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Major W. Crumm

Major General William Joseph Crumm is commander, 3rd Air Division, Strategic Air Command. He is responsible for the management, operational control and employment of all Strategic Air Command forces in the Western Pacific, including the B-52 bombing missions and all Air Force aerial refueling operations in support of U.S. operations in Southeast Asia. 

General Crumm was born in New York City in 1919 and attended Scarsdale High School and the University of Virginia. He entered military service in 1941, receiving his wings and commission in 1942 through the flying cadet program. 

His first assignment was with the 91st Bomb Group in the European Theatre of Operations as a B-17 pilot. He returned to the United States as a member of the "Most Deserving Bomber Crew of the 8th Air Force" and lectured at 30 combat crew training schools and all of the major aircraft factories.

In May 1943, the general was assigned to the 796th Bomb Squadron, Alexandria, La., as operations officer, and later the same year he was assigned to Second Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo. In October 1944 General Crumm assumed command of the 61st Bomb Squadron, Smoky Hill Army Air Base, Kan., and shortly after he moved the unit to Guam. 

In 1946 he was assigned to the Flying Training Division, Strategic Air Command, as assistant training officer. In rapid succession he became chief of the Bomb Section, deputy of the Training Section and acting chief of the Training Section. 

General Crumm attended Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in August 1947. He took command of the 344th Bomb Squadron, Spokane Air Force Base, Wash., in July 1948. In January of the following year he became director of operations for the 98th Bomb Group at Spokane Air Force Base. 

Moving to Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., in 1950, General Crumm was assigned as chief of the Special Projects Division, Director of Operations, Strategic Air Command. He became chief of Operational Plans Division, Director of Operations, Strategic Air Command, in June 1953. He attended B-47 Advanced Flying School at McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, Kan., and in October 1954, he was assigned as deputy commander of the 22d Bomb Wing, March Air Force Base, Calif., and then as the director of operations for Fifteenth Air Force also at March.

In September 1956, General Crumm served as task force commander at Thule Air Force Base, Greenland. He returned to March Air Force Base in April 1957 as commander of the 320th Bomb Wing. In October 1958 he was transferred to the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as chief of the Strategic Division. 

He became chief of the Atomic Operations Division, J-3, Joint Chiefs of Staff in May 1960. In August of the same year he was reassigned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., as senior Air Force member on the newly organized staff of the director of strategic target planning. In June 1962 he became chief of operations for the director of strategic target planning. 

General Crumm received his present assignment as commander, 3rd Air Division, Strategic Air Command, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in July 1965. 

On July 7, 1967, two B52 aircraft were enroute to a combat mission when they collided in mid-air over the South China Sea. The aircraft were approximately 20 miles offshore at the point of Vinh Binh Province when the accident occurred. Seven crewmembers from the aircraft were rescued, but Avolese, Crumm, Bittenbender, Blankenship, Jones, and McLaughlin were not. 

All the missing crewmen onboard the two B52 downed that day were believed to be dead. It is unfortunate, but a cold reality of war that their remains were not recoverable. They are listed with honor among the missing because their remains cannot be buried with honor at home.

The General wears the wings of command pilot. His decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.

Source:Source: USAF Biography; Homecoming II Project;
"History of the 39th Bomb Group"