CUSHING — It took Warren Crawford a little more than four minutes to fall 10,000 feet. But it took him more than 70 years to keep his promise.
As Crawford's feet touched the Oklahoma soil in a field in Cushing, he immediately turned to wave at his family standing 20 yards away.
Four generations of Crawfords came to watch the 91-year-old fulfill his lifelong wish of going sky diving. His two sons, Bud, 68, and Steve, 59, accompanied their dad on his latest adventure.
“I only have so much time left,” said Crawford, of Oklahoma City. “I figured I might as well keep living and use the life I have left in a good manner.”
The Crawford men are from a family of thrill seekers — sheep hunting on the narrow mountain passages of Alaska, scuba diving in some tropical destination or going on a safari adventure through the plains of Africa — this family has seen and done just about everything.
But Warren said he never got to go sky diving because of a promise to his wife, and he would never break a promise to her.
“She told me I can't go sky diving because I couldn't die before her,” he said. “I didn't want to do anything to displease her, so I agreed.”
Warren served in the states during World War II as a bombardier for the U.S. Army Air Corps. Later he would go on to become a bombardier trainer.
Crawford speaks proudly of serving his country, explaining how the men he trained won contests for accuracy when it came to dropping bombs.
It was while training men that he first got the desire to go sky diving. He knew all the procedures for the proper way of evacuating a plane in case of an emergency, but his crew was so stellar that they never had to do it.
“There was no need to practice something that you were supposed to get perfect,” Crawford said. “We knew that if we had to practice jumping out then we probably were in trouble.”