Name: Colonel (Ret.) Kelley Crooks
Hometown: Born at Castle Air Force Base, California, but consider Columbus my hometown
Current city: San Antonio, Texas
Graduation year(s): 1978 (BA, OSU); 1984 (MS, U of Southern Miss); 2000 (MA, Air University)
College(s): The Ohio State University (BA); University of Southern Mississippi (MS); US Air Force Air University (MA)
Major(s): BA, Communications; MS, Teleprocessing Science; MA, Strategic Military Operations
Extracurricular activities: Warner Qube TV intern, voter registration activities, TKE Associate
What can you say about the servicemen and women who keep America safe?
I salute each and every one of them! You can train anyone to fire a weapon, or fly a plane, or steer a ship, but what you can't train is the deep love for this country that drives our volunteer military men and women to step forward and vow, "Not on my watch!" Those who don the uniform of our U.S. military sacrifice to guard not just the people, but America the nation--our sovereignty and our liberty, and they allow us the freedom to grow "in order to form a more perfect Union." I'm proud to have served with so many patriots during my military career--they are the best of the best-- and I just hope we as a nation can maintain the ideals of the Constitution that make this country great!
Tell us about Military City USA Radio and how can alumni tune in?
Military City USA radio is about all things military in San Antonio, Texas and is intended to inform and educate the program listeners about the diversity and importance of the over 200 military missions and the men and women who command them. Mark Frye (OSU alumni) interviews key representatives of the military, the surrounding community, and the civic organizations that support the military in San Antonio. Some of the programs focus on specific events--for example, the 100th Anniversary of Military Aviation or the 40th Annual Celebrate America’s Military. In addition to mission-focused programs, they produce shows featuring military history or military career fields (fighter pilots, doctors, historians and intelligence gatherers for instance). While the radio program is broadcast live in San Antonio, it can be listened to online at www.militarycityusaradio.com.
You worked in the Clinton White House as Presidential Response Officer. What was that experience like?
Many people don't know that the White House Communications Agency, a DoD organization, provides nearly all of the communications and audiovisual support to the President, the White House Staff, and the Secret Service. Like any other job, it had its ups and downs. I was able to meet people in Hollywood, DC, or overseas that others normally don't meet, and watch national events unfold from a unique perspective. On the other hand, as one might surmise, there were additional issues to deal with during that Administration. But all in all, I wouldn't trade the experience and all the funny stories for anything.
What is the value of freedom in your view?
Freedom is the foundation of American success. Nations around the world try but may never be able to emulate what we have here. Our combination of natural resources, independence, diversity, entrepreneurial spirit, the liberty to seek all possible opportunities and the willingness of our people, through our military, to fight for our freedom is unique.
What does Ohio State mean to you?
Because I moved so much as a kid and as a Serviceman (17 different states, 24 moves), I've considered Ohio State to be my one constant. OSU has been a home away from home, providing stability and a sense of belonging no matter where life took me. Whether in Hawaii, Alaska, or in Baghdad, I always knew that there was a fellow Buckeye not far away and all I had to do was yell "OH-" fully expecting an echoing "-IO" to soon follow. To me, "OH-" "-IO", "Go Bucks" is something akin to the Marines "Semper Fidelis"-- Ever Faithful.
What was your most memorable moment at Ohio State?
I have two. First is squeezing into the old South stand seats at the "Shoe" with my older brothers, also OSU alumni, cheering for "our" Buckeyes with unyielding dedication. The second is working for the innovative Warner QUBE cable TV company as an OSU intern. I was in consumer affairs and did some undercover work on a national scam resulted in my being interviewed by NBC TV.
Who was one of your favorite faculty members?
Military History, Allen Mallett. To me, Mr Mallett and Woody Hayes were two great military historians. Mr Mallett would explain strategy and tactics like Sun Tzu from Monday through Friday, and then I'd watch how General Woody "Patton" Hayes would put those principles to work on Saturdays during the "Ten Year War" with Bo.
What was your favorite campus hangout and why?
I wasn't much of a "hangout" person, didn't drink much. I held a variety of jobs, and liked to play sports, or walk the Oval. But when my brothers and friends got me out, we normally went to the Varsity Club or one of the local pubs.