Frederick Crowson was born in 1950 in Pensacola, Florida. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on December 3, 1968, and completed basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in February 1969. Pvt Crowson next attended Switchboard Operator training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, from February to April 1969, followed by service as a switchboard operator and wireman with Battery A and then C, 8th Battalion of the 6th Artillery Regiment in South Vietnam from May 1969 to March 1970. PFC Crowson then served as a senior field wireman with Company B, 229th Aviation Battalion of the 1st Air Cavalry Division in South Vietnam from March 1970 until he was captured and taken as a Prisoner of War on May 2, 1970. After spending 1,018 days in captivity, SP5 Crowson was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and was placed on the Temporary Disabled Retirement List on August 6, 1973. Sgt Crowson reenlisted in the Army on March 26, 1975, and he served as an instructor with the 13th Company, 1st Battalion at the U.S. Army Aviation Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama, from April 1975 to August 1977. His next assignment was as an instructor and UH-1 Iroquois crew chief at the U.S. Army Aviation Development Test Activity at Fort Rucker from September 1977 to June 1980, followed by service as a UH-1 crew chief, section chief, and platoon sergeant with the 8th Aviation Battalion of the 8th Infantry Division in West Germany from June 1980 to June 1984. 1SG Crowson served as an aircraft maintenance sergeant, senior aircraft maintenance sergeant, and then First Sergeant at the U.S. Army Aviation Development Test Activity at Fort Rucker from July 1984 to December 1988, and he then attended the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, from February to July 1989. His final assignment was as Command Sergeant Major of the 1st Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from July 1989 until his retirement from the Army on September 1, 1991. During this time, CSM Crowson served during Operation Desert Shield in 1990 and 1991, and the Persian Gulf War from January to March 1991.
His 5th (of 6) Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
Specialist Five Frederick H. Crowson distinguished himself by heroic actions against an enemy force of the United States of America while serving as a Prisoner of War in Cambodia from 30 May 1972 to 20 June 1972. Specialist Crowson conducted himself in a highly commendable manner during a confrontation between the senior ranking officer of the prison camp, Lieutenant Colonel Schrump, and the prison camp officials and cadre. The senior ranking American Officer had been ordered to make bamboo stakes for perimeter security of the prison camp since they would serve as a deterrent to prisoners in any attempt to escape. Refusing to obey this order, the colonel was threatened and punished for many days, and, although suffering from malaria, was refused medical aid. Realizing that their punishment would not change the colonel's mind, the prison camp officials then refused to give him food or water. At hearing this, and though weak and suffering from severe malnutrition, Specialist Crowson endangered his well-being by giving the colonel his full support by refusing to eat or drink until the camp cadre gave Colonel Schrump food and water. This condition continued for several days until a final decision was made and Colonel Schrump was returned to his cell, given food and water, and normal camp life was restored. During this period, Specialist Crowson's courage, aggressiveness, and leadership by example were in the highest traditions of the military service and reflected great credit upon himself and the United States of America.