HAL R. CRANDALL, LCDR, USN

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Birthdate & Date of Loss

Date of birth: January 16, 1929
Date of death: July 24, 1963
Age: 34

Lucky Bag

1951 Crandall LB.jpg

From the 1951 Lucky Bag:

Hal Russell Crandall

Great Falls, Montana

From Great Falls, Montana . . . right from high school . . . worked for the Forest Service summers . . . good sense of humor . . . nicknamed "Happy Rat" on youngster cruise . . . goes by "Crunch" around here . . . regulation in his conduct . . . easy-going in manner . . . Gymnastics his sport . . . the horse his specialty . . . proud of his uniform, the Academy and the Navy . . . academics came easy but didn't strain for high standing . . . favorite music, soft and dreamy . . . favorite books, good fiction . . . favorite movies, musicals . . . ambition, to be noe of the best officers to graduate . . . biggest weakness, trying to sell everyone on Montana . . . worked steadily towards a Navy commission.

Loss

Hal was lost when his F-8 crashed into Subic Bay, Philippines, shortly after takeoff on July 24, 1963. The book "Selecting the Mercury Seven: The Search for America's First Astronauts," by Colin Burgess, has much more on Hal's life and loss. The pages that appear to directly report his loss are not a part of the Google Preview, however.

His squadron was operating from USS Hancock (CVA 19), but a "beach detachment" had been set up to perform more complex aircraft maintenance. Hal was departing with an aircraft from that maintenance activity.

Family

He appears to have been survived by his wife and two daughters. (The book mentions "another baby girl.")

Career

1951 Crandall 1.jpg

From USS Hancock:

EARLY DAYS - Idaho
01-1929 born in Pocatello, Idaho

NAVAL ACADEMY
09-1946 US Naval Academy Midshipman (appointment from the state of Montana)
06-1951 USNA graduation – commissioned as Ensign

1951-1952 DESTROYER USS ERBEN (DD 631)
Assistant to 1st LT/Assistant Navigator/Assistant Communications Officer 06-1951 to 04-1952 Korean War (8 months in Korea)
03-1952 return to San Diego from Korea

FLIGHT TRAINING
04-1952 Naval Air Basic Training Command, NAS Pensacola 01-1953 promoted to LTJG
05-1953 NAS Corpus Christi (Under instruction)
07-1953 NAAS Kingsville, TX (under instruction) jet transition
09-30-1953 Received Wings - designated Naval Aviator (HTA)

FIGHTER SQUADRON VF-151
Flight Officer, Operations Officer, Communications Officer, Pilot
11-1953 Reported to VF 151 at Alameda, CA Grumman F9F-2 Panther
09-1954 to 04-1955 deployed to WestPac CVA-18 Wasp
06-1955 F7U Cutlass checkout by future Mercury astronaut Walter M. Schirra, jr.

ATTACK SQUADRON VF-151
02-1956 LT Crandall FIGHTER PILOT VA-151 “Black Knights”
02-1956 promoted to Lieutenant
05-1956 Deployment USS Lexington – Area of Operation: WestPac
12-1956 Return from WestPac Deployment to home port NAS Alameda

PAX RIVER
02-1957 Pax River Test Pilot School Class 18 (6 month course) One of Crandall’s instructors is future Mercury astronaut, LCDR Alan B. Shepard, jr.
07-1957 LT Crandall graduates from NTPS Class-18, along with future Gemini & Apollo astronaut Dick Gordon
08-1957 Electronics Test Division, NAS Pax River Flight Officer; Test Project Pilot

PROJECT MERCURY ASTRONAUT CANDIDATE
1959-02 LT Crandall is called to Washington with 69 other candidates to test for an assignment as one of 12 Mercury astronauts.
1959-03 medical testing at the Lovelace Clinic. “Stress Testing” at Wright-Patterson AFB
1959-04 Crandall was selected as one of the 12, but NASA soon decided it needed only 7 astronauts, and Crandall was not selected.

PACIFIC PROJECTS DIVISION - OPERATIONAL TEST AND EVALUATION FORCE
02-1960 Assistant for Operations, Communication, Security and a Project Officer NAS North Island/Coronado (San Diego)
05-1961 promoted to LCDR

FIGHTER SQUADRON 124
06-1962 F-8A Crusader training Fleet Replacement Pilot

FIGHTER SQUADRON VF-211
01-1963 assigned VF-211 NAS Miramar F-8A Crusader Squadron Maintenance Officer
06-1963 deployed VF-211 Hancock F-8A
07-24-1963 Deceased due to injuries suffered in the crash of his F-8A into Subic Bay
07-26-1963 (Friday) Parents attended his funeral in southern CA
08-05-1963 Hal Crandall was buried in Logan City Cemetery, Utah.

MEDALS AND AWARDS
China Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Star in lieu of second award
Korean Service Medal
United Nations Service Medal
Korean Presidential Unit Citation Badge

Related Articles

James Laramore '51 and Standford Nall '51 were also on the gymnastics team.

Halvor Ekeren ’51 and Robert Bell ’52 were also Project Mercury astronaut candidates.


Class Navigation

Class of 1951
Hal is one of 48 members of the Class of 1951 in Memorial Hall.
<< Norris Tollefson '51 William Harvey '51 >>