Stephen  Crews

Stephen Crews

By Christopher Alexander

Stephen Crews love of history began when he was a young man—even before he joined the Air Force.  An Air Force brat, he was born at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.   He turned 18 while living in Germany and, like all young American men, registered for the draft.  He became ill while in college and had to sit out a semester which ended his college deferment.  He did not worry as he was living in Georgia and it was not a high draft state.  As he was heading back to college he got a letter from the Draft Board that he had a low number.  Crews then headed to the local Air Force recruiting station.  He felt it wise to be the master of his own destiny.

Crews spent 22 years in the Air Force, the first 11 in passenger service and air freight, retiring as a Master Sergeant.   In his 11th year of enlistment he was commissioned as a missile officer.  However, after a year they were over their end strength and he was separated during a Reduction in Force.  He contacted a prior history teacher from his college days in Georgia, Newt Gingrich, and was able to continue his career in the enlisted ranks.   During this time his love of history manifested itself; he continued his education; and became an Air Force instructor.  His experiences in Vietnam, his love for history, and joy of teaching all came together.  In fact, his classroom was featured in a  newspaper article and his classroom was referred to as a “virtual museum.”  He had framed stories from the Stars and Stripes about Vietnam, had pieces of memorabilia and models of aircraft he built himself hanging along the back wall.

Stephen Crews Upon retirement, Crews went back to college and earned his teaching certificate from the state of Georgia.  He never forgot his time in the Air Force, serving in Vietnam and his other military service.  In 2012 he published a book he had started as a young(er) man and it became his first book, Surviving Bien Hoa (Ben Wa).  In 2013 he published his second book, A Death in Korea (and the Search for Answers), and is currently working on his third book titled, a historical novel, entitled The Sage of Saigon.  Crews does his own cover and back design work and chose to self-publish his books.  He wanted to be able to share his history with his family and others. 

Crews first heard of the AFRH in an article from the Retired Enlisted Association.  The article was full of enticing pictures of residents enjoying their life.  He remembered the challenges his mother faced in her final years and he did not want to be a burden on his own children.  He knew “without a doubt I am coming here (AFRH) as soon as possible,” He spoke with Greg Moore and found out he was not eligible until he was 60.  He completed his application, sent it in, and on his 60th birthday called Greg to “activate” it.  He had spent the few years prior to his admission in a 24 foot travel trailer and loved the simplicity the Home offers ---no cooking and no dirty dishes!  His love of history has not wavered.  He enjoys sitting with different residents and learning their history.  He also encourages them to journal their stories.  As the saying goes, once a teacher always a teacher.