W A M dot O R G they, they show this on there. So that’s where I pulled it off of. But Clark Gable actually trained there because that in Pueblo, there was a, there was a big training site there.
[00:26:59] And a lot of these air kind of, you know, the, the squadrons and dets ended up getting assigned, you know, overseas. But Clark Gable actually trained there. I think he was an officer, maybe
[00:27:09] Jenn: I think he was an officer, maybe a major.
[00:27:10] Scott: Yeah.
[00:27:10] And her story to me, and it says it on the website as well, is that when the public found out that he was training there, the phone lines would get jammed up for hours every now and then with his fans trying to get a hold of him, trying to kind of wish him
[00:27:24] luck, or girls trying to call him, or whatever it was, because he was still a famous movie
[00:27:29] Jenn: luck, or girls trying to call him, or whatever it was, because he was still a famous
[00:27:36] Scott: that’s only, it’s only a few years later. So here he is in Pueblo, Colorado, training, you know, in flying and stuff like that. And people are trying to get ahold of him, jamming up the entire town’s phone lines for multiple hours at a
[00:27:49] Jenn: can totally see that happening. What would be neat too is like, he probably is, you know, he’s flying, so he’s probably making radio calls and stuff. So if you’re on a tower, if you’re in control in Pueblo, it would be his voice on the radio making radio calls. So that’s really
[00:28:04] Scott: That, that was neat. That was just kind of a quick call out that I put in the beginning of the video when I’m kind of, I’m doing kinda like a pop-up video thing, kind of talking about the, the little bit of the backstory of the military training sites in Pueblo, Colorado.
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