Robert MacArthur Crawford (July 27, 1899 – March 12, 1961) is known for writing The U.S. Air Force song. He was born in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada, July 27, 1899, to Ronald Marcus and Mabel MacArthur Crawford and spent his childhood in Fairbanks, Alaska. During World War I he attempted to become a pilot in the United States Army Air Service but was dismissed when he was discovered to be underage. He attended the Case Scientific Institute, where he joined the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Crawford then enrolled in Princeton University, and graduated in 1925. He later studied and taught at the Juilliard School of Music. Crawford learned how to fly an airplane in 1923. He flew himself around the United States in a small plane to concerts, where he was introduced as “The Flying Baritone.” Crawford married Hester Morgan Keen and had 3 children.
Liberty magazine sponsored a contest in 1938 for a musical composition that would become the official song of the U.S. Army Air Corps. Out of 757 submissions, Crawford’s was chosen as the winner. Originally, the song was titled “Army Air Corps.” Crawford wrote both the lyrics and music. During World War II, the service was renamed “Army Air Force,” and the song title changed to agree. During the war, Crawford flew for the Air Transport Command of the U.S. Army Air Forces. In 1947, when the Air Force became a separate service, the song became the “Air Force Song,” and is the official song of the United States Air Force. That same year, Crawford joined the University of Miami’s music faculty. He remained there for ten years, until he left to focus on composing. He passed away on Mar. 12, 1961, in New York City, NY, at the age of 61.
The following work by Robert M. Crawford is contained in my collection:
(Off We Go into the) Wild Blue Yonder (“Air Force Song,” the official song of the United States Air Force).