Samuel Crowler was born on August 10, 1919, in Paducah, Texas. He worked on his family farm and then later at a creamery, where his hard work was identified and rewarded with being sent to college for business. Growing tired of that life, he made the decision to join the United States Army, where he was assigned to the 19th Infantry at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Before the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, rumors were afloat that Japanese submarines had been spotted in the waters off Pearl Harbor. Reacting to that possible threat, Samuel’s unit was assigned watch near Wheeler Field, on a reservoir overlooking the area. Before the attack, his unit had just finished breakfast and were getting back into position when several aircraft were spotted. Samuel’s first thought was that it was American Navy and he spent a moment reflecting that the pilots would be playing golf soon while he was stuck on the reservoir. When the bombs began to fall, he realized he had been mistaken.
The men watched as the airfield was attacked, helpless to join in the defense. They watched as the enemy aircraft struck ship after ship, seeing the flames spread to the water. Making their way back to the barracks, Samuel realized that this was the start of the war and an event that would set in motion the next few years of his life. He had planned on taking leave, but permission for such was cancelled and he spent the next few days with his unit guarding the nearby shore, on the lookout for attackers.
Samuel would go onto to serve in different battles in the Pacific before gaining his commission in the Army Air Corps, where he would serve until his retirement. He now lives in Northern California amid souvenirs and trophies from his time in the service.