Maj BRUCE P. CRANDALL
Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion
1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
Ia Drang Valley, RVN
14 November 1965
Major Bruce P. Crandall was Flight Commander serving with Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).
On 14 November 1965, Crandall led a flight of sixteen UH-1 lifting Col. Hal Moore’s Cavalry Troopers into the Ia Drang valley.
His courage in the face of insurmountable enemy resistance and innovative flying is the stuff of legends.
The art of Air Mobile Infantry was in its infancy and Maj. Crandall is best described as the bastard Grandfather of every Cavalry Pilot to proudly wear spurs and a Stetson.
By the 4th lift in the enemy had Zeroed the LZ bringing Crandall and his birds under such intense enemy fire that the ground commander ordered the next flight to abort their mission.
Crandall adjusted his Forward base of operation on the fly to shorten the distance to the battlefield and when some of the Medivac pilots refused to fly into the LZ while it was still so hot… Crandall and his men began to evacuate the wounded as well as deliver Ammo and supplies.
Although medivac was outside their primary mission and his birds were not set up for it, Crandall volunteers and led a two aircraft mission into LZ X-Ray in spite of relentless enemy fire, Major Crandall put his Huey on the ground long enough to load the most seriously wounded and evacuate them to medical care.
Major Crandall and the flight crews from the 229TH continued to fly missions into the hot LZ until their Grunts were all exfilled.
Crandall his Co-pilot, the legendary, Ed “Too Tall” Freeman, led 22 hot missions that day. Mr. Freeman was also awarded the MOH
That day he completed a total of 22 flights, most under intense enemy fire, retiring from the battlefield only after all possible service had been rendered to the Infantry battalion
Crandall’s Medal of Honor citation puts it best …
“Major Crandall’s courage and leadership under the most extreme fire instilled in the other pilots the will and spirit to continue to land their own aircraft, and in the ground forces the realization that they would be resupplied and that friendly wounded would be promptly evacuated. This greatly enhanced morale and the will to fight at a critical time.”
As one who wears Army aviation Wings – Maj Crandall has long been one of my personal Heroes.