Father and sons proudly serving together in the Missouri National Guard

By Spc. Christopher Saunders | Missouri National Guard | June 20, 2020

Missouri National Guard — JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Larry Crowder and his sons Tim and Chris share a special bond by serving together in the Missouri National Guard.
 
Lt. Col. Larry Crowder, Deputy G1 for the Missouri National Guard, joined the military in 1992, will retire in August. He said he walked into the recruiting office at the age of 29 and said, “I want to join your organization.” This was no easy feat considering he already had three young sons.

He found the time commitment of getting through basic training, Advanced Individual Training then later, Officer Candidate School, was challenging for his family. Larry said, “Any hardships my family experienced from me being in the Guard has only made us stronger.”

After graduating from OCS, Larry said he felt more refined as a person and leader. He also discovered unexpected benefits by being a member of the Guard. “My employers tended to look up to me a little more, were very respectful of my service and were proud to have a Guardsman on their team,” he said.

 Larry eventually became a full-time Guardsman, which provided even more benefits such as healthcare and retirement benefits.

As his boys grew up, Larry always promised himself he would not try to influence their decision to join the military, he wanted it to be their choice, but said he couldn’t help feeling proud when his sons decided to join the Guard.

Spc. Tim Crowder, 35th Infantry Division, joined the Guard in 2006. He said, “My father, grandfather and great grandfather were in so I thought, why not?” Tim said before he joined the Guard, he wasn’t always known as a punctual person, but the military gave him the structure he needed to develop new habits.

In 2017, Tim and his dad deployed to Kuwait together. Tim said having his dad there made the deployment less of a hardship. As the battalion commander, Larry said he benefited from his son’s added perspective during the deployment. For example, there were some issues with living conditions on the enlisted Soldier side. Larry said that because of Tim, these issues were brought to his attention sooner rather than later and corrected.”

Larry’s other son 1st Lt. Chris Crowder, G1 Mobilization officer for the Missouri National Guard, joined the Guard in 2009. Chris initially enlisted as an Avionic Mechanic, and then decided to become an officer in 2015. He said their dad raised them the same way he led his troops, with structure and patience, so when he joined the Guard, he was like, ‘oh this seems really familiar’. “I felt like I had the pre-training to the training,” Chris said.

He also explained that when he was a kid he didn’t often understand his dad’s commitment to the Guard. As he got older, he came to understand that he not only had his own family, but he also had his Guard family for added support. His dad often housed fellow Guardsmen during drill. On one occasion when his parents had to be gone for several weeks, he and his brothers stayed with a member of their Guard family.

Chris said, “I know that as an Officer if I’m struggling with something, I can give him a call and bounce something off of him. He’s someone who can truly understand any dilemma I might be facing,”

Larry said one of the neatest things about all three of them being in the Missouri National Guard is that they have that shared experience and understanding. “I’m proud of my sons’ achievements, but I’m way more proud of what they’ve accomplished to get there,” said Larry.