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Marine Survives Iraq, Dies at the Hands of Street Rats
Columnist Carl Langley
posted July 21, 2008
CARL LANGLEY – Robert Crutchfield’s aunt
and other family members say that the young Cleveland, Ohio, Marine had
long held dreams of being a member of America’s most fabled fighting
Alberta Holt remembers her nephew speaking often about his love for the
Corps and his hopes of joining the Marines on leaving high school. He
also told family members and friends he someday would be an architect.
Crutchfield joined the Marine Corps ROTC while attending Bedford
Heights High School and left for boot camp soon after receiving his
diploma in 2006.
The young man who had just started his journey on the American dream
only lived long enough to serve with distinction as a member of a
Marine battle unit in Iraq. After more than a year spent surviving
enemy firepower, he came home and died at the hands of two of the army
of street thugs that prowl our nation’s major cities.
Crutchfield’s story has become an all-too-familiar one in this country:
the best we have to offer dying at the hands of the most worthless
dregs in any society.
Cleveland law enforcement officials said Crutchfield was standing at a
bus stop with his girl friend back in January when two thugs came up
and pulled a gun and began demanding money.
It’s amazing how big and tough these street rats become when they are
standing behind the barrel of a Saturday night special, talking tough
and demanding the property of others.
Crutchfield’s family members recounted how he had been warned by
military authorities. Service members are told they shouldn’t carry
large sums of money because it attracted muggers and robbers.
Crutchfield, a young man accustomed to following orders and military
advice, had taken the warning seriously. He only had $8 on him when he
and his girl friend were accosted by Ean Farrow, 19, and Thomas Ray
III, 20. The two rats were looking for an easy target and found one in
But they weren’t satisfied with taking the few dollars Crutchfield was
carrying. They derided him for not carrying a large amount of cash,
then shot him in the neck and left him to die on the street. Both rats
were arrested a short time later as they took their trade elsewhere..
Cleveland prosecutors said one of the two thugs verbally assaulted
Crutchfield for not carrying more money, then remarked that because he
was a Marine he deserved to die. These are the kinds of skunks our
government keeps alive by forking over free medical care and welfare
At first it was believed that Crutchfield would recover but after four
months undergoing treatment for continuing infections caused by his
wounds he died of a cardiac arrest in a Cleveland hospital.
Mrs. Holt said family members faced up to the sad reality that
Crutchfield would have survived had he remained in Iraq. She said over
there he at least knew who was shooting at him and could retaliate.
“That’s the horror of the whole thing,” she remarked about the nephew
who was on the front lines fighting Iraqi insurgents for 14 months.
I read several letters to the editor commenting on the incident and the
overwhelming majority of the writers want Farrow and Ray executed, and,
in the words of one, “as soon as possible” to send a message to the
other street vermin.
Robert Crutchfield and his assailants are black, but that’s where the
Robert Crutchfield’s life was a life to celebrate. It was a life of
merit and high calling, and he was a living symbol of how any young
person, regardless of ethnicity or social standing, can soar to the
heighths and bring pride to family and friends.
Farrow and Ray are a disgrace to humanity and by their actions they
have condemned themselves to possible execution or at least a life
sentence in a society that for too long now has grown soft and seems
unwilling to make the rats pay the ultimate price for their actions.
I was one of those sending a letter to the Cleveland newspaper
beseeching the state prosecutors to seek a sentence that would
guarantee that the lives of these rats be snuffed out.
It would be a fitting remembrance for Robert Crutchfield, who put his
life on the line each day he was in Iraq in order to make this world
safer for all of us, even the two-legged rats who stalk our streets.
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