Gentleman of Fortune … John Crawford Part 1

As promised, we write again about John Crawford … Gentleman of Fortune.

Although John could rightfully take his place among modern mercenaries, he would have been justifiably incensed for having been characterized as such.  I never knew John to give a tinker’s damn about the “All Mighty Dollar” when it came to fighting for riches.  Oh … he’s a Scotsman … he would squeeze a copper penny into a silver dollar … that’s not the point.  The point is that any wealth he ever obtained or coveted went toward his next adventure or a piece of priceless art or artifact or exhotic weapon or to put clothes and shoes on some native warrior’s back and feet.

We mentioned mercenaries.  A Wiki list of modern ones follows.  Certainly not all but some.  John could head that list but wouldn’t have cared one “whit” about doing so.  John had his adventures, his art, his music and … yes … his women, his fine wines and liquors, his passionate likes and dislikes.  He had no interest in notoriety but thrived on proximity to it and the many “goodfellas” who crossed his winding paths.

Please click on the little, square, 4 arrowed box in the top middle of the following heading.  This will take you to an interactive list of Modern Mercenaries.  When finished, to return to this posting, click on the same little box at the bottom of the list.

zList of modern mercenaries - Wikipedia

As The Ole’ Buzzard …

… I’ve never been authorized by the Chief or Scotty to use this email list to push out the Justice4All blog individual postings.  Doing so would have been too far over the top.  I have a habit of causing a ruckus when it comes to Criminal Justice matters.  (Please note the “Unsubscribe” link clearly displayed at the bottom of each message.) However, our temptation to share a story from time to time on this list is overwhelming.   So … I’ll “chum” those of you who are interested in John Crawford type stories by dropping a line such as this from time to time with a link to the specific blog posting that reflects that story … as has been done here.  If the reader is so inclined, one may subscribe to automatic posting from The Ole’ Buzzard by looking in the left margin near the top and merely entering one’s email address.  There are 168 and counting postings in that left margin … many of which could and have set some hair on fire.

Kirsten Crawford, John’s daughter, and I have been friends for years.  Kirsten is John’s caregiver, has power of attorney and travels from Washington State all the way here to Utah.  She is a sweetheart and has given her all to help her dad get settled in his new home in Provo.  Kirsten has given me permission to share what I have about John and just today forwarded what purports to be a 13 page resume of John’s adventures.  The resume is a chronological list of short sentence, line items reflecting his main adventures.  I may eventually publish the whole resume, but for now, here are a few of his interesting adventures.

    1. 1961 to 1962 Lead six month, 4 man team cinema-photographic field expedition into Mexico and Central America. First expedition to retrace
      the 1839-40, 1841-42 expeditions of John L. Stephens (who rediscovered the Mayan civilization). Assisted by United Fruit Co., (transportation only).
      A. Second expedition after the Stephens retrace: Explored coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico, for Maya Ruins. Area included the inland swamps and Jungles of the Muyil fresh water complex, etc.
    2. 1965 Voyage aboard the sea going catamaran, Huk Ama Kani. Following
      and observing the California Gray Whale. Expedition journeyed to Black Warrior and Scammon’s Lagoon in lower Baja, Mexico. Explored large area of dunes – once sea bottom around Scammon’s lagoon.  A. Ballooned competitively at National Air Races in Reno, Nevada.  First use of balloon at this event. 20th Century Fox sponsored balloon.
    3. 1966 Balloon expedition. First attempt discovery of Mayan Ruins with the aid of hot air balloon in rain forest of Quintana Roo, Mexico.  Partial backing: Time-Life Magazine, McCulloch Corp., Cessna Aircraft Corp.; my pilot, photographer and myself became lost over the Yucatan Peninsula, crashed. Total loss of U-206 Cessna in jungles of Quintana Roo. Extracted by schooner, sailed to the island of Cozumel and on to the mainland by boat.
    4. 1968-69 Yugoslavia expedition. Collected 164 islands, known and seldom visited, off the Dalmatian coast. Lived on the island of korcula.
    5. 1972 to 1973 Covered Near and Middle East except Arabia Peninsula and Iraq.
      9. Expedition to the Sub-continent. 4 months spent in Pakistan, Punjab, Kashmir, North West Frontier Prov. India, Afghanistan.  Sought out little known Mogul fortresses from Peshawar to Lahore.  Fly Trans-Am and Trans-Atlantic.   Acted as gas balloon advisor to Bob Sparks Transatlantic Moved my kit to Tangier, Morocco by ship. Took up quarters (sole resident) in a 100 room moorish palace.  Odyssey attempt from Cape Cod, Mass, (testing at lake Hurst, N.J.)  Helped Bob Sparks as pilot in the final months of the Lark cigarette balloon tour through the eastern U.S.  Helped the Smithsonian Institute of Washington D.C. inflate and maneuver a 27 year old ex-navy gas balloon in the mountains of West Virginia for a film on 1830 aerostatics. The film is
      now featured at the Smithsonian Sciences & Space display. Returned to East Haddam, Connecticut.  Our group, including Los Angeles Mayor, Sam Yorty,
      expeditioned to the Himalayan bound protectorate of Hunza, Pakistan. Prime Minister Bhutto joined us in Gilgit, Asour host. Our expedition members were guests of Hunza’s Mir.  Some weeks in Khyber pass area visiting major tribes
      of the Pathans in tribal territories. The month of September was spent in the Himalayas observing the great migration of the “gypsies”.   Returned to the Balkans – Hungary, Greece, – returned to Europe for more ballooning. Co-piloted a balloon that was destroyed crashing into a tree in Austria.
    6. 1978 Attended large hot air balloon meet in England.  A. Flew in new Thunder Balloon with one of the manufacturers.  Helped fly the world’s largest hot air balloon, the colossal 500,000 cu. ft. Heineken Beer Balloon.  Ascended in a wicker cottage equipped with windows, curtains, pictures on the wall, several cases of beer, 19 people and one large black dog.
    7. 1979-80 Returned to Rhodesia to rejoin my regiment (Rhod. Armoured Car Reg.), after having sold my personal belongings, antiques, etc. in order to raise money for Army recon, balloon.  The regiment posted me to Chirundu on the Zambezi river where we were to come under fire from Zipra 122mm artillery.
    8. 1981 (Returned to his plan to fight with) … Afghan Mujahideen inside Afghanistan and try my hand at fighting the Soviets rather than their surrogates. I sold my remaining large antiques and personal effects to raise money for kit and tickets to Pakistan.  Did extensive physical training in the mountains of Colorado, preparing for difficult life with the Afghan tribes. Began my Afghan expedition August 12th by way of Northern Yemen’s Mountains. Brief stops in Europe, Ethiopia, Oman, Katar, etc. Joined a faction of Mujahideen in Peshawar, Pakistan. Was smuggled across the frontier in Afghan disguise. I was passed off as a French journalist to keep my intent and
      nationality from organized Russian informers. I helped load 12 pack camels for our 13 day tred to the Wardak Valley. Five Russian T-62 tanks spotted us on the ridge line of a major resupply trail. Sent my horse, with our caravan, for cover as we took 19 to 20 rounds of 100mm plus several belts of 12.7 hmg fire.
      We made hazardous crossing from N. Waziristan to the “moos” hidden camp located in the spur of a large valley.  I spent three consecutive months fighting along side 35 Wardak tribesmen. We operated in the province of Paktia … Our first battle. was an attack on the old town of Ghanzi held by 20,000 Russians and 5,000 Afghan government troops on the 3-4 October. We demolished our assigned target, killing resisters, taking prisoners, and weapons, kits, etc. I was the first wounded in this battle, having been bitten by the pack mule carrying my 82 mm captured Russian mortar.

We’re setting aside the rest of the resume that continues until 1985.

With the above, we’ve only barely touched on the 13 page list of his adventures.  One way that the reader can fill in the blanks is to go visit John.  Kirsten will be providing his daily schedule and I’ll forward it to those who might be interested.  In the meantime, however, he would be delighted in seeing anyone at any time.  However, it’s always best to call the Courtyard ahead.

3352 N. 100 E. Provo, UT 84604  Phone: (801) 377-3730

As mentioned earlier, John is with The Candy Bomber Hal Halverson at the Courtyard.   Hal has many visitors so he’s a bit more difficult to approach.  However, when one gets on his calendar, the visit is a delight and he’s ever so personable.  He’s in his 90s.  He still drives his neighbors to town when they ask.  He’s lively.

John’s fight for The Rule of Law, Justice and Good Governance was unrestrained by color, creed or the confines of country.   In large or small measure, freedom’s flames burn on in the hearts and souls of all God’s children.  In John Crawford those flames burn brightly and he took the fight for right to many fronts.  I’m his witness that his motives were pure although his methods were of necessity and at times tailored to the nature and kind of those who surrounded him.

The Ole’ Buzzard

“There are a thousand hacking
 at the branches of evil to one 
who is striking at the root.”
H.D. Thoreau
Wayne L. Wickizer
Banned by UtahPolicy.com
Major, U.S. Army Special Forces Ret.
Former FBI Agent 1970-76
Retired Educator
Member Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
Freelance Commentator and Political “Lurker”
Skype = wwickizer1
Cell 435-828-0496
The only Agent in the history of the FBI
of “The Washington Merry-go-Round.”