Vice Admiral Crawford Alan Easterling Jr. USN (Ret.)

June 29, 1928October 19, 2019
Obituary of Vice Admiral  Crawford Alan Easterling Jr. USN (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Crawford A. “Pete” Easterling, United States Navy (Retired) took his last breath on October 19, 2019. He was born June 29, 1928 in Nashville, Tennessee, near the onset of the Great Depression. Pete lost his father at the age of twelve, and quickly developed the sense of responsibility and industry that would characterize the rest of his life. He assumed two paper routes to earn money that would help his mother and two sisters survive, while simultaneously earning the Boy Scout rank of Eagle Scout. As a young man Pete attended Randolph-Macon Academy and following graduation was accepted to the Naval Reserve Officer Training Program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. When asked to declare a college major, he asked, “Which is the most difficult?” Upon being told Electrical Engineering he said, “Then that’s what it will be.” Throughout his life Pete would take quiet personal satisfaction in meeting a challenge. Pete was commissioned an Ensign in 1951, and so began a remarkable career in the U.S. Navy. During his thirty-five years as a naval aviator he flew nearly 4000 hours in fighter aircraft and commanded fighter squadron VF-13 at Naval Air Station Cecil Field and VF-124 at Naval Air Station Miramar, CA. As Captain Easterling he held command of the combat stores ship USS CONCORD (AFS-5) and the attack aircraft carrier USS FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (CVA-42). As Rear Admiral Easterling he assumed command of Carrier Group FOUR aboard the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN-68) and deployed to the Indian Ocean in response to the Iranian Hostage Crisis. He then transitioned to the Mediterranean Sea as Commander Carrier Group TWO and Commander SIXTH Fleet Battle Force, homeported in Naples, Italy. While ashore he participated in the development of satellite navigation and communications systems and served as Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research and Development. His career culminated with the promotion to Vice Admiral, and assignment as Commander, Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, responsible for six aircraft carriers, one hundred aviation squadrons, and twenty-one naval air stations. At the time of his retirement, he was the senior Admiral on the West Coast of the United States. Following retirement VADM Easterling and Beverly moved back to Jacksonville. Subsequently he consulted for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland and sat on the National Board of Directors of the Military Officers Association of America in Washington DC and on the Board of Directors of the Methodist Medical Center in Jacksonville. His memberships included the Navy League, the San Jose Country Club, and the Association of Naval Aviation. He was a Paul Harris Fellow in the Rotary Club of Jacksonville and also served as a military analyst on local television Channel 4 during Operation Desert Storm. In his free time he enjoyed traveling with his wife, Beverly, playing golf at the club and playing bridge. Pete possessed a penetrating intellect, which propelled him not only through his B.S. Electrical Engineering but further drove him to earn the Degree of Engineer and Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology while serving on active duty. Still academically ambitious in retirement, he returned to school at the University of North Florida where he was awarded the degree Master of Business Administration, with honors. Pete bravely fought prostate cancer beginning May 1985, enduring two major surgeries and multiple radiation treatments. Yet through it all he never lost his keen sense of humor, his self-deprecating manner or the bearing of a gentleman. During his life he was the epitome of integrity, honor and generosity, and so he was to the end. He is survived by his devoted wife of 63 years, the former Beverly Sherburne of Jacksonville, his son, CAPT Crawford A. (Nancy) Easterling, III USN (Ret.) of Dares Beach, MD, his daughter, Karen Easterling (Mark) Russell of Anaheim Hills, CA and six amazing grandchildren. Of all his accomplishments, it was his family in which he took the greatest pride. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Church of Our Saviour Episcopal Church, 12236 Mandarin Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32223, November 16th at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Church of Our Saviour Episcopal Church Music Ministry (service address) or the First Coast Cancer Foundation, 10881 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32223.

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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Celebration of Life