Join Us

Sign up for the lastest information from the IBEW!

Related ArticlesRelated Articles



Print This Page    Send To A Friend    Text Size:
About Us

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

Crowley 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."