Crump, Thomas B. "Tom",
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Sergeant Major, USMC
Pearl Harbor Survivor
On 8 July 2014, Sgt Major Thomas B. Crump took leave from this life to fulfill the ranks of Heaven's Marine Corps Detachment, leaving the world with one less true American Hero. Sgt Major Crump passed away peacefully at Oaklawn Nursing and Rehab Center surrounded by the ones who loved him most, Veterans.
Thomas B. Crump was born on February 25, 1921 to James and Carrie Lee (Meek) Crump. He was the 9th of 10 children. He has now joined both parents and 9 siblings. Tom leaves behind a devoted wife of 32 years, Ida Amy (DeAngelo) Crump, his granddaughter Kara Fautz; He also leaves behind many friends.
On August 9, 1940 Tom made one of the most important decisions of his life, to join The United States Marine Corps. In 1940 at the age of 19, Tom became Private Crump. After completing basic training at MCRD San Diego he was assigned to the USS Saratoga then transferred to Marine Barracks Navy Yard, Oahu, Pearl Harbor where he was assigned to Navy Yard Police, Naval Intelligence. Tom was standing guard on the dock next to the USS Pennsylvania directly across from "Battleship Row" on the "Day of Infamy," December 7th, 1941 when the Japanese attacked U.S. military forces at Pearl Harbor. The USS Pennsylvania was the flagship of the Pacific Fleet and frequently used by high ranking flag officers and the President.
In 1942 he participated in the Guadalcanal campaign. He went on to fight in the Battles of Bougainville, Pelileu and Okinawa. In 1945 he was transferred to Norfolk, VA then to Washington D.C. where he was assigned to the security of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz's quarters. In 1947 he was transferred to Kodiak, AK then Adak, AK. His follow-on assignments took him to Parris, Island, SC in 1948; Camp Pendleton, CA in 1952 and Korea in 1953 where he saw combat again. Tom was promoted to the highest enlisted rank of Sergeant Major in 1960. During the next 15 months of overseas duty he would cover over 16,000 miles aboard 5 different ships. In 1964 "The Corps" would send the Sgt Major to the place he would call home for the rest of his life, Louisville, Kentucky to serve as a recruiter.
Even after retirement, "The Corps" would not be through with him. In 1967 he was fortunate enough to open the first JROTC program in the United States of America at Seneca High School. It has been the longest running JROTC program in the nation. This was one of his greatest challenges and most rewarding experience. In 1970, after 30 years, Sgt Major Crump retired from The United States Marine Corps, earning what few Marines had ever seen, a 30 year gold pin. The next 36 years saw Tom dedicate his talents to the real estate sales industry.
Tom carried the same devotion that he had for the Marines over to many military and civic organizations. He was Life Member of the Marine Corps League (Kentuckiana Detachment #729) where he devoted many years to community service regarding Veterans and was very involved with the TOYS FOR TOTS program. He was a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Shrine, commonly known as Shriners. He was also a member of the Free Masons since 1951, earning his 60 year pin in 2011.
His devotion to community service was undaunting. One of his greatest passions was service to young people and they adored the Sgt Major in return. He was a beloved friend of the Boy Scouts of America and many other civic organizations. He left his mark on many communities in Kentucky and his home state of Mississippi as a motivational speaker in schools and churches.
Tom enjoyed spending his time at the VFW Post, which was known as his second home where he was a great friend to all. He left his footprints firmly across many communities, the country and THE United States Marine Corps.
Sgt Major, you are wished a speedy return to your Heavenly Father and you will truly be missed. God Bless You.
His service will be 10am Saturday at Owen Funeral Home - Jeffersontown, 9318 Taylorsville Road, with burial in Calvary Cemetery. Visitation will be 11am-8pm Friday at the funeral home.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to Kosair Charities.
Condolences may be shared via the online guestbook at www.owenfuneralhome.com
Owen Funeral Home
9318 Taylorsville Road
Louisville, KY 40299
Published in The Courier-Journal on July 10, 2014