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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Three generations of service

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Danny, Vernon, Jason and Kenny Crow
Patriotism is a family tradition

Countless countries around the world. A combined 75 years of active duty. Service under nine different presidents. Five different uniform changes. Four men -- three generations -- one family.

As you sit and watch them talk, it's clear that this group is close. They are a happy bunch. They are proud of each other and passionate about what they do -- clearly, for them serving their country is an honored family tradition.

During WWII, Vernon Crow, 74, of Salem was a young man who watched in awe as his four older brothers went to defend their country.

During the second World War, he was too young to enlist. However, after turning 18 and graduating from high school in the midst of the Korean War, Crow was ready and willing, he said.

Crow enlisted with the Army in 1951. In both the Korean and Vietnam wars, Crow fought in combat. He utilized his skills and training to serve as an artillery man in both wars, as well as an Army advisor in Vietnam, he said.

Crow's sons must have recognized their father's pride and sense of duty; once they were old enough, both joined their father's footsteps and enlisted in the Army.

"Our patriotism is a family tradition. The word freedom has a real deep meaning to us," said Crow's middle son, Danny.

Like his father, 49-year-old Danny fought in combat. He earned a bronze star serving in the Persian Gulf War with air defense, he said.

"I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything," Danny said. "I've had the privilege to lead some of Americas's finest young men."

Though the younger Crow brother has never fought in combat, he has nonetheless lead an active military career.

"To be associated with the comradery and selfless sacrifice made by soldiers is an honor," said Kenny Crow. "I now understand what I saw in (my father), when I was a kid. (My father) was the most professional and confident soldier I've ever seen."

Kenny, 43, currently works as an Army recruiter. Throughout his years of military service, Kenny has worked in seven different states around the nation, he said.

Kenny's recruiting efforts were not lost on his son or his friends.

Following the example set by his grandfather, uncle and father, 22-year old Jason Crow joined the Army after graduating high school. Though there is no set date, Jason said he will be deployed to Afghanistan some time in the near future.

"I'm ready," Jason said regarding his deployment. "In Afghanistan I'll be doing what the Army trained me to do. What's important is that we improve their way of life."

Jason's best friend, Leon Harvey, 21, has also joined the Crow tradition.

After talking with Kenny and Jason and seeing the pride instilled in the Crow family, he decided to enlist, Harvey said. He is currently stationed in Hawaii and expects to be deployed overseas near the end of 2007, he said.

Harvey said he was proud of his decision to join the Army. "We have a great life (in the United States), but we have to continue to fight to protect that," he said.

Though he is proud of his sons' and grandson's dedication to the Army, Crow said he wishes combat could be avoided. "Nobody fears war more than a soldier," he said. "It's a heavy price, but it's a price that has to be paid."

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