I have exactly two memories of my grandfather, the stoic figure to the left in the above image. One joyful, one haunting. The first and obviously the one I keep with me the most is of him taking me fishing when I was god only knows how young. I remember walking down a rickety old wooden pier to a small waiting boat. Fishing poles clanking against the metal sides as my grandfather stepped in and sat down and then reaching for my hand. I've never been scared of water but even if I had, his firm grip on me in this moment would not have allowed it to matter. I remember spending an entire day paying more attention to the busy airfield adjacent to the body of water we were in than to the company of the man that sat next to me. Being at the age I am now I regret that choice more than many I have made.
The second memory creeps into my head just about every time I hear the word Cancer. I remember walking into an enormous sanctuary holding my mothers hand. Colored light pouring in from all sides through stained glass windows adorned with massive images. Large wooden pews stretched to either side of me, stained a dark golden hue they had long rows of thick red cushion on them. I remember a nurse wheeling a pale, slender man in slowly. It was as if he was already gone. I was too young to really know what was going on but I could see he was sick. It's a devastating thing, it ravages body and mind and I hate it. I hate that it took a man I could have learned so much from. He left this earth on April 30th 1985. At least I have that one good memory inside and now the contents that I am about to share, to look back on and see a part of the wonderful life he lived.
Kermit Roosevelt Crawford was born November 23rd 1922. He lied about his age so that he could join the Army Air Corps in 1939 at the age of 17. He served his country for 33 years, 3 months and 3 days, retiring in April of 1972. I came across a photo book filled with pictures from his time in India and Asia spanning from 1942 to 1949. Looking through these images is indescribable. Seeing a part of his life that I would have never known about or been able to visualize is amazing to me. I would give anything to be able to sit with him now and talk to him. I would give up every single piece of my gear and never take a single picture again to be able to make a portrait of him. But through these pictures I can imagine what it would have been like. I can get a glimpse of his personality and his demeanor through the images in this book. The way they smell, the way they feel, I can touch and hold something that he once did. And now, with pride, I get to share these images with you. Below is a gallery of selected images from his book. Please take your time and go over them with care. These are images that not only tell an individual mans story but are a piece of living history from what was a trying and triumphant time for our nation as a whole.