CW2 Gerald "Bob" R. Crow was a VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 02/24/2010 at the age of 62.4
Tacoma, WA
Flight Class 68-9
Date of Birth 10/18/1947
Served in the U.S. Army
Served in Vietnam with C/101 AVN 101 ABN in 68-69
Call sign in Vietnam BLACK WIDOW 38
This information was provided by John Stoddard

More detail on this person: (Gerald R. Crow, Jr.) Bob Crow, who was born October 18, 1947 in Tacoma, passed away February 24, 2010. Bob was a decorated Vietnam helicopter pilot who received such medals as the Distinguished Flying Cross. After an honorable discharge he continued to serve his community with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. During his service with the Sheriff's Department he was a department pilot and also a pilot with the search and rescue team. Bob retired as a Sergeant after 23 years of service. After his retirement he founded C & C Legal Investigations where he and his son Jerry, worked as private investigators specializing in criminal law issues. Bob always had a passion for and maintained an active role as a lifetime member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association as well as the VFW. Bob was also a member of the Eagles. Bob is survived by mother of his children Sue Dyer, Bob's companion Linda Parker, mother Ida M. Rogers, Ida's husband Buck, sister Nancy Harlow; sons Eric, Jason, and Jerry, and grandchildren Tyler, Preston and Blake. Please donate to the Bob Crow memorial fund at Columbia Bank (Stadium District). Funds to be used for post education of Bob's grandchildren. A Memorial celebration of Bob's life will be held on Saturday, March 6th, 1pm to 2pm followed by a Celebration of Life, 2pm to 5pm, at the Tacoma Eagles on South Tacoma Way. Please sign the on-line guest book at Funeral home contact: (253) 272-1414. Pub Date: 3/3/2010

Saturday Feb 27 2010 - Richard Green wrote: Who was Bob Crow to those who served with him in Vietnam and met with him years later at reunions?

When I arrived in Vietnam, I had been a Captain for 4 months, my flight experience was limited to the time it took me to get through flight school and my combat experience was zero. Of course I was given command of the 2nd Platoon, C Company, of the 101st Aviation Battalion. We were the Black Widows!! Though new to Vietnam, I was not new to the Army, having had over 7 years enlisted experience. I knew that I needed to find the best and most experienced pilots, and learn from them, quickly. Though Bob Crow was just a 20 year old Warrant Officer, he impressed me immediately with his knowledge and his willingness to discuss what needed to be done. My "orientation" flight (read that first flight in Vietnam) was with Bob Crow. I never let him forget how that turned out. We were on an ash and trash mission (Army Aviation for Resupply mission) and had to haul a load of rations and ammo to the Ashau Valley and the landing zone turned out to be beneath triple canopy jungle. Bob hovered the helicopter down thru a hole in that canopy, hovered forward, down some more, forward and finally we saw the spot the grunts had prepared for us. It looked good to me, and apparently looked good to Mr. Crow. The spot was clear and the grunts had made a log landing pad. As we settled to the ground, Bob's intent was to set down solid, but the logs began to roll, the helicopter shifted and the rotor blades began chewing into the vegetation on the left. When he corrected, we had blade strikes on the right. We both knew there was blade damage, but there was no way we could shut down and check the blades in that LZ. After the supplies were kicked out, Bob begin to lift out of the LZ. Up, back, up, back and up. Clear of the jungle canopy, we headed for home. That was actually safer than shutting down in the Ashau Valley. I was too new to know how serious the problem was, but Bob sweated bullets, for good reason. When we landed back at the Widow Web, we found that we'd lost about 4 inches off the ends of each blade. That could have been a lot worse, but Bob's good judgment brought us home. Others might have tried to stay in the Ashau Valley and that would not have been much fun_ In the time that Bob and I served together that was the last "accident" that he had... and I believe it was also his first one. (My kidding him about it consisted of reminding him that whenever he wanted to "play Lumberjack" to leave me at home! And I reminded him of that often.)

Approximately one week later, Bob was my Aircraft Commander of choice when we flew north to support a CCN (Command and Control North) mission with the Special Forces Unit in Dong Ha. It was a large mission and a lot of brass was sitting in on the briefing, along with the pilots that were to fly the missions, insert the troops, resupply them and bring the out when the mission was over. A LTC was giving the briefing and he was throwing around facts and figures, estimates and guess-ti-mates that were way over my head. (This was my first combat mission). Bob Crow, sitting beside me, said "Capt Green, that's not going to work, he's going to get us killed!" I asked him if he had a better way, and he said "Yes". I asked him if he wanted to put in his two cents worth re the use of aviation assets and he said "Yes". I stood up and told the LTC that we needed to take a "re-look" at his plan for aviation assets and that my "expert" had some suggestions. A lot of looks were exchanged when the young WO1 walked to the front of the room. Bob told them that using single ship LZs would restrict the speed of inserting troops and showed that there was a better LZ neat the objective, he gave them resupply times, refueling times, and simply dazzled them with his knowledge of the area. He laid out the entire "program" for aviation support, and all of his suggestions were written into the plan. I was as impressed as everyone else was. Later, when we were airborne, I asked him how he knew all this. He told me that the Black Widows had supported the 2nd ARVN Regiment in a similar exercise in the same area a few months earlier and all he had done was "eliminate" the mistakes that had been made during that mission. With less than a week left in-country, even though he did not have to fly, he volunteered to take a mission for Hamburger Hill. In accomplishing that mission, he took two 50 caliber rounds thru the cockpit. One round "scratched" the back of his helmet. Had he not done everything right that day, he wouldn't have come home. When he landed after that mission, he advised me that he was taking himself off flight status and I advised him that I'd already taken his name off the roster. He had more than done his part.

Bob Crow was a true hero, a professional soldier and a good friend. He cared when others were unconcerned. He planned when others were partying. He thought ahead when others did not. He was always prepared, always calm under fire and always ready to undertake the most dangerous missions when others wished to avoid them. He and I flew together often, and if the mission dictated that I fly with someone else, I always scheduled it so that Bob was my wing man. Bob was my friend and I'm going to miss him_..

From: Richard A. Green, Major US Army (Retired), Black Widow 36

Sunday 29 Feb 2010 - Bobby Cormack wrote: To the Family Crows: Well folks here is a little story that nobody on Earth can lay claim to; not even Randy.

Due to fate and the alphabet Robert (Bob) Crow and I Bobby (Sarge) Cormack were destined to be "stick buddies" all the way from the beginning of Flight School at Fort Wolters, TX until graduation at Ft. Rucker, Alabama (Class 68-9). We were yellow hats all the way through, along with Doug Cooper who stood in front of me alphabetically. After graduation, it was Cooper, Cormack and Crow who were assigned to Charlie Company, 101st Avn Bn, 101st Airborne Division, Vietnam.

Now it was no small measure of good fortune (for me), that I was Bob's stick buddy. You see on our first solo night cross-country navigation flight from Dempsey Army heliport, in our trusty Hiller OH-23D I had the first leg to navigate as Bob did the flying. Well, we were hardly out of the glow of Dempsey lights when I realized that not only was I disoriented but hopelessly LOST!! Not even the first check-point was where it should have been. After not finding a few more of those phantom check-points, using my TIME, DISTANCE, HEADING, it was Bob's turn to navigate us "home" and I would fly.

(Praise The Lord!) I took the controls and Bob took the map, oriented it properly to coincide with our desired course and proceeded to navigate us home to Dempsey! To this day it seems to me that I had us lost for several hours on just a couple of hours worth of fuel, and it took Bob but a few minutes to have us headed back to those beautiful lights of Dempsey Heliport.

That was a valuable lesson in navigation which I never forgot and shared with many pilots I was to fly with during my Army career.

Once we arrived at the unit in Vietnam we were assigned to different platoons, tents/ hooches, and I don't recall ever flying with Bob again. But one thing can never change for Bob and me; we were "STICK BUDDIES".

How about when you two went on R&R to Bangkok you might ask.........? Well that is another story.

Sincerely, Bobby G. (Sarge) Cormack, Black Widow 20, 1968-1969

Sunday 29 Feb 2010 - Bill May wrote: The email that Richard Green sent out several days ago was one that I will not forget for a long time. This was not news that I was prepared for.

When I got to LZ Sally in January 1969 as a young Infantry Captain straight out of flight school, I remember this bigger than life guy with a big mustache and thick brown hair. He sort of looked me over and apparently thought I might be OK and bought me a beer in our little club. From that first encounter, he quickly became one of the guys that I knew could be counted on in any situation and someone that I could learn a great deal from. He became a friend.

His strong character, sense of humor and dedication to the ground soldiers that we as aviators were there to support was equal to none. He was one of the three "senior" pilots in the unit that taught me how to fly and without doubt the things I learned from him helped me get home safely. Everyone loved Bob Crow. We trusted him. His crew loved to fly with him as did all of the new guys because he was such a good instructor and instilled confidence in us as we learned.

When bullets flew, Bob was oblivious to them. I think it made him mad that someone was actually shooting at him. He always got the job done. He spoke often of his family and how he missed them. I truly missed him when he left our unit to return home but was happy for him that his tour of duty was over and he had made it out OK. Be assured that he saved a bunch of lives over there. I really enjoyed seeing him again at a couple of our reunions. He was truly a friend for life. I will never forget him. I will think of him every single day. I will always remember him and his family in my prayers.

If any of Bob's family is ever in Florida, they are always welcome at my home.

From: Bill May, Lt Col, US Army Retired, Black Widow 16

Sunday 29 Feb 2010 - George Garich wrote: I had the great honor of crewing helicopter 491 for Mr. Crow after I joined the unit. He always seemed to have a joke or funny story to tell. I remember one day on a flight in the valley, when the weather turned to almost pure crap, he said"It could be worst, we could have a warning light", making a joke in a situation that had the rest of the crew on edge...

This is a sad day for all of us who knew him. But I know he is now in heaven, teaching sore faces (those without a sense of humor) how to have fun.

From: George C. Garich, Crew Chief C-101, 1969-1970

Monday 1 March 2010 - Richard Green wrote: In mid 1969, the CO decided that the company should have a "real" formal officer's party in conjunction with the promotion party for WO1s Cooper, Cormack and Crow. I was detailed to set it up and everything was a "go" up until about 15 minutes before the guest (nurse from Phu Bai and DaNang Hospitals) were to arrive. I received a report that one of my lieutenants had been injured and his jaw was dislocated. I rushed him to the hospital. An hour later I returned to the company area. A few things had happened. The 3 new CW2s had been required to drink a large quantity of alcohol, the XO had flashed the first group of nurses to arrive and was showing stag films in the ballroom, everyone in the company area was drunk and a lot of strange stuff was going on. The CO had hidden himself in the Orderly Room, the XO was naked in the graveyard behind the company area, and the Operations Officer was under a desk in the Operations Building fearing that the "troops" were going to "get" him. When I drove into the company area, the CO whispered out the window that Mr. Crow was in the mess hall and he was attempting to "assault" the Vietnamese KPs (all females by the way) and I'd better stop him. That gave me pause as Mr. Crow was even then a bear of a man, but it was my job to protect the KPs, and so I set off for the mess hall. Enroute I was compelled to stop a lot of inappropriate behavior that I will not go into here, other than to say that I had to pistol whip my way through a couple of gatherings, had to fire rounds into the air/ground to get the attention of a few small groups that were intent on "going after" the nurses, hooch maids, etc. Somehow, Mr. Crow's crew chief at the time joined me as I went into the mess hall. I was prepared for the worse! I could hear Mr. Crow in the back of the mess hall; he was beating on the door of the storage room, yelling "Let me in! Let me in!" He was highly intoxicated, but I had doubts that I could restrain him if it came to that.

Assuming my most commanding manner, I walked up and said "Mr. Crow, what the hell do you think you are doing!" He slowly turned to me and I saw he had tears in his eyes (I told you he'd been made to drink a large vessel of alcoholic beverages, didn't I?) and he said "Aw, Captain Green, I just wanted to talk to them!" I knew immediately that he was totally sincere, so I had his crew chief escort him back to the barracks and put him to bed.

I was "busy" until dawn's early light "correcting" potential problem areas, ranging from waving off the helicopters that were bringing in the nurses from DaNang to evacuating the hooch maids and female KPs who were in possible danger. Quite a few men in the unit were on "sick call" the next day to have cuts, bruises and contusions attended to_ But Mr. Crow was up early, hale and hearty, which was good as he was one of the few pilots capable of flying the assigned missions that day! Bob was a professional!!

From: Richard Green, Major US Army Retired, Black Widow 36, 1969-1970 Vietnam

Tuesday 2 March 2010 - Larry Moak wrote: A FEW THOUGHTS ON MY FRIEND BOB CROW

After a full 12 hour day of Combat assaults, unbearable heat, directing fast movers toward the three o'clock position and cheating death in general... I always looked forward to sharing a cold beer with my roommate Bob Crow. We would unwind, discuss the events of the day... giggle behind the backs of our newbie co-pilots, (mostly RLO's), and in general attempt to deal with what had come... and prepare for what would be...

Bob was the kind of guy that made relaxing an easy thing... a great quality in any war... because well, relaxing after a day of dodging bullets was not always easy. But Bob helped to make it tolerable and sometimes... even fun. Nickel beer helped. As the days on our DEROS calendars counted down, my friendship with Bob grew... It was a friendship that would last well beyond those days of powdered eggs and mosquito nets and became for me... a friendship that cannot be measured.

Bob never failed to come thru when he was needed... whether it was to take it upon himself year after year in organizing and hosting the Black Widow mini reunions... or to always be there at the end of a day of combat... just to help others shake off the dust, clear out the mental cobwebs and to take count of another day survived. He was the essence of reliability... not just in matters that counted and in things that mattered... but in the small details that only friends tended to tend to. If you asked Bob what time it was... he would build you a clock... and that was a good thing. He would focus on you and whatever it was you happened to be focused on. When you were in his company... you always felt like you were at home. Bob was always ready to pull the Special Forces out of a bomb creator on short notice, while under heavy fire... and he did so with the precision of a surgeon. Fly a late flare ship mission? No problem for Bob. If a job needed to get done, Bob would always be the one everyone could count on to Get 'er done... long before "Get er done" became a pop phrase... It was my lucky day to be assigned to share quarters with Bob... and to share combat assaults with Bob... and beyond that, to share a lifetime of friendship that will never die. To count him as a friend and to be counted by him... as his friend, was a blessing in my life, matched only by the same friends from the same time and place we called LZ Sally and Camp Phu Bai. The world is just a little bit less now. But the things Bob Crow did, and inspired and left us with will last for eternity.

I salute you Mr. Crow. You will be missed. I'm sure heaven must have nickel beer... Have a few for me. Keep your head down. Keep an eye out for the rest of us. And when you get a chance, put in a few good words to the C.O. and have him send us some relief for the enemies we still face.

God bless you buddy.

From: Larry Moak, Black Widow Four Niner, Vietnam 1968-1969

Tuesday Mar 2 March 2010 - Diane Hanson wrote: Hello Jerry. I am Diane Hansen from Pierre, SD. My late husband and Bob were good friends from Vietnam.

My husband was killed on April 19, 1993 in an airplane crash. He was flying for the State of SD and our governor was also killed plus six other people. I'm sure if you mention this to your mother she will remember. She met Dave several times and I have met her also.

Dave thought so much of your father. They became fast friends in Vietnam. After several years of not talking, Bob and Dave found each other because of the reunions they attended. Dave saw Bob for the first time at the reunion in Atlanta. He was so excited he waited outside the hotel for Bob to arrive. He really admired and looked up to your dad.

In Vietnam, when Bob finally got to go home, Dave requested to have his call number changed to Bob's--Black Widow 38, because he thought so much of him.

I know your loss is so overwhelming right now that it is hard to even focus on what needs to be done. I'm sure your mother is taken over by her grief. I remember what it was like when Dave died. It completely consumes a person. But please know that people are thinking of you and your family. Bob was a great guy, kind, considerate and always had a smile on his face.

May God bless your family and give you the strength to make it thru all of this. He will be missed by his Black Widow family also. I like to think he and Dave are up there catching up on each others lives since they last talked. By the way, the night before Dave died April 18, 1993, he called your dad and they talked for a long time. I'm sure that was special to your dad also after Dave died. Take care.

From: Mrs. David Hansen (Diane)

Saturday Feb 26, 2010 - Cathy Hanson-Stahl wrote: Words cannot express my deepest sympathy to your family at this time.

Please let me introduce myself- I am Cathy Hansen-Stahl, the daughter of David Hansen (the other Black Widow 38). My father died in a plane crash back in 1993.

My family and I were deeply saddened to find out of Bob's death. We unfortunately have not been to a Black Widow gathering for some time; my sister,Kristi and I started having families of our own, which made it difficult to do all of the travels we did before kids and families.

I just wanted to tell you how important it was to my father to have reconnected with Bob. In fact, the night before he died, he and Bob spent quite some time on the phone talking; catching up on all the years. I also read a letter from your father at my dad's funeral. Up until that time, my family did not even know certain details of my dad's service in Vietnam; especially the day when he got shot down. Your dad's letter was irreplaceable information and a great source of comfort when we needed it the most.

My dad respected your father enough to ask for his call sign when he left Vietnam. They also both had a distinguished career in law enforcement. South Dakota is a distance away, but please know that we have your family in our thoughts and prayers.

Sincerely, Cathy Hansen-Stahl

Saturday Feb 27 2010 - Ben Taylor Wrote: My name is Ben Taylor, and I served with Bob in VN back in 1968/69.. I am so sorry to hear this news about Bob. He was a good friend, and one of the best pilots I have ever known, I knew he continued to fly for the Sheriff's Department and his community, even after leaving the service.

He will be greatly missed by myself, family, and all of the Blackwidow members. I am sure there are a great many more friends that knew him, that will miss him as much as we will.

Please accept my sincere felt Sorrow for your loss,

From: Ben and Peggy Taylor, Former Blackwidow Member

Saturday Feb 28 2010 - Carl Rosenow wrote: Dear Gerald, Please accept my condolences over the loss of your father.

I was assigned to the Black Widows from April 1969 until April 1970. My interface with your dad was brief but memorable. By the time I arrived in the unit, your father was one of the senior aircraft commanders, and highly skilled. He was always helpful and quick to pass on "lessons learned". His quick smile, great sense of humor, and kindness managed to work it's way through the pressures of the moment.

Your father was a good man, a credit to his unit, his community, and his family. We will all miss him.

Regards, Carl Rosenow, Black Widow 47 (1969)

Tuesday Mar 2 2010 - Terry Hunt wrote: Hi Jerry, I was with your dad at LZ Sally and Phu Bi for 3-4 months. Then I was transferred to 1st Bde 101. I remember your dad as ONE OF THE REALLY GOOD GUYS. I was only 20 but since he was there 1st he was someone to follow. The real great thing was at my 1st VHPA I wasn't sure I would remember anyone or feel comfortable. Your dad solved that. He remembered things I had forgotten. He made me feel like I belonged and his stories brought back memories.

I can't imagine a reunion without him.

From: Terry and Karen Hunt

Wednesday Mar 3 2010- Frank Linster wrote: Gerald, I am shocked and sorry to hear that your father passed away. I was Bob's platoon leader when he arrived in Vietnam. Bob was natural pilot and picked up the ways of flying in cobat very quickly. Most pilots would have 300 hours of combat flying time before we would consider them for an aircraft commanders position. Bob was one of two Warrant Officers that I had who far exceeded what they were expected to learn in that amount of time. Bob becqame one of my aircraft commanders in under 250 combat hours. He was that good. He accomplished that mission on his own in less than 3 months in Vietnam. Bob was a great pilot and never complained about missions he was given on a daily basis, he just went out and did his job without any one having to look after him. He was a great firend and a true warrior. He will be surely missed by all of us who served with him. It was a privilige to have known him.

From: Frank Linster, Black Widow 4, Vietnam 1967-1968

Saturday Feb 27 2010 - R. Nicholas Palarino, Ph.D. Wrote: I was saddened to hear about Bob; a great American, a patriot, an expert pilot and most importantly a fine human being. I flew with Bob on one of my first missions in Vietnam. His expertise and cool headedness guided me through a harrowing experience. He set the standard and I was fortunate to learn from him. Although I am sad about his death I do know that Bob, and all members of the Black Widow community, have contributed much to this great country. He will be missed, but not forgotten.

I raise my glass to toast Bob Crow, and all of our fallen comrades.

From: Nick R. Nicholas Palarino, Ph.D.

Tuesday 2 March 2010 - John Madden wrote: I am shocked at the news. I wonder if we feel as old as we are getting. Still the memory of such great men that we associated with in Vietnam makes me feel locked in at the age of 21. The horror of my time at war is almost all but forgotten, but the memory of great young well trained, disciplined and courageous individuals will stay forever with me. It was an honor to know Bob Crow he will be remembered in my prayers. I will miss him.

Bob, we will meet again at the flight line in the sky.

From: John Madden, Black Widow 25, Vietnam 1970 - 1971

Wednesday 3 March 2010 - Doug Cooper wrote: I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend Bob Crow. Bob, Bobby G. Cormack and I went through flight school together in the same class and were assigned to the Black Widows at the same time. In fact the three of us arrived at LZ Sally in the same Huey from Camp Eagle. We spent the rest of that hot, humid day "humping" sandbags to build a bunker on the LZ Sally perimeter. Rather inglorious for three new "hot shot" helicopter pilots.We flew numerous combat assault missions together in the same flights.

Also shared many a war story, with refreshments, at our officers club after long days of flying missions. Bob was one of our best pilots and it was always reassuring to know his Huey was with us when situations got hot. Bob, Bobby G. and I were promoted to CW2 at a party in our Officer's Club at The Web in Phu Bai. Some of the rather notorious events of that occasion are part of Black Widow lore and were chronicled in Randy Main's book.(Bob, Bobby G. & I stayed under total control that evening of course.)

I am grateful for Bob's time consuming efforts in successfully locating and uniting many former Black Widows.

Bob was in Warrant Officer Class 68-9/11. He served in Vietnam from early August 1968 to August 1969. He is missed.

From: Doug Cooper, Black Widow 13, Vietnam 1968-1969

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