Fred Crow was born in 1926 in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve on December 20, 1943. He entered the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on February 15, 1944. After the war ended, he was discharged on October 28, 1945.
He rejoined military service with the U.S. Air Force, reported for pilot training on June 13, 1951, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Stalling AFB, North Carolina, in June 1952.
Capt Crow served as a fighter pilot and forward air controller at various bases between April 1953 and June 1961, and then served as an F-100 Super Sabre pilot with the 478th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cannon AFB, New Mexico, from July 1961 to December 1962. During this time he deployed with his unit to Europe in support of the Berlin Crisis from September to November 1961. His next assignment was as a Forward Air Controller attached to the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from December 1962 to August 1964, followed by Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, from August 1964 to July 1965. Col Crow then served on the staff of Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley AFB, Virginia, from July 1965 to May 1966.
He completed F-4 Phantom II Combat Crew Training before serving with the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Ubon Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from October 1966 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on March 26, 1967.
After spending 2,171 days in captivity, Col Crow was released during Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Andrews AFB, Maryland, and then attended National War College in Washington, D.C., from August 1973 to June 1974. Col Crow’s next assignment was as Vice Commander of the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing at George AFB, California, from July 1974 to May 1975. His final assignment was at Langley AFB, Virginia, where he retired from the Air Force on October 1, 1981.