Air Force Academy cadets passed an old janitor every day and barely noticed him. The older man was quiet and kept to himself, and the young go-getters' dreams were too big to make them slow down and notice the 'little people.’ Then one cadet opened a book and read something that made his jaw drop: that janitor was a World War II hero.
James Moschgat barely paid attention to 'Old Grandpa,' the janitor who haunted the halls of the military academy. Then he came across a book one day and read about a man named Private William Crawford.
“Pvt. Crawford, without orders and on his own initiative, moved over the hill under enemy fire to a point within a few yards of the gun emplacement and single-handedly destroyed the machine gun and killed 3 of the crew with a hand grenade, thus enabling his platoon to continue its advance. When the platoon, after reaching the crest, was once more delayed by enemy fire, Pvt. Crawford again, in the face of intense fire, advanced directly to the front midway between 2 hostile machine gun nests located on a higher terrace and emplaced in a small ravine,” the book read.
Moschgat was fascinated by the story when it hit him: 'Old Grandpa's' real name was Bill Crawford.
“You’re not going to believe this, but I think our janitor is a Medal of Honor winner,” Moschgat told his roommate. The two took the book to Old Grandpa and confronted him with the story.
“He stared at it for a few silent moments and then quietly uttered something like, ‘Yep, that’s me'," said Moschgat. “Mouths agape, my roommate and I looked at one another, then at the book, and quickly back at our janitor. Almost at once we both stuttered, ‘Why didn’t you ever tell us about it'?"
“That was one day in my life and it happened a long time ago,” Crawford said, who won the Medal of Honor for his actions that day.
Needless to say, the young men had a whole new respect for Old Grandpa. As the old saying goes: don't judge a book by its cover.