Monticello remembers Lt. John Calvin Crawford, lost in Viet Nam

Monticello remembers Lt. John Calvin Crawford, lost in Viet Nam

Lt. John Calvin Crawford, a native of Monticello, Sullivan County, New York, born October 3, 1936, the son of Rev. Dr. and Mrs. William Arrowhead Crawford. Dr. Crawford was pastor of the First Church Presbyterian in Monticello. Lt. Crawford, a graduate of Monticello High School and student body president at SUNY-Oswego, reportedly wanted to serve his country so badly he hid a childhood injury to join the Navy. Lt. Crawford was a Navy reservist while in college and was commissioned upon graduation in 1960, at which time he was assigned to harbor patrol in Viet Nam.

Lt. Crawford made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, at 30 years of age, when on March 10, 1967 the Douglas C-47 Navy transport plane he commanded crashed on land near Ninh Thuan, South Vietnam. Lt. Crawford (Commander Coastal Surveillance Force Vietnam [CTF-115]) was a 1st Lieutenant in the regular Navy when he died as a result of a non-hostile, fixed wing, non-crew air loss on land. The crash occurred in Ninh Thuan, South Vietnam, on March 10, 1967. Twenty-four other military men also were killed. Lt. John C. Crawford

He was married at the time of death to the former Mary Pidel, and father of a daughter, Patricia Crawford Klunder. Born October 3, 1936, he served 10 years in the U.S. Navy. His remains rest at Arlington National Cemetery (Section 4, Grave 2718-B-LH). He is remembered on the National Monument (Wall Panel 16E, Line 51).

His home community named a townhouse complex for him, John Crawford Senior Housing. Later, on Armed Forces Day, May 17, 1997, a plaque was hung in his memory by the officers and members of Monticello Lodge #532, Free & Accepted Masons, of which Lt. Crawford and his father were members. An article in the Sullivan County Democrat noted, "As part of an awards program last Saturday evening, Lt. Crawford, who was a [Master Mason and] member of [Monticello] Lodge #352, was honored with a plaque and a moment of silence. His plaque will remain in the lodge, near those honoring World War I and II veterans. "We recognize this is long overdue," said Tom Rue, secretary of Lodge #352 and the evening's master of ceremonies. "After three decades, he is not forgotten and we thank him."

Photos on this page of Lt. Crawford were provided in May 2017 by his daughter, Patricia Klunder, and will be mounted for appropriate public display in Monticello, according to Monticello Village Historian Tom Rue.

Lt. John C. Crawford Lt. John C. Crawford Lt. John C. Crawford

Viet Nam Memorial Wall, Washington, DC

Lt. John C. Crawford Lt. John C. Crawford Lt. John C. Crawford
Lt. John C. Crawford Wall photos by Tom Rue, February 27, 2017.


Final Mission of LT John C. Crawford.
On March 10, 1967, a U.S. Navy VC-47J (#99844) from Tan Son Nhut Air Base Detachment, Naval Support Activity (NAVSUPACT) Saigon, USNAVFORV, suffered a wing failure and crashed into a hillside near Phan Rang while on an administrative Navy flight between Cam Ranh Air Base and Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon, RVN. There were no survivors. The crew included pilot LCDR Robert G. Kerr Sr., co-pilot LCDR Leo C. Hester Sr., and crewmen ADR1 Cecil L Chapman and AE3 Francis R. Ferron Jr. There are varying accounts as to the number of passengers that were on this flight with as many as 21 quoted on some websites. However, a reliable Vietnam War casualty database ( suggests there were 10 passengers. Their website provides the following names: LT James M. Albright, LCDR Donald G. Brown, LT John C. Crawford, JO1 William C. Eckes, SP4 John H. Flynn, SFC Byron D. Hamlett, CAPT James J. L. Johnson, 2LT Roger W. Rabey, and CAPT Jacob F. Stepan. [Taken from and various web-based sources]
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