Crumpton shares at Liberty Day’s Hall of Memories
By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist
Liberty Day celebrates Shelby County’s veterans each year at the Hall of Memories sponsored by The First Baptist Church of Columbiana.
First time veteran to have a table of memories was Master Sgt. Brian L. Crumpton, U.S. Marine Corps Retired.
Crumpton, who lives in Columbiana with wife Sandy, who is well-known at the Shelby County Museum and Archives, served in the Marines from October 1969 to November 1991.
“I come from a military family,” said Crumpton. “My dad joined the Marines at age 16 during WWII. By his 17th birthday he was fighting at Guadalcanal where he earned the Navy Cross and a Purple Heart. I was raised in the Kingdom area where my family is buried in Crumpton Cemetery. I joined the Marines at age 18 in 1969. I dropped out of high school and joined the military to get out of the cotton patch!”
After basic training, infantry training and artillery school, Crumpton served in Alaska where he corresponded with pen pal girlfriend Sandy Ray of Columbiana.
On Dec. 17, 1971, the two married at Four Mile Baptist Church, the last marriage before the devastating fire that destroyed the church.
The Crumptons moved to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C. where they lived until Crumpton was deployed to Puerto Rico and Sandy moved back home to live with her parents while he served out of country.
In 1973 Crumpton volunteered for Explosive Ordinance Disposal School (EOD) in Indian Head, Md., where he found his military home and niche.
“I volunteered for EOD for it was more money,” said Crumpton. “It was dangerous work, but EOD was a small, close knit unit. The squad was small and we all knew each other. When I was deployed, the Gunny would be sure that Sandy and all the wives were taken care of. I never changed my MOS after I became an EOD. Every person and every job in the military is important. Organization does not work unless every man does his job.”
Master Sgt. Crumpton retired after 22 years in bomb disposal in the Marines serving in Operation Desert Storm, Southeast Asia, Japan and stateside earning many awards including Marine Corps Achievement, Meritorious Unit Commendation and Good Conduct Medals.