When Keith Crawford puts on his Army uniform, he's doing more than just serving his country; he's continuing a family military tradition that goes back more than 400 years.
"My wife and I are immensely proud of his service, especially with an all-volunteer military," said Crawford's father, Bruce. "Keith continues the family legacy of military service to pursue liberty... We're all proud Keith continues the tradition."
Crawford's ancestors have fought as far back as 1622, and he's been carrying on that legacy since 2006, when he first enlisted in the Army. Crawford, a 1991 graduate of Fountain Valley High School, admired his grandfather's service as a Marine pilot during World War II and wanted to become a pilot himself. A knee injury cut that dream short, but Crawford eventually became an Apache helicopter crew chief.
After a tour in South Korea, Crawford was transferred to Ft. Hood, Texas, and was reassigned to the Army's vaunted First Cavalry Division. In the spring of 2009, his aviation battalion was deployed to Iraq at Camp Taji, the Iraqi Air Force's main base just north of Baghdad.
Keith's unit returned to Ft. Hood in late May 2010 and was home for almost a year. During that time, fellow FVHS alumnus was the starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers, and would invite Crawford to Dallas for games, including ALCS and World Series games. Crawford also helped Wilson with fund-raising events hosted by his charity, C.J. Wilson's Children's Charity.
In June of 2011, Crawford's unit was sent to Masur-i-Sharif, NATO's base of operations in northern Afghanistan. His unit will be returning to the U.S. later this month.
When Crawford returns, he will have about a year of active duty remaining on his enlistment. When he gets out, he plans to go to college full-time to study photojournalism.