John Warren McCraw
November 27, 1943 – February 5, 2021
John Warren McCraw passed away at his Mission Viejo home on February 5, 2021 after a two-year-long battle from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 77 years old.
John was born on November 27, 1943, in South Texas to Olan and Bertha McCraw.
In 1962, John graduated from Raymondville High School in Raymondville, Texas. He married his high school sweetheart, Katherine “Kay” Ann Crowell, on February 13, 1965.
Following high school John entered the United States Army Air Force in January 1964. He went on to graduate from Warrant Officers Candidate School in Fort Rucker, Alabama where he trained as a cargo/combat pilot.
John flew over 700 missions in an Army Caribou cargo plane providing essential supplies to the troops in the jungles of Vietnam. For one of those missions the Army awarded John the Distinguished Flying Cross for a flight through heavy enemy fire in December 1965 which prevented an attack on a Special Forces camp.
For his more than four years of service, the Army awarded John the following additional medals and badges:
- Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters awarded for heroic or meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight
- Army Commendation Medal awarded to those who have served with the U.S. Army and have demonstrated heroism, meritorious achievements or meritorious service
- National Defense Service Medal awarded to every member of the U.S. Armed Forces who served during periods of armed conflict or National emergency from 1950 to the present
- Vietnam Service Medal awarded to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces who served in Vietnam after July 3, 1965 through March 28, 1973
- Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal awarded to those who served in the Vietnam War for at least 6 months
- Army Aviator Badge awarded for the completion of training and demonstrated proficiency in aviation
In 1968, following his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, Western Airlines hired John as a 727/737 Los Angeles-based airline co-pilot. His commercial aviation career spanned over 30 years and he retired in 2000 as one of the most senior 757/767 Delta Airlines Captains.
John lived in Southern California with his wife, Kay, of 53 years, where they raised their three daughters.
John is survived by his daughter, Misty and son-in-law Jim Schulte; daughter Tracy and son-in-law Ken Whitney; daughter Nicole and son-in-law Jay Raftery; seven grandchildren; Brooke, Heather and Steven Schulte; John and David Whitney; London and Logan Raftery; brother-in-law Foster and sister-in-law Annette Crowell; sister-in-law Jenie McCraw; three nieces, Joy Hayworth, Bethany McCraw and Tiffany Hull; three nephews; Derrick Richardson, Rick Richardson and David McCraw.
John is preceded in death by his wife Kay, his mother Bertha, his father Olan, grandson Graham Whitney, sister Joyce Richardson, brother Olan McCraw Jr., and brother-in-law Nolan Richardson.
John and his wife Kay were inurned together at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego on Friday, April 23, 2021 at 1:00pm. John Warren McCraw was recognized with full military honors.