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    Oklahoma Army National Guard honors former member

    Oklahoma Army National Guard honors former member

    Photo By Lt. Col. Lindy White | Friends and former coworkers of Chief Warrant Officer 5 Robert J. Crabtree stand...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Geoff Legler 

    Oklahoma National Guard

    LAWTON, Okla. – The Oklahoma Army National Guard has dedicated one of their maintenance facilities in honor of a former member who served in their ranks for more than 40 years.
    Chief Warrant Officer 5 Robert J. Crabtree was posthumously honored on May 5 when the Oklahoma Army National Guard renamed Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site (MATES) 72, located Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in his honor.
    Crabtree enlisted in the Oklahoma Army National Guard, in November 1955, while still in high school. He began his military career as an automotive mechanics helper in the 700th Ordnance Battalion of the Oklahoma Army National Guard in Lawton, Oklahoma. After a year and a half of service, his civilian employment took him out of state and he transferred to the Army Reserve for six months.
    Upon returning to Oklahoma, Crabtree rejoined the 700th Ordnance Battalion and worked his way up to unit motor sergeant and was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant on March 1, 1967. Circumstances again required him to transfer to the Army Reserve for a period of four months.
    Upon transferring back to the 700th Support Battalion, Crabtree was assigned as an automotive repairman and, in November 1967, went to work as a full-time employee of the Oklahoma National Guard. His unit reorganized in 1968 to become the 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery, 45th Field Artillery Brigade. Crabtree was reassigned to the administration field as the Administration/Supply Technician for Service Battery, 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery, and was promoted to the rank of first sergeant in May, 1972.
    On July 10, 1974, Crabtree took the position of organization maintenance shop chief at Organizational Maintenance Shop (OMS) 7. With the new position came the opportunity to receive a warrant officer commission. He made an application for warrant officer and was approved with a direct appointment to chief warrant officer 2 in July, 1974. Crabtree attained the rank of chief warrant officer 3 in July 1980 and chief warrant officer 4 in September 1987.
    He remained as the OMS 7 shop chief for the 158th Field Artillery until October 1, 1989, when he was promoted to shop foreman for the Mobilization and Training Equipment Site (MATES) 72 located on Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and remained in that position until his retirement in 1999.
    As the MATES shop foreman, Crabtree concurrently served at the 45th Field Artillery Brigade Headquarters and later was reassigned to serve at State Area Command (STARC) Headquarters. He was promoted to the rank of chief warrant officer 5 on June 30, 1995, making Crabtree one of the first in the history of the Oklahoma Army National Guard to attain the rank of chief warrant officer 5. Crabtree was honorably medically separated and retired on January 20, 1999.
    Don Epperson and Les Blalock were both members of the 158th Field Artillery with Crabtree, and both men attended the building dedication.
    When asked what they remember most about Crabtree, Epperson said, “He treated everyone from a private all the way up to a general with respect and dignity.” Blalock added, “You won’t find a single person who knew Robert Crabtree that has a bad thing to say about him.”
    After his retirement, Crabtree continued to serve as a mentor to those still in uniform. He would freely and unselfishly offer advice and assistance when called upon. Crabtree was very active in his community and church. He was a member of his community’s volunteer fire department and enjoyed taking care of his grandkids, great grandkids, his cattle and gathering at the local coffee café with his friends to share stories and plan community events.
    Crabtree passed away on July 3, 2014, from cancer. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, two sons and daughter-in-law, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.



    Date Taken: 05.24.2018
    Date Posted: 05.24.2018 17:43
    Story ID: 278392
    Location: LAWTON, OK, US 
    Hometown: FORT SILL, OK, US
    Hometown: LAWTON, OK, US

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