Tuesday, May 16, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Seeber Crawford, 101st Airborne at Bastogne

Sgt. Buck Crawford died on Christmas Day, 1944 defending Bastogne.

Seeber "Buck" Crawford never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on May 16, 1917 in Florida. His parents were also both born in Florida. His father was a farmer who died at age 41, a couple months before Seeber turned 10 years old. Seeber, who went by Buck, had one older brother, two older sisters, one younger sister and one younger brother. Buck's mother continued to work the family farm with her six children after her husband died. 

By 1940 Buck was working for a furniture company. He registered for the draft on October 16, 1940. He enlisted in the US Army on February 24, 1942. He rose to the rank of staff sergeant in Company A, 1st Battalion, 401st Glider Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. He arrived in England in September 1943. He participated in the predawn Normandy glider landings on D-Day and fought the Germans through the French hedgerows. In September he was landing again in a glider during the 101st Airborne's assignment in Operation Market Garden in Belgium. 

His last battle was the 101st Airborne's defense of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. His regiment was defending the west side of the line by December 19. Company A was set up at the extreme point of the west lines at Flamierge and received major attention from German units for two days.  By December 23, Sgt. Crawford's unit had retreated three miles, but did not let the Germans break through the lines. Sgt. Crawford spent Christmas Eve shivering in a foxhole east of Mande St-Etienne.

By 6 am on Christmas morning seven German Panzer MkIVs and three Stud IIIs attacked through the center of Company A and it's 77 men. Sgt. Crawford's men were overmatched and it took the leadership of the NCO's to keep the green troops among them from bolting. The American's used fog cover to hide or move before they were spotted by the German tanks. One of the privates in Company A was in a foxhole that was in the direct path of a tank. The tank destroyed his M1 and bazooka but kept going. Once the tanks were past, Company A moved back into position and was able to stop the German infantry following the tanks. Without the infantry support, the German tank attack was stopped. The Christmas morning action cost Company A four men. One of the fallen was Sgt. Crawford.

Just before leaving for Bastogne, Sgt. Crawford was able to write a letter to his mother. He said, "Dear Mom and all -- Not much to write. I'm O.K. and feeling fine, except homesick as usual. Don't have any idea how long I'll be over here or where I'll go before it's over. I'll be alright, though, wherever I am, so don't worry about me."

His remains were returned to be buried at Midway Cemetery, Lake Butler, Florida.

Thank you Buck for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Buck.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

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