WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Retired Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Thomas S. Crow died Nov. 30, at his home in San Diego following a courageous battle with cancer. He was 74.
Crow became the fourth Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Sept. 28, 1979. He relieved MCPON John Walker and held the job for three years before MCPON Billy Sanders assumed the duties Oct. 1, 1982.
Crow was born in McArthur, Ohio, in 1934 and joined the Navy a few days after graduating high school in 1953. Crow spent several years in the aviation community prior to becoming one of the Navy's original equal opportunity specialists and counselors. He was assigned to Commander, Naval Air Pacific where he served as a trainer for race relations and a member of the quality control inspection team for overseas WESTPAC units and carriers.
After completion of the equal opportunity program specialist training at Cheltenham, Md., he became a program manager for AIRPAC, implementing Phase II of the equal opportunity/race relations program aboard carriers in the Pacific.
Crow was selected for MCPON in June 1979. During his time in office, he was instrumental in the opening of the Navy's Senior Enlisted Academy and the re-emphasis on pride and professionalism across the fleet.
"He never lost that," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Joe R. Campa, Jr. "He never lost his passion for Sailors. Every time I spoke with him it never took him long to turn the conversation back to what our men and women were doing, and what we should be doing for them."
As part of an interview for the book, "Winds of Change," Crow said he was aware early in his tour of fleet perceptions and he added that he kept the seagoing Sailor in mind at all times.
"I came from out in the fleet and I wanted to continue to see the Navy through that set of eyes," he said at the time. "I was not going to allow the job to turn me into a bureaucrat or a politician who would bring back to the CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) what I thought he wanted to hear."
Campa said the entire Navy's chiefs mess mourns the loss of one of the finest leaders the enlisted force has ever produced.
"Tom Crow's legacy is still alive through the Sailors he mentored, even after he retired," said Campa. "Sailors he trained are leading our Navy to this day, and the lessons they learned from Tom Crow continue to resonate on the deckplates in the fleet."
Following his retirement in 1982, he remained an active advocate of the Navy as a co-chariman of the Secretary of the Navy Retired Affairs from 1983-86, honorary board chairman, U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation, Navy League of the United States, Fleet Reserve Association, and a member on the board of advisors to San Diego Armed Services YMCA.
He is survived by his wife Carol Crow of 39 years; his children, Thomas Michael Crow of Washington State, Stephen Bundy Crow of Tennessee, Teri Laslo of Virginia, John Crow of San Diego, Steve Crow of Nevada, Joel Crow of San Diego, and Candace Barnes of Mississippi, 27 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. Crow was preceded in death by two of his children Deborah Graves and Stanley McDuffee.
Information regarding funeral and memorial services will be released to the Navy via NAVADMIN.
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