Oliver “Ollie” Crawford, pilot, advocate for the U.S. Air Force and one of the charter members of the Air Force Association, was laid to rest with full military honors at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Aug. 5.
Crawford died July 21 in San Antonio two days after turning 94 years old. Born on July 19, 1925, in Amarillo, Texas, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II at the age of 18 as an aviation student, earning his wings and commission in early 1945. Crawford served in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve, and later, the U.S. Air Force Reserve until 1957.
He was a charter member, along with other Airmen, of the Air Force Association since 1946. Crawford became president and then chairman of the board of the organization.
Crawford was instrumental in the formation of the Air Force Memorial Foundation, and his efforts led to the dedication of the Air Force Memorial in Washington, D.C., in October 2006. Retired Gen. Michael Moseley, former Air Force chief of staff, said “without Ollie, there would not be an Air Force Memorial.”
Retired Gen. Ronald Fogleman, another former Air Force chief of staff, attended the funeral [mh1] services for Crawford. He said Crawford, who he knew since the 1980s, was a great American patriot who was a strong advocate for the Air Force and its servicemembers.
“He was not only an inspiration to individuals,” Fogleman said, “but he put his entrepreneurial skills, his business skills, organizational skills and his political skills out there to advance not just the Air Force Association but to advance the whole United States Air Force. For that, we owe him a deep debt of gratitude.”
Retired Col. James Clark, director for the Q Group, Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability, deputy chief of staff for Strategy, Integration and Requirements, knew Crawford for 35 years. He said Crawford made many contributions to help raise awareness for the “Flying Tigers” and the Curtis P-40 Warhawk, which Crawford flew and was affiliated with for 60 years.
“Ollie was always the person who always worried about others with the Flying Tigers, with Airmen,” Clark said. “Ollie was always giving. I think in all the 35 years I knew him, I can’t remember any time when Ollie wasn’t doing something for the benefit of others.”
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein praised the Air Force legacy left by Crawford.
“Ollie Crawford made remarkable contributions to the Air Force throughout his entire life,” Goldfein said. “His advocacy and ambassadorship for airpower are part of our Air Force history. His passion for flying and the well-being of our Air Force will truly be missed.”
Crawford logged more than 13,000 hours in nearly 100 different types of aircraft. He was an aviation entrepreneur who formed Crawford Technical Services Inc. in Austin in 1974.
He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Belle Crawford, and his eldest daughter, Lynda Crawford. Crawford is survived by his wife, Nancy Crawford; son, Alan Crawford and his wife, Sherri; daughter, Carolyn Pederson; and numerous grandchildren, nieces and nephews.