An Unassuming Coloradoan

Bill Crawford was about as humble as they get. He was born in Pueblo, Colorado, in 1918, served in the Army during World War II, and stayed in the service until 1967 when he retired.

William Crawford during World War II. Screenshot from YouTube and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society

After a couple of months of retirement, Bill grew bored and looked around his hometown of Colorado Springs for a job to keep him busy. He found work as a janitor at the United States Air Force Academy, just outside of town. Most cadets barely noticed this quiet, unassuming man who blended into the background as he silently did his job. They knew him only as the shy janitor, Mr. Crawford.

A Surprising Discovery

This all changed in 1976. Cadet James Moschgat was studying the Allied campaign in Italy when he began reading about the accomplishments of one private William Crawford. There was an old photo of Crawford in the book, and Moschgat thought he resembled the reclusive janitor. He read that private Crawford was presumed killed in action, and his father received the Medal of Honor for his son. As it turned out, Crawford had been captured by German soldiers and held prisoner for 19 months until the end of the war.

Cadet Moschgat shared his finding with fellow cadets and finally approached the janitor to ask if he was the same man in the story. Crawford simply replied, “Yep, that’s me.” The cadets asked him why he never talked about his accomplishments, and he said,