Service is a family affair


Greene County News

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE – Adrienne Clark is a retired Air Force major and single mom who joined the Air Force in 1992, and Maj. Brian Crawford was a high school geometry teacher when he and his wife decided to enter the Air Force in 2002.

“I joined the military in 1992, primarily with the inspirations of the Navy nursing recruiters who visited during nursing school,” said Clark, 88th Medical Group recovery care coordinator. “I come from a long family line of nurses to include my grandmother, mother, aunts, cousins and sister.”

She worked for Cook County Hospital and the VA hospital in Chicago after nursing school before joining the Air Force. Her Air Force nursing career took her and her daughter, Devine Jackson, who was born in 1994 at Wright-Patterson’s medical center, to three different bases twice — Spangdahlem/Bitburg Air Base and Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. She also deployed twice to support Operation Iraqi Freedom to the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

“I proudly served for 20 years and retired back to Wright-Patt in September 2012 to be close to family,” Clark said.

Single parents must have a Family Care Plan in place within 60 days. Its purpose is to provide a detailed smooth and rapid transfer of responsibilities to a designee who will take care of their dependent children while the primary caregiver/parent is absent due to military necessity.

Clark’s daughter is currently a pre-med student at Ohio State University with a dual degree in Biology and Pharmaceutical Science. She aspires to be the first doctor in her family. She is a recent recipient of the Pelontonia Fellowship at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer and the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, where she is conducting research with some of the top pulmonologists around the world in preventive markers for lung cancer. She is hoping to be selected for an MD-PhD program in 2018.

“[My mom] didn’t raise me to be a quitter, but to have good work ethics,” said Jackson in a personal essay she wrote when they PCS’d back to Sheppard AFB, Texas in 2010, during her junior year in high school. In that essay, Jackson discussed the Kubler-Ross five stages of accepting change.

Clark was assigned Maj. Brian Crawford, through the Air Force Wounded Warrior program, after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma bone cancer in his left femur in Dec. 2015.

“In 2002, I was teaching high school geometry in Sacramento, California, and while the job was rewarding and fun, there wasn’t much opportunity for advancement,” said Maj. Brian Crawford, an operations research analyst with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. “My wife and I discussed my joining the Air Force, and after 9/11, I can honestly say there was a desire to serve.”

His father served in the Navy for nine years and his brother and his wife were in the Air Force. Additionally, his grandfather served in WWII, so the value to serve his country was instilled in him for some time.

“After the school-year ended, I entered Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama,” said Crawford. “Twelve weeks later in August 2003, I received my commission, and our first assignment was to the Air Force Research Laboratory, Human Effectiveness Directorate (now the 711th Human Performance Wing).”

Crawford said that it hasn’t been very difficult for his family to adjust to military life. He explains that they are very close-knit. His brother and his family and his wife’s family (in Japan) get together, especially after his cancer diagnosis.

He received his cancer surgery at Anderson Medical Center in Cincinnati, because the Wright-Patterson Medical Center did not have an orthopedic oncologist who could perform the surgery. However, he received his chemotherapy treatments at the 88th Air Base Wing Medical Center.

“My wife, Masako, is the glue that keeps us all together with her selfless service and dedication to our happiness,” said Crawford.

His wife is a full-time mom, and she says, “I love it!”

“I spend a lot of time volunteering with my children’s activities, and for the last three years, I’ve done alterations for the women’s chorus groups at my 17-year-old daughter, Sarah’s, high school, Kettering Fairmont High School,” she said.

“Due to my husband’s recent illness, I have learned that there are many avenues of support for us in the military,” she said. “We need to be strong and independent, but when things are overwhelming, it is comforting to know that help is there whenever we need it, and this is one of the many benefits of being in the Air Force.”

“I’m grateful that there are so many caring people that dedicate their lives to making things easier for military spouses,” said Crawford’s wife.

After his cancer diagnosis, he received chemotherapy treatments through mid-August 2016, at Anderson Medical Center. He explained that he had significant mobility issues and surgery that removed 12 inches of his left femur and his knee and replaced it with a metal rod.

“It was a difficult time while I spent the majority of the past 12 months in and out of the hospital,” he said. “My wife really came through with her usual cheery and optimistic outlook, and she kept our children busy, teaching them to not make excuses because dad is sick.”

Crawford has hobbies in classical music and opera. He also volunteers for WDPR 88.1 (Discover Classical radio station) in Dayton. He hosts a weekly radio program called the Opera House, sharing opera with listeners in the Miami Valley.

As of today, Crawford had an Initial Review in Lieu of the medical evaluation board in August 2016, and the Air Force Personnel Center determined that he is fit to be returned to active duty status on Oct. 28, 2016. He will have another informal review in April 2017.

November is the Month of the Military Family and Wounded Warrior Month.

WPAFB shares veteran stories

Story courtesy of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

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