Msgt. William Crismon Medals
Most of the medals were awarded to Pop for military service during World War I. As children we were aware that Pop was a war hero, but didn't know how many medals were awarded. He was a very modest fellow! Upon returning to the US after the war ended, Pop visited his sister, Cora, living with an aunt and uncle. Using papers she found on the mantel, it was a chilly November morning when Grandma Dixon started a fire in the fireplace. Pop's original enlistment, first discharge papers, and medals were accidentally destroyed as well as the citation order awarding him the Silver Star. The Silver Star is the third highest military award for bravery.
Pop rarely discussed the awards he had received. Several years after his death a request was made to the US Army for a duplicate of the destroyed awards. The plan was to mount the awards in a framed wall display, similar to the treatment of Robert Daniel Leatherwood's Silver Star and his other awards. We were quite surprised to learn how many awards had been presented to him. Before they could be suitably mounted, all of the medals mysteriously disappeared from where they were stored at a son's place of business. A second complete set of medals and awards were secured in 2001. The awards are available to be mounted in a suitable display.
The Silver Star is awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Army, is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force. The original General Orders citation document that authorized the award was destroyed in a records storage fire in 1957. It is believed that Corporal Crismon engaged the enemy in combat while on a mission to destroy a heavily guarded radio tower located behind enemy lines that was used by the enemy as an observation point. Only two soldiers survived the successful mission. General "Black Jack" Pershing personally pinned the Silver Star award on Sergeant Crismon.
The Mexican Service Medal was awarded for service in the
Mexico Excursion and Punitive Expedition Campaign. Corporal
was stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas at the time of the Pancho Villa Mexican
revolutionary invasion of New Mexico. He was still in the Artillery.
Corporal Crismon was deployed to patrol
the USA/Mexico border between Brownsville, Texas and El Paso. He served
under General Pershing.
The World War I Victory Medal was awarded for honorable service for active duty at any time between 6 April 1917 and 11 November 1918. Private Crismon was on the first boat load of United States soldiers to land in France. He departed the USA December 14, 1917. The war ended on June 18, 1919. Sergeant Crismon returned on August 4, 1919. The first to go - the last to leave. He recalled being pinned down in a field of turnips for days with nothing except raw turnips to eat. Surprisingly, he liked turnips in later life. However, he would not drink white wine, having become ill after a drinking binge in France. While in France he named his brother Herman's ex-wife his insurance beneficiary. He also had a monthly pay allotment sent to Sara Canoy to help support Herman's son, Earl Homer Crismon. An example of Pop's kindness and generosity.