b. 09/04/1900 Traverse City, Michigan. d. 08/11/1942 Port Lyautey, Morocco.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 08/11/1942 Morocco.
Craw was born in Long Lake Township, Michigan, to Mark Craw, a game warden, and his wife Clara. He was twin brother to Theron Craw, who died in a hunting accident in 1927. A younger sister, Jane, became a registered nurse and served in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II. The twins attended Traverse City public schools, but dropped out of Traverse City Central High School during World War I to enlist in the United States Army on April 18, 1918, at Columbus Barracks, Ohio. Craw was sent to Camp Stanley, Texas, for training with the 12th Cavalry, then transferred to Columbus, New Mexico, on the border with Mexico. He was promoted to private first class in November 1918 and sent to Machine Gun School at Camp Hancock, Georgia. There he applied for and was selected to attend the Central Officer’s Training School at Camp Gordon, Georgia.
In the demobilization of the Army following the Armistice, Craw was discharged on February 15, 1919, but re-enlisted three months later in the infantry at Grand Rapids, Michigan. Assigned as a recruiter, he was promoted to corporal, but continued to pursue a commission. At Camp Zachary Taylor, Kentucky, where he was attached to the 2nd Field Artillery Regiment, Craw undertook a two-month preparatory course in February 1920 for entry into the United States Military Academy. Returning to Grand Rapids afterward, Craw was discharged on May 14 and entered West Point on July 1, 1920.
While attending the Military Academy he received his lifelong nickname of "Nick", shortened from "Nicodemus" (a word play on his given name), and developed an ambition to fly. However an eye injury incurred while playing polo nearly ended his aviation career. Craw graduated on June 12, 1924, ranked 371 in general order of merit in his class of 405 members, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant, Coast Artillery Corps.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. On November 8, 1942, near Port Lyautey, French Morocco, Col. Craw volunteered to accompany the leading wave of assault boats to the shore and pass through the enemy lines to locate the French commander with a view to suspending hostilities. This request was first refused as being too dangerous but upon the officer's insistence that he was qualified to undertake and accomplish the mission he was allowed to go. Encountering heavy fire while in the landing boat and unable to dock in the river because of shell fire from shore batteries, Col. Craw, accompanied by 1 officer and 1 soldier, succeeded in landing on the beach at Mehdia Plage under constant low-level strafing from 3 enemy planes. Riding in a bantam truck toward French headquarters, progress of the party was hindered by fire from our own naval guns. Nearing Port Lyautey, Col. Craw was instantly killed by a sustained burst of machinegun fire at pointblank range from a concealed position near the road.
BURIAL LOCATION: ASHES SCATTERED IN WIESBADEN, GERMANY.