Jesse Alvin Crider, 83, of Herrin, passed away Tuesday, September 28, 2021, at the John Chochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis.
Jesse was born on November 17, 1937, in Ullin, Illinois, to Jesse G. and Louise (Fisher) Crider.
He was united in marriage to Carolyn Sue Russell on August 7, 1956 while on leave with the U.S Army at the First Baptist Church in Energy, Illinois. He graduated from Herrin High School in May 1956. While a junior in high school he joined the U.S. Army Reserves in Marion and participated in drills and summer camps at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin. After graduation, while participating in the U.S. Army Reserve Program, he reported to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. After this six-month program, he returned home and continued in the reserves while also working for the Carterville Union of Laborers. He worked on Devil’s Kitchen Dam, New Route 13 from the intersection at Division Street in Carterville to Route 148, and then Interstate 57 south of Marion. Construction during this time was working during all good weather and drawing unemployment during non-construction season (winter). During this period, their son, Stephen M. Crider, was stillborn at Herrin Hospital on August 21, 1958. On May 13, 1960, son, Danny B. Crider, was born at Herrin Hospital.
During the summer of 1960, Carolyn and Jesse discussed returning to active duty in the U.S. Army, having obtained the rank of sergeant E5 in the reserve unit. Weighing the benefits of the possible careers, they elected to return to active duty on August 1, 1960. He was assigned to Ft. Leonard Wood again as a drill sergeant. Thus, a military career began. Carolyn and Danny joined Jesse living in a small trailer provided as housing. After two training cycles, the family was reassigned to Ft. Benning, Georgia (Kelly Hill) in January 1961. In this unit, recruits were trained, and a complete unit was formed, First Battle Group 87th Infantry Second Division. This was the best trained and equipped unit in the army, completely trained in all facets of warfare.
After the Berlin crisis subsided, individuals began getting other assignments. Jesse was sent to Korea for 13 months in 1962 and 1963. Carolyn and Danny returned to Carterville, Illinois. The assignment in Korea was with First Calvary Division on the DMZ. Jesse was assigned to division headquarters at Camp Howze. He worked in the G3 offices of division operations and was promoted to Staff Sargent E6 with a changed military occupational specialty to training aid NCO. He conducted inspections of each company’s training records. Other duties involved getting VIPs and visitor tours of the Peace village and Panmunjom on the DMZ/38th parallel. He even stepped foot into North Korea.
In October 1963, Jesse returned from Korea and was assigned to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Jesse, Carolyn, and Danny purchased a mobile home which was moved from Carbondale, IL to the Ft. Leavenworth trailer park on post. While there, he was promoted to Sargent First Class (E7). His responsibilities were in weapons range operations and ensuring that enlisted personnel got to training assignments at various military schools across the US. This included budgeting for transportation and other finance requirements, and installation alerts and sheltering in the severe weather (tornado alley). At the end of this assignment Jesse was scheduled to deploy to Vietnam. Prior to going to Vietnam, the trailer was moved to Carterville where Carolyn and Danny resided while Jesse received training at the U.S. Army Special Warfare School in Ft. Bragg, NC and then the U.S. Army Military Assistance Command at the Vietnam U.S. Army Pacific Command. This was the first of two tours of duty in Vietnam. The first assignment was operations and intelligence specialist with a 10-man advisory team to a battalion of 540 Montagnards. The MACV Team was taken over from a special forces A team. They ran joint operations for a period of time, including air assaults, and search and destroy in the assigned operational area. These were also supported by a Vietnamese Artillery battery in their basecamp. In approximately a month the mission was assigned to the MACV team and the A Team departed. Operation on a continuous basis was conducted during the following approximately 11 months. In that time the team lost one man to action with the Viet Cong. The tour ended and in July Jesse was assigned to Fifth Army Headquarters at Ft. Sheridan, Illinois, where Carolyn and Danny accompanied him. Jesse was the operations sergeant for the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in an expansive secure vault. This operation center had secure communication and equipment to communicate and conducted assigned missions within the US.
After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King on 4 April 1968, civil unrest began in major cities all over the United States. By 5 April the rioting in major cities was beyond the control of the local and state resources. The EOC was activated to coordinate and respond to the rioting in each major city. The necessary forces from across the US Army were alerted and moved to needed locations and quelled the riots. This was a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week operation. Jesse worked 12-hour shifts, others worked nights while Jesse worked days. All staff actions were documented and at the conclusion of the unrest the state and local governments could maintain control, and an after-action report was written. This resulted in specific plans being written for each major city. The plans were designated for official use only. Upon completion of this the EOC returned to standard operations. This included alerting the US Army Reserves and National Guard Units of their being called to active duty and deployment to Vietnam. During this time Jesse was recommended to apply for a commission to be an officer. EOC operated on routine daily schedule until August of 1968 when the Democratic National Convention was to convene in Chicago. Dissenters to the war began converging on Chicago where civil unrest followed. At the request for assistance from Illinois from the federal government, the EOC was again fully activated with the necessary General staff officers. Units were brought to Chicago and the rioting was quelled. The convention concluded and all operation returned to the daily routine. Having the full operation for the Convention, Jesse was informed he had been approved for a conversion and would be commissioned First Lieutenant in the Infantry on October 8, 1968. Jesse would then attend the Basic Infantry Officer courses at Ft. Benning, GA. Upon completion of this course he would report to Ft. McClellan, Alabama.
Jesse was discharged from the US Army as a Sergeant First Class after 13 years, 5 months, and 21 days of service. Immediately, Jesse was sworn in as a commissioned officer. At this point Jesse began another career in the US Army.
Jesse was assigned to attend a nine-week infantry officer basic course (IOBC) at Ft. Benning, GA and then to Ft. McClellan with the advanced individual training brigade. Carolyn and Danny lived in Carterville during the nine weeks in Georgia. Their trailer was delivered to a trailer park just outside of Anniston close to Ft McClellan. In early 1969, Jesse reported to Ft. McClellan and Carolyn and Danny joined him. At the AIT assignment, Jesse was the officer in charge of teaching small unit tactics to soldiers scheduled for deployment to Vietnam. This was fire team squad tactics in day and night warfare. Defensive tactics were in the same location by other personnel. In mid 1969 Jesse applied for Pilot training. He was tested and given a class 1 flight physical. Passing both, he was accepted in flight school.
In mid-August Jesse, along with Carolyn and Danny, reported to US Army Primary Helicopter School in Ft. Walters, TX. Aviation Course 70-12 (Red Hats). Training began with half day classroom training learning the operations of the aircraft and half day on the flight line rotating flight time with another student. Jesse’s initial instructor pilot was Gale Stouse, a member of the original Blue Angels who had over 25,000 hours of flight time and was a wealth of experience. During his training in October Jesse was promoted to Captain. He passed the primary phase and graduated 16 January 1970. Jesse and family then went to Ft. Rucker, Alabama for advanced training in turbo jet Huey, fast becoming the work horse of the US Army Aviation. In the advanced course various models of the aircraft were flown, learning to fly with loads and aircraft with weapon systems. Exercises were performed in flight of all students, learning formations and getting into landing zones (LZ). During this time additional classes were available on weekends taught by certified instructors on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight rules and regulations. Completion of this and flight school commercial helicopter pilot license was given by the FAA. On 19 May 1970 Jesse graduated as Army aviation and presented wings. Jesse had new orders which assigned him to Vietnam. The family returned to Carterville for short leave and Jesse left for Vietnam. Carolyn and Danny remained in Carterville.
June 1970 Jesse arrived in Vietnam and was assigned as aviation officer to an artillery group headquarters in Da Lat. Due to lack of security at the headquarters, Jesse and the aircraft were housed at Phan Rang Air Base. Jesse had transitioned to fly a OH-58A Kiowa (Jet Ranger). This required flying from Phan Rang (102 feet above sea level) to Da Lat (5,018 feet above sea level) each morning. The mission was to fly the colonel commanding officer of the group to battalion headquarters and fire bases and any other assigned missions. Upon completion of this one-year assignment, Jesse returned to the states in 1971.
Next assignment was to Ft Ben Harrison (FBH) where Carolyn and Danny accompanied Jesse. Upon reporting in at FBH he was assigned to Director of Industrial Operations (G4 Supply and Support). Assisted in acquiring needed supplies and equipment for daily base operations. In April 1972 Jesse assumed command of Company E of the School Battalion responsible for command and support for students assigned to the battalion lettered companies. The students attended adjunct general and finance schools. During this assignment Jesse transitioned from infantry officer to military police officer. This was done as a shortage of captains and majors in the Military Police Corps and planning for future retirement.
Jesse was assigned to Provost Marshal of FBH as operation officer. This transition was smooth. He was operation officer for 2 Provost Marshals, the military police (MP) at FBH, along with a platoon of MP’s from 101st Airborne Division Ft. Campbell provided security and law enforcement during the return of war protesters from Canada at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. Jesse continued to maintain Flight Status while at FBH maintaining the requirements for day and night flying. This was done by the Indiana National Guard in Shelbyville, Indiana as FBH had no aircraft. While at FBH, Jesse took night and weekend classes from Vincennes University and was a member of the first graduating class with an associates degree in Business Administration. In mid 1975 Jesse was assigned as MP operation officer at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, including the NASA area of the arsenal. The family moved and had quarters on the arsenal. During this time, Jesse again maintained flight status and became instrument rated.
He also attended Athens State University and 20 years, 3 months after High School graduation he graduated from College with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. Jesse was promoted to Major in the reserves and on 1 Jan 1980 was placed on retirement rolls with 23 years of service.
He then began a 20 year career with the state of Illinois with 19 years of service with the Department of Children and Family Services. Jesse’s working career ended March 30, 2002.
Military Awards: Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB), Army Aviator Badge (Wings), Bronze Star Medal with V device (Valor) and 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal Numerals 13th Award, Army Commendation Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal with 3 Knots, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserves Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal with Clasp, Presidential Unit Citation Expert; 1911A, 45 Caliber Pistol, M1, & M14 Rifles
Jesse was a 32nd degree mason, Army Scottish Rite Bodies Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, Life Member at Williamson Lodge 802, Ancient Tree and Accepted Mason, Life Member of Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, National Fraternal Order of Police Williamson County Lodge 197, Illinois Police Association, Illinois Sheriff Association, Illinois State Rifle Association, National Rifle Association (NRA), United States Conceal Carry Association (USCCA), and Missouri Botanical Garden.
He is preceded in death by grandparents, parents, parents-in-law, wife Carolyn S. (Russell) Crider, son Stephen M. Crider, brother-in-law Glen and his wife Peggy, all aunts and uncles on his side of the family, and Carolyn’s aunts and uncles, his brother Glen E. Crider and his wife Janet, and his brother Larry L. Crider and his wife Carol.
He is survived by son Danny B. Crider and his wife Donna D. Crider of Marion, Illinois, granddaughter Megan N. (Crider) Hammonds and her husband Austin of Marion, Illinois, and grandson Kyle A. Crider and his wife Gabrielle Will of Crawfordville, Florida.
He is survived, also, by many nieces and nephews, as well as great nieces and nephews, and great-great nieces and nephews, and cousins scattered across America.
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