Seattle – Colonel Bruce P. Crandall (Ret.), husband, father, explorer, pilot, Vietnam War hero, engineer, civic leader and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, will address Antioch University Seattle’s (AUS) 2015 graduates at the university’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 21 at Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101 and beginning at 1:00 pm. He will share insights about demonstrating social courage and the inner determination to choose the right path, which may not always be the safest or easiest route.
“Colonel Crandall exemplifies the definition of courage and bravery, not only because of the extreme danger that he faced during his military service, but also because of his willingness to face danger in pursuit of helping others and at great personal risk,” said AUS president Daniel Hocoy. “Standing up for one’s beliefs is difficult enough – doing so in the most extreme of circumstances is the true mark of a courageous leader and hero.”
During the Vietnam War, then Maj. Crandall led more than 900 combat missions during two tours of duty and is credited with saving more than 70 lives. The official narrative for his Medal of Honor credits him with displaying leadership by example and fearless courage as he “voluntarily flew his unarmed helicopter through a gauntlet of enemy fire on flight after flight, delivering desperately needed ammunition, water and medical supplies into one of the most hotly contested landing zones of the region” in the Ia Drang Valley, South Vietnam. Enemy fire had gotten so intense that the infantry commander closed the landing zone and even Med Evac pilots were grounded. Crandall decided to undertake the mission. He and his wingman, Maj. Ed Freeman, (also awarded a Medal of Honor) flew 14 hours transporting the wounded to safety.
Col. Crandall’s story was one of the many depicted in the 1992 book We Were Soldiers Once…And Young, and in the related 2002 film We Were Soldiers, in which he was portrayed by actor Greg Kinnear. Col. Crandall served as an aviation consultant during the film’s production in 2001.
At the commencement event, which also falls on Father’s Day, AUS will confer a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and master’s degrees from the following programs: School of Education, Graduate Programs in Leadership and Change, and the School of Applied Psychology, Counseling & Family Therapy.
Col. Crandall’s son, Steve Crandall, chair of the AUS Board of Trustees, will also speak at the event. The university’s distinguished alumni award will be presented to Marsha Botzer, founder of Ingersoll Gender Center and a champion of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and progressive communities for more than 35 years.
Tickets to the event are required. Graduating students will receive two guest tickets and limited amount of additional tickets will be offered through academic departments at a later date.