Carl Crumpler was born in 1927 in Waldo, Florida. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on June 25, 1945, and served on active duty in the Navy from July 23, 1945, to August 3, 1946. Crumpler was commissioned a 2nd Lt in the U.S. Air Force through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Alabama on May 27, 1950, and went on active duty beginning December 14, 1950. He served with 14th Air Force at Robins AFB, Georgia, from December 1950 to April 1951, and then attended pilot training at Greenville AFB, Mississippi, and Vance AFB, Oklahoma, from April 1951 to May 1952. After completing All-Weather Interceptor training, Lt Crumpler served as an F-86 Sabre pilot with the 94th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS) at George AFB, California, from September 1952 to April 1955, followed by service with the 327th FIS at George from April 1955 to November 1956. His next assignment was as an F-86 pilot with the 16th FIS at Naha AB, Okinawa, from November 1956 to March 1959, and then as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer with the 1st Organizational Maintenance Squadron at Selfridge AFB, Michigan, from May 1959 to March 1960. Capt Crumpler completed the Aircraft Maintenance Officer Course and the Technical Instructor Course at Chanute AFB, Illinois, and then served as Detachment Commander for the 3751st Field Training Squadron at Sheppard AFB, Texas, White Plains, New York, and Stewart AFB, New York, from March to July 1961, followed by service as Detachment Commander for the 3321st Field Training Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Florida, from July 1961 to June 1963. Maj Crumpler next served as Detachment Manager for the 3320th Tech School at Amarillo AFB, Texas, from June 1963 to June 1965, and then served as an Aircraft Maintenance Staff Advisor to the Imperial Iranian Air Force in Teheran, Iran, from June 1965 to July 1967. Col Crumpler completed F-4 Phantom II Combat Crew Training and then deployed to Southeast Asia in March 1968, where he served as an F-4 pilot, Assistant Chief of Operations Plans, and Chief of Operations and Training with the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from March 1968 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on July 5, 1968. After spending 1,714 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, and then attended Air War College. His final assignment was at Eglin AFB, Florida, where he retired from the Air Force on October 1, 1977.
His Distinguished Flying Cross w/Valor Citation reads:
Lieutenant Colonel Carl B. Crumpler distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight was an F-4D Aircraft Commander in Southeast Asia on 5 July 1968. On that date, Colonel Crumpler was a member of a flight directed to attack a vital military target in North Vietnam. Without thought of personal safety and with selfless devotion to duty while under extremely heavy hostile fire, Colonel Crumpler successfully silenced four antiaircraft artillery sites. As he pulled off the target his aircraft received a direct hit from the withering fire of the hostile defenses. Through professional aerial skill and courage Colonel Crumpler was able to withdraw from the target area. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Colonel Crumpler reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.