This column gives me the opportunity to write a lot about the issues facing veterans and the initiatives that the Nevada Office of Veterans Services and other organizations are taking to address those issues.
Every so often, I like to write about a veteran in the community who embodies the image of service that so many people associate with veterans, whether it is service to other veterans, the broader community, or both. Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell is one of those veterans whose continued service has had a tremendous impact in all areas of local life.
I have known Crowell for several years now, and have been continually impressed by his willingness to participate and serve, especially when it comes to veterans issues.
“Whatever you need from us, just let us know,” is something that I have heard innumerable times from him. Even more important than the statement, though, is the fact that he has meant it. Every time we have asked his assistance in any of our efforts, he has always stepped up to help.
Throughout this time, and through our many engagements together, I have developed a deep respect for Mayor Crowell and for his story. He was born in the mining town of Tonopah and grew up in Carson City, a connection that he seems to keep alive through a panoramic photo of his birthplace on the wall of his office in City Hall. In the years that followed, he would almost continuously serve his country in the military, serve his state, and serve his community in various capacities, and all with great distinction.
Crowell started his remarkable career when he left Carson City to study economics at Stanford University, graduating in 1967. In the same year, he would graduate from Navy Officer Candidate School and receive a commission as an Ensign and continue his studies through anti-submarine warfare school and nuclear weapons school. He was eventually assigned as gunnery officer aboard USS Wilkinson, a World War II Frigate, in Newport, R.I., and later as an anti-submarine warfare officer and nuclear weapons officer aboard the USS Waddell in Yokosuka, Japan.
In the year that followed, Crowell served as a Combat Action officer in the Vietnam. During this time, he received greater responsibilities and received spot promotions for his service. And in September 1970, he was released from active duty as a lieutenant, at which point he joined Naval Reserve.
When he left the Navy, he decided to continue his education, pursuing a law degree from the prestigious Hastings College of the Law. Because he remained in the Naval Reserve, and because the nation was still at war, Crowell received an assignment for temporary duty aboard the USS Wiltsie in Vietnam.
“Instead of going to work as an intern in a law firm during the summer,” Crowell explained, “as a reservist, I accepted the assignment to sail the Wiltsie to Vietnam when it was called up and to help with training her crew over there.”
Throughout the rest of his career, he would continue to seek opportunities to serve. He commanded various reserve units, served as the Naval Liaison to the Nevada governor and to the Nevada National Guard, and continued to pursue schools like the Naval War College and others. In 1990, Crowell retired from serving as a surface warfare officer with the Naval Reserve with the rank of captain.
Because he was a Naval Reserve Officer, Crowell was able to continue serving his native Nevada throughout most of this period. He has served in various appointed positions over the years, from the Chamber of Commerce to the Colorado River Commission, and others, nearly always serving in leadership positions wherever he is. In elected office, he has served on the school board of trustees, and as the mayor of Carson City since 2008.
Even with all of these duties, Crowell maintains his membership with Chapter 388 of Vietnam Veterans of Association of America. This is not only fitting because of his wartime duty in Vietnam, but because it is representative of his continued interest and willingness to serve veterans in every way that he can.
Caleb S. Cage is the executive director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services, appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval. You can read his blog at http://veterans.nv.gov/blog.
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