Medal of Honor recipient Col. Bruce Crandall (retired) will be the Grand Marshal of the 82nd annual West Seattle Grand Parade on July 19, 2014. Crandall was born in Olympia and resides in Kitsap County; his son, Steve, lives in West Seattle.
Crandall is a Master Army Aviator, qualified in both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, and a veteran of 900 combat missions in Vietnam. In addition to the Medal of Honor, he is also the recipient of the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster and many other awards. In 2004 he was inducted into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame.
In a battle in November, 1965, Crandall, flying a series of three unarmed helicopters through the day and into the night, supplied a surrounded force of 450 US soldiers and evacuated 70 wounded. The battle is depicted in the Mel Gibson film “We Were Soldiers,” where Crandall is portrayed by actor Greg Kinnear.
In January, 1966, in the dark and under intense enemy fire, Crandall twice dropped his helicopter through dense jungle canopy to evacuate 12 wounded solders.
In January, 1968, his helicopter was shot down during another rescue attempt, and Crandall was hospitalized for five months with serious injuries.
Crandall is active in the Medal of Honor Character Development Program, a middle school and high school curriculum designed to build character and promote responsible citizenship.
He travels the country addressing school assemblies about developing a moral compass and having the courage to do the right thing even when it is not popular.
The West Seattle Grand Parade is sponsored by the Rotary Club of West Seattle.
The medal was presented to Col. Crandall by President Bush in 2007; he retired from the Army with the rank of Lt. Col. but was promoted to Colonel (retired) in 2010.
The parade on Saturday, July 19th, will travel down California SW from The Admiral District to The Junction, usually starting around 11 am. More details as we count down to this year’s parade in the almost-three-weeks ahead!