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TACAMO Fallen Veteran - William "Buff" Crowell, VQ-3, VQ-4 & PMA 271

Passing Date: April 3, 2021

Today TCVA was informed of the passing of Bill "Buff" Crowell - Please share your memories of Buff

Trey Crowell, Buff's son I’m really feel like I’m waiting to be woken up from a nightmare. I came home on Wednesday to spend Easter with my family. Last night, I enjoyed a great dinner with my parents. This morning, my mom discovered that my Dad died in his sleep last night, from what we assume was a massive heart attack given his cardiac history. This is just all so surreal. Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers. Fair Winds and Following Seas Buff you will be missed


Below are Tributes to Buff

The Buff Crowell Legacy by John "Irish" Keilty

"Tell me Daddy what real greatness means"

Many define the word greatness,

As a plaque in a hall of fame,

Many define greatness as being,

The best in your professional game!

Many define this thing called greatness,

As a leader in statistics to braggadociously proclaim,

And then there are the really great ones,

Who make others selflessly their personal fame of claim!

Making a difference in the lives of thousands,

That is Buff's real measure to so proudly acclaim!

Hey when we fly in TACAMO circles,

And we reverse flight for the last 40 years,

One name we are quick to spotlight and hallmark,

A name that has earned respect from all his peers,

A name that will come with a raised glass,

As a toast to this gent with three cheers,

A simple show of a great gratitude,

When TACAMO sailors pop a cold beer!

To have been a part of Buff's life,

To experience his love of Sailors in TACAMO,

Every single one of us war fighting Sailors,

Were influenced by Buff's glow which made us grow!

When we talk of Buff's contagious positivity,

And his indomitable American fighting spirit,

The unflinching TACAMO strategic air arm,

Boldly radiates Buff's legacy so all could feel it.

As an aviator Buff was a stud,

Many would say as good as it gets,

However as an officer and a gentleman,

I would offer one of the best we have seen as yet.

These last 40 years we all have been so blessed,

Because we were a part of Buff's every day,

We were better pilots, crew dogs and officers,

Because we hung with Buff and followed his way.

His love was unbounded in the Chief's Mess,

His love unbridled among the white hats,

His strength and courage in adversity,

Always we admired when Buff was at bat!

Buff taught us to know the deck plates,

His personal example would lead us right,

He taught us to be tough warfighters,

To ensure America always won the fight!

A real champion for the little things,

Buff mastered this simple giving way,

So many memories of Buff's personal touch,

That reached out and caused a great day!

And as loved as he was by us all,

And all his love he would show in return,

The unconditional love he shared with his family,

A love that Katy and the kids overwhelmingly would discern.

God has taken a true powerhouse,

A man who reflected God's loving way,

If we keep Buff's memory alive ,

We will always have a great Navy Day!

So Buff your last trap put you in heaven,

The best pass any Navy Pilot could make,

Your made such a great big difference,

Your friendship we cherish as our keepsake.

So "we got the watch sir",

And we thank You for the 40 TACAMO years,

"Rest In Peace our dear friend Buffalo",

And now as you would say"let's drink some beer"!

So all across this great Nation,

In deep valleys and mountains where eagles fly,

Across the plains of the Midwest ,

And in TACAMO birds in a friendly sky,

Let's all raise a toast together,

To one great friend and a hell of a guy,

I propose 3 cheers to Buff,

In his final landing space

way up high in the heavenly sky on his eternal fly!



RiP Brother Bill. You had a huge heart and leave a lasting legacy on the TACAMO Community.

Dan Seesholtz


With a heavy heart - Buff passed last night/this morning peacefully in his sleep. He was home and I spoke with his family this morning. Jay Gallamore is with the family now. Keep them all in our prayers.

William “Buffalo” Crowell - PLE’d for the final time. God Speed Shipmate.

From Chocko Baker …


I am STUNNED...speechless.....prayers for Katie and family...His legacy will live on TCVA and reunions. Now always a toast to THE BUFF when we gather. Irish can lead it best.

Vern Lochausen


Like everyone else, I was shocked to hear the sad news of Buff's sudden passing. I first met him in 1985, when we served together in VQ-3 in Hawaii. His first TACAMO tour, my last. We had stayed friends ever since. Hard to believe he won't be with us anymore. Buff lived and breathed TACAMO. He played one of the most important roles in the E-6 transition by leading the sundown effort for retiring the EC-130Q's. He loved flying those Hercs. He also was the leader in establishing a TACAMO veterans community, first by sponsoring reunions at Pax River and then organizing the TACAMO Survivors Association, which has grown to become TCVA. He was also a tireless supporter of the Navy Chiefs' community. More importantly, he was an outstanding family man and great Dad. As we all know, Buff was the best friend you could have. Always considerate and thoughtful as Irish so eloquently described above. Always had great sea stories to share over beers. I will miss him.

My thoughts and prayers are with Katie, Trey and Trish. They were all at home with him. A big thank you to Jay Gillmore and Chocko Baker for their quick help and support for the family.

Fair winds and following seas, shipmate. We'll all meet again in that big Wardroom in the sky!

Barry Coyle


A beautiful tribute, Irish - the passing of a legend who can never be replaced. Buff had a heart as big as the world and loved TACAMO and every TACAMO Sailor - truly a sad day.

Our hearts go out to Katie and the family. Our prayers are with you.

With heavy hearts,

Nora and Wayne Tyson


I first met Buff when I checked into PMA271 in Aug 2002 as the Training Systems Manager. I learned a lot of Buff'isms but I also learned alot about the program office side of the Navy and how to work with the contractors that were awarded the work. Buff and I even got to share a cubicle for a few months when space in the program office was getting tight. Our paths crossed a few times after I retired and the attached picture was taken at the Bavarian Grill in Plano, TX March 2016. Without a doubt, Buff's guidance and friendship made my 4 years at 271 arguably the best tour I had in the Navy. My thoughts and prayers go out to Katie and the rest of the family.

PMA Peer Mark Widick on Buff


What a beautiful poem, as always Irish. Buff was the heart and soul of the community. Definitely three cheers (and a glass of wine) from me here in Arlington to Buff in heaven. My thoughts are with Katy and the "kids" today, this special weekend. Once we're all in a good place to do so, there are an infinite number of humorous and generous Buff stories to share together as a community. Give Kim a hug from me. OK a hug for you too! Sue Davies


What a total shock! What a great loss. Buff wasn’t just a big guy ... he was sometimes larger than life for the TACAMO community. Always on the leading edge of community communication. So often, it was Buff that delivered, through this email circuit, both good and sad news to us. It was Buff’s traditional reunion picnics that was the inspiration and platform for the TSA (TACAMO Survivors Association) and subsequently TCVA. His sense of community and fraternity brought us all together to celebrate our common mission and enduring relationships. Buff was the consummate shipmate. Always looking out for those around him. He made sure your drink was filled, Sea Stories flowed freely and everyone had a sense of brotherhood. My deepest condolences to Katie and the kids. Bill will forever be remembered as a founder of our “alumni association” and shipmate to all who knew him. Mahalo nui, Buff for all you did for the TACAMO community and beyond. Mike & Cheryl Vos


There are so many lovely sentiments on this thread; my words will seem small in comparison. I had the privilege of flying with Buff several times — and could count on hearing “Hey, Dixie!” And if my spirits were low, they would be no longer. He was a superb pilot and a golden friend.

My prayers go out to Buff, Katy, and their kids ... we will all miss him.

Kathleen aka “Dixie”


I am sorry to hear that. Buff was literally the last Herc AC in the squadron during transition. Carried the Guard until the last Herc flew to the desert. My condolences to his family and friends.


When the information regarding Buff's Funeral Services comes available, TCVA will pass it along to everyone.


TCVA extends its sympathy and prayer for peace to the Buff's family and friends during this time of the passing. 


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