Retired Col. Crandall is a veteran Master Army Aviator in both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. He led more than 900 combat missions during two tours in Vietnam.
Born in 1933, Crandall grew up in Olympia, Washington, where he played baseball and was a high school All American. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1953.
After commissioning and graduating from fixed-wing and helicopter training conducted by the Air Force and Army, he was assigned to a mapping group based out of the Presidio of San Francisco, described as the "largest flying military aviation unit in the world" at that time. From there he went to fly L-19 Birddogs and L-20 Beavers in Alaska, again for topographic studies.
Crandall's first overseas flying assignment was to Wheelus AFB in Tripoli, Libya, mapping the desert for two years flying the YU-1 Otter, L-20 Beaver, L-19 Birddog, and H-23 Raven aircrafts as an instructor pilot and unit test pilot.
His next overseas tour was to fly over thousands of square miles of previously unmapped mountains and jungles in Central and South America. For this mission, he was based out of Howard AFB, Panama, and Costa Rica. While assigned to the 11th Air Assault Division, Crandall helped develop air-assault tactics as a platoon commander. In early 1965, he joined the Dominican Republic Expeditionary Force as a liaison to the 18th Airborne Corps.
Later that year, he would command the 1st Cavalry Division's Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion at An Khe, Vietnam. Using the call sign "Ancient Serpent 6," he led a flying unit that supported eight battalions on the ground.
Awards: Distinguished Service Cross (to be upgraded to Medal of Honor); Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster; Bronze Star Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Air Medal (24 awards); Army Commendation Medal; Purple Heart; National Defense Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Vietnam Service Medal (four campaigns); Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 device; Presidential Unit Citation; Meritorious Unit Citation; Master Army Aviator Badge; Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star (three awards) and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal.