Horace Ellis "Sally" Crouch, 0-395839, Lieutenant Colonel
Bombardier-Navigator Crew 10

Graduated from Columbia High School in 1936.  Graduated with a B.S. in civil engineering from The Citadel in 1940.  Served in South Carolina National Guard from 1937 until 1940.  Accepted commission as Second Lieutenant July 11, 1940.  Attended Bombardier, Navigator and Radar Training and became "Triple Rated".  Remained in China-Burma-India Theater after Tokyo Raid until June 13, 1943.  After World War II, served three tours in the Pacific and one tour each in England, North Africa, and Germany.  Retired as Lieutenant Colonel on April 30, 1962.  Decorations include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Chinese Army, Navy, Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.  Taught mathematics at Columbia High School, Columbia S.C.

Born October 29, 1918, Columbia, South Carolina
Died December 21, 2005, Columbia, South Carolina.

Posted on Fri, Dec. 23, 2005

Member of the Doolittle Raiders dies

Associated Press

Lt. Col. Horace "Sally" Crouch of Columbia, a member of the Doolittle Raiders' daring bombing run over Japan during World War II, died Wednesday.

He was 87.

Crouch was one of 80 airmen aboard 16 B-25 bombers that made the daylight raid over Japan on April 18, 1942. His death leaves just 16 surviving Raiders.

Crouch died of complications from pneumonia at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, his 52-year-old son, Martin Crouch, told The Associated Press on Friday.

Martin Crouch said his father and mother, who had been childhood friends, had just married when they learned of the Pearl Harbor bombing Dec. 7, 1941.

"He said, 'I hate to love you and leave you, but duty calls,' " Martin Crouch said.

For his valor, Crouch was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with an oak leaf cluster.

The Raiders, who took off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet even though they were designed to take off from land, were led by famed aviator Jimmy Doolittle. They bombed Japanese military targets before crashing or bailing out over China.

The raid was designed as payback for Pearl Harbor four months earlier. Many considered it a suicide mission. Three airmen died in the raid and eight were captured. Three of the captives were executed.

Crouch, a graduate of Columbia High School and The Citadel, had enlisted in the Army Air Corps before getting married. "I thought, 'I now have a wife and an enemy,' " he said in a 2002 interview with The State newspaper.

"A real giant has passed," said Columbia Mayor Bob Coble.

"The World War II heroes are fading," C.V. Glines, a Doolittle biographer and Raider historian, said from Dallas. "It's sad but inevitable."

Crouch and the other Raiders volunteered for secret, dangerous duty while stationed at the Columbia Air Base, now the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. They did not know their target until they boarded the Navy aircraft carrier.

Crouch was among five men in a plane that flew more than 2,000 miles that day. His plane, No. 10, endured some of the heaviest anti-aircraft fire and sustained some of the worst damage among the raid's bombers. The crew was credited with shooting down two Japanese Zero fighters and successfully bombing their target before bailing out near Chuchow, a town in China's Hunan province. Chinese guerillas rescued them.

Crouch served as a navigator, bombardier and nose gunner. He remained in China for about a year after the raid, flying more B-25 missions in the Pacific Theater. He retired from the military in 1962 and taught in Columbia schools for about 25 years.

Martin Crouch said his father never bragged about his service, and years later some of the colonel's students would come up to him at air shows. He always downplayed his service, Martin Crouch said.

"It raised the spirits of an entire country," Martin Crouch said of the mission. "It was a great morale booster."

Since 1946, the Raiders have gathered yearly to drink to their fallen comrades from silver cups bearing their names. The men celebrated their 50th and 60th reunions in Columbia. Crouch's toast in 2002 marked his last public appearance.

The cups are guarded by cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo., and one is inverted for each Raider who dies.

"Next year, I will offer the toast to him," said Master Sgt. Edwin Horton, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Crouch's last surviving crewmate. "I guess I'll be the one to turn his cup over."

Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at North Trenholm Baptist Church in Columbia. Services will be at 3 p.m. Thursday at the church, with interment in Greenlawn Memorial Park. Crouch also is survived by his daughter, Macia Crouch Sellers.

 

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