IBEW Sister Combines Skill and Courage
January/February 2005 IBEW Journal
Sergeant Crystal Crowley, IBEW Local
257, holds piece of her trucks headboard,
shot in Iraq by a rocket-propelled grenade.
Crowley was awarded the Purple Heart
for shrapnel injuries.
Nothing could have prepared reservist Crystal
Crowley, a fifth year apprentice from Jefferson City, Missouri, Local
257, for electrical work in the midst of the Iraq
war. But, with her unconquerable spirit and uncommon courage,
shes setting an example to follow.
Sergeant Crowleys unit, the 428th Army Transportation Company,
based in Jefferson City, was deployed to Iraq in November
2003. Crowley had only three months before her eight-year
service obligation was due to end. Yet, she was called up
under the militarys "stop-loss" program, leaving
a three-year-old daughter at home.
Originally assigned as a tractor-trailer driver, Crowley
took shrapnel in the neck when her truck was hit. She was
awarded a Purple Heart. Now shes out of her truck, working
on electrical projects, but she is severely lacking in essential
tools of the trade
describes what it was like to direct a small crew of Iraqi
nationals running PVC conduit across a road for CAT IV cable.
Without a heater to soften the conduit for bending, she improvised
by lighting the asphalt road on fire and then digging it
up with shovels.
The danger of war and the challenge of directing a crew
might defeat others, but Crowley says: "We (428th) have
all fortunately been blessed since we have been here."
Sergeant Crowley says, "I cant wait to see my family
again and to be back in the United States, where I feel safe,
and can be there to protect my daughter, as well. Its hard
not knowing every day that she is okay. I want to see her
smile and make her laugh. I am ready to have my life back
again, be it a dirty ole electrician, but a happy one."
Don Bruemmer, business manager/ financial secretary of Local
257 says: "Crystal is an excellent apprentice. We would
like to have more like her. We deeply respect everything
that she and our troops are doing in Iraq to protect our
freedoms and hope to have her back home safely soon."
Crowley asks everyone to "stop sometime to think of
us and what we are doing here."