It’s time for Vicksburg to honor Brig. Gen. Crear

Published 9:53 pm Saturday, June 17, 2017

A few weeks ago, my friend, Karen Frederick, wrote me that she had visited a prominent display of Brig. Gen. Robert Crear in Hattiesburg and wondered why Vicksburg, his home, does not have and has never had any such display in his honor.

We seem to remember him, she said, as the embodiment of generally good things, but never as a real human being, and never for the real things he’s done.

I agree.

I told her we had extensive information on Crear at The Jacqueline House and that he was prominently featured on its website. I told her we accessed and referenced that material often for visitors to The Jacqueline House.

But the only personal honor ever given him that I knew was a group of prominent Vicksburg citizens who took him to dinner several decades ago.

And we ought to be ashamed!

Crear is repeatedly present for others, for retirements and learning initiatives; for speaking to civic groups; for the planning that brought Civil War re-enactors on horseback to Main Street in Vicksburg — but not for his incredible scientific and mathematical acumen; not for heroic exploits or rescue feats in the Middle East; not for his engineering expertise and consummate leadership on the Mississippi; not for an extensive interest in the Bauhaus origins of Tom and Lucy Money’s Vicksburg home; not for the friends he’s made and keeps and visits all over the world.

And so we are left with a distant figure; with a name more familiar than a face.

It is time now to correct this. His military awards and decorations alone include:

4the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster;

4the Bronze Star Medal;

4the Army Meritorious Service Medal with six oak leaf clusters;

4the Army Commendation Medal;

4the Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster;

4the Army Staff Identification Badge;

4Parachutist Badge;

4the 1999 Chief of Engineers and Secretary of the Army Award for Small Business Utilization;

4and the Silver de Fleury Medal for his outstanding support to the Engineer Regiment.

He was inducted into the Society of American Military Engineers Academy of Fellows in November 2002 and received the 2004 Black Engineer of the Year Award for Professional Achievement in Government.

So where is his statue here? His display? His key to the city? His place in the pages of this paper?

And who has done more to deserve them?

On our website a long time ago, we noted that though now retired, Vicksburg’s Brig. Gen. Robert Crear is forever “our stellar soldier.”

Over his time in service, he has amassed one of the most impressive military resumes we could ever imagine — from service in the flaming oil fields of Iraq to “owning” The Mississippi.

From being a descendant of the three black soldiers in the Vicksburg National Military Park to

… Hattiesburg though?

Why not here?

And home!

General Crear must be honored with a permanent, public display of his own, and it must be in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Yolande Robbins is a community correspondent for The Vicksburg Post. You may reach her at yolanderobbins@fastmail.com.