Branch- US Air Force
Years served- 1981-2014
Hometown- Twain Harte, California
Hearing the shrill sound of the F-111s coming down the runway, Chrystal Grow got ready to approach the tactical fighter bomber. Capable of supersonic speeds with long swept back wings, F-111s were essential to the U.S Air Force. Grow’s job was to repair the black boxes within the F-111s and run checks before sending them out back on the flightline. This would be the beginning of her career with the Air Force in air transportation.
Stationed first in Cannon Air Force Base Clovis, New Mexico, Grow would spend her first four years active duty. She would then find herself later deployed to Baghdad, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Hawaii numerous times.
During her tour in Baghdad, one of her jobs was shift supervisor for passenger services of 17 personnel. Grow was also the unit deployment manager, which entailed making sure that all personnel were combat, personally and medically ready to deploy with all their required gear and training. In one instance, Grow aided several hundred stranded Army troops that were passing through the base but got left behind. With full flights on a consistent schedule, the troops couldn’t stay on the runway waiting for specific further instructions. Fortunately, Grow managed to arrange a flight for the Army troops so that they were able to fly out of Baghdad and continue on with their agenda.
Other memorable experiences Grow recalls in Baghdad are working with the USO and the NCO, non commissioned officer, club. As event manager for all morale event activities in the unit she also coordinated with the Honor Guard for occasions such as ceremonies dedicated for honoring fallen soldiers and retirement ceremonies.
When deployed to South Korea in 1988, Grow and her air traffic command unit were able to sponsor two orphanages by providing and creating care packages and resources. That same year, Grow and her unit were also able to tour the Seoul Olympic Stadium for the summer olympics.
After 33 years in the Air Force, Grow retired in 2014 and now spends her time working, going to LPC and being with her family. When she’s not with her grandchildren or attending classes, she enjoys riding her Harley-Davidson motorcycles with her husband.