A scholarship for Veterans has been setup at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio in honor and memory of a Prisoner of War who served in the Army Air Corps in World War II. The scholarship will be in the names of Staff Sergeant Howard M. Crull and his wife, Inez Crull. The scholarship is being created by The Seioto County Restoration Association.
Howard enlisted at Fort Thomas, Ky. on Dec. 13, 1942. While he wanted to be a ground mechanic, instead, he became a tail gunner and a member of a 10-man plane crew. While flying over Germany on his 17th mission, the plane was hit, and caught fire. Smoke was so thick he could not see anything. Both wings were shot off, forcing him to get his parachute on fast. Despite a leg injury, he knew he had to bail out fast and from about five miles up.
He began to see land at about 10,000 feet. When he landed, his parachute had caught in a Pine tree. It took him a while to get out of his parachute but when he did, he fell to the ground. Several men and children of the German village saw him and ran to him. They motioned for him to come with them to their home. The time was around 1 o’clock p.m. The ladies of the house motioned to him if he was hungry. He nodded his head yes. He was fed blood sausage. A short time later the German Military was knocking on the door.
Howard was taken prisoner to the now infamous Stalag 17B Gneifendorf camp near Krems Austria where other Americans were being held as well. Howard was held prisoner for 13 months. He was rescued by the 13th Armored Division on May 3, 1945. Two members of the plane crew were killed. When released, Howard returned the United States, passing by the Statue of Liberty, a site he never forgot.
He came home to Portsmouth on leave, seeing Liberty once again. He returned to the service and was discharged on Oct. 30, 1945, a single, free man.
Howard later married Inez Hamilton and together they raised two sons. In later years, Inez prepared income taxes. Sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s, Inez was on a committee to save the historic Chapel in Greenlawn Cemetary, built for Civil War Soldier funerals on land set aside for Civil War Soldier burials, which was dedicated May 30, 1884. Inez filed paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service to establish the non-profit organization as “The Scioto County Restoration Association”. The goal of the committee was to raise money to restore and maintain this historic chapel.
Howard M. Crull passed away from us, Sept. 16, 2007 at the age of 83. He was a member of the American Legion James Dickey Post 23; a member of the Memorial Day Association Committee, and the American Ex-Prisoners of War Organization here in Portsmouth. For 16 years, he played ” TAPS” for the Honor Detail of James Dickey Post 23 for Veterans funerals throughout Scioto County or where needed.
Inez Crull passed away, April 11, 2013 at age 86.
This scholarship, honoring this devoted and patriotic couple will be for Veterans only. When fully established at Shawnee State University, anyone will be able to make additional contributions to this scholarship as a way to honor a veteran, Full details of availability can he obtained by contacting the Director of Development.
Howard often spoke of his love of this great nation and tile honor he felt to be able to be a part of a Veteran’s final laying to rest. Howard and Inez Crull will be lovingly remembered and missed. Just as Howard Crull played “TAPS” on his bugle for several thousand Veterans over 16 years, here are the first three verses of the words to “TAPS”.