Oklahoma has many military heroes and distinguished officers, but none reached as high and was as admired as Adm. William J. Crowe Jr. A graduate of Classen High School in the Forties, Crowe died at the age of 82 in Maryland.
He wasn't born in Oklahoma and he died outside the Sooner State, but Crowe's Oklahoma heritage was as embedded as his love for the military. His accomplishments led him to the inner circle of the White House and got him deeply involved in geopolitical crisis.
Crowe enrolled at the University of Oklahoma upon high school graduation, but he left after an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. That venture gave Crowe a career which spanned more than 40 years.
Crowe eventually worked his way up to the rank of admiral and achieved the highest appointment a military officer can attain: chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. President Ronald Reagan gave Crowe that task in 1985, a position he also served in for George H.W. Bush when he took over the Oval Office in 1989. But by the end of 1989, Crowe retired and taught at OU for a couple of years before Bill Clinton brought him back to presidential service as ambassador to Great Britain.
His mark has been left on Oklahoma and foreign soil.