Leland D. Crawford

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Leland D. Crawford
Crawford LD.jpg
9th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps (1979-1983)
Born(1930-02-16)February 16, 1930
Sharon, West Virginia
DiedFebruary 16, 1993(1993-02-16) (aged 63)
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1951-1983
RankSergeant Major
Commands heldSergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Battles/warsKorean War
Vietnam War
AwardsDistinguished Service Medal
Bronze Star (2)
Purple Heart

Sergeant Major Leland D. Crawford (February 16, 1930 – February 16, 1993) was the ninth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, serving as the senior enlisted Marine from 1979 to 1983.


Early life and training[edit]

Leland Crawford was born in Sharon, West Virginia on 16 February 1930. He attended East Bank (West Virginia) High School and later graduated from high school on Okinawa, Japan. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on 26 September 1951 and underwent recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Early assignments[edit]

Following recruit training, he was assigned to Infantry Training School, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Upon completion of his training, he was assigned to the 1st Marine Division in Korea, where he served as a rifleman and artillery man until July 1953. He then reported to the 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

In June 1956, Crawford was assigned to his first tour of duty as a drill instructor at Parris Island where he remained until October 1958. He was then assigned to the 1st Marine Brigade in Hawaii, remaining there until October 1961. He returned to drill instructor duty, this time at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, until February 1964. After this tour, he was transferred to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, as a gunnery sergeant with 4th Battalion 11th Marines.

First Sergeant[edit]

He joined the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa in February 1965, and the following month sailed for Vietnam. In March 1966, he returned to Twentynine Palms, where he was promoted to first sergeant. He served as First Sergeant for Headquarters Company, Force Troops until 1967. Returning to Vietnam, he served as a Company First Sergeant, 1st Battalion 4th Marines. During this tour he earned the Bronze Star with Combat "V" and gold star in lieu of second award; and later a Purple Heart for wounds received on 11 June 1968.

Crawford was then transferred to Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., as Company First Sergeant, Ceremonial Guard Company from October 1968 to December 1970. He again returned to Vietnam to serve as First Sergeant, Company D, 1st Battalion 1st Marines.

Sergeant Major[edit]

In May 1971, he returned to Camp Pendleton where he was promoted to Sergeant Major. He was then assigned as Sergeant Major of 2nd Battalion 1st Marines until April 1974. He again returned to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego to serve as Sergeant Major of the 1st Recruit Training Battalion until January 1976. The following year he served as the Group Sergeant Major of Marine Air Control Group 18 on Okinawa. He reported back to the 1st Marine Division in February 1977 and became Sergeant Major of the 11th Marine Regiment.

In May 1979, Sergeant Major Crawford became the Sergeant Major of the 1st Marine Division and remained in that billet until his selection as the 9th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. He served in that post from 15 August 1979 until his retirement on 30 June 1983. Crawford died on February 16, 1993, on his birthday, in San Diego.

Awards and honors[edit]

His military decorations include:[1][2]

Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st Row Navy Distinguished Service Medal
2nd Row Bronze Star w/ valor device & 1 award star Purple Heart Combat Action Ribbon Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ 2 service stars
3rd Row Navy Unit Commendation w/ 2 award stars Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 2 service stars Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal w/ 8 service stars Navy Occupation Service Medal
4th Row National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star Korean Service Medal w/ 3 service stars Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam Service Medal w/ 8 service stars
5th Row Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ silver & bronze stars Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, 2nd class Korean Presidential Unit Citation Vietnam Gallantry Cross unit citation
6th Row Vietnam Civil Actions unit citation United Nations Korea Medal Vietnam Campaign Medal Korean War Service Medal

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  • "Sergeant Major Leland D. Crawford, USMC". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  1. ^ Chapin, John (1993). Uncommen Men - The Sergeants Major of the Marine Corps (1 ed.). Shippensburg, Pennsylvania 17257-0152 USA: Burd Street Press. p. 339. ISBN 0-942597-45-1.
  2. ^ "Republic of Korea Korean War Service Medal". Air Force's Personnel Center. U.S. Air Force. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
Military offices
Preceded by
John R. Massaro
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Succeeded by
Robert E. Cleary