Col. Bruce “Ol’ Snake” Crandall is the bravest, craziest, funniest helicopter pilot I ever met in 43 years of going to war.
On Nov. 14, 1965, during the Vietnam War’s Battle of Ia Drang, Snake and his wingman, Maj. Ed “Too Tall to Fly” Freeman, led 16 slick Hueys into Landing Zone X-Ray again and again – hauling in 1st Battalion 7th Cavalry troops, hauling out their wounded, and hauling in resupplies of ammunition, water and medical supplies. When the LZ got so hot that Lt. Col. Hal Moore closed it, “Snake” and “Too Tall” just kept coming.
Both of them earned the Medals of Honor they received for their actions. Scores of the wounded are alive today because of their heroism. “Too Tall” Ed died in August 2008, breaking up a partnership and friendship that lasted half a century. “Snake” Crandall carries on the mission at 81, traveling the United States and war zones around the world, visiting our troops.
– Joseph L. Galloway, co-author with Harold Moore of “We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young” and “We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam”
Watch Bruce Crandall's Medal of Honor story here.