Kenneth E. Crosby, Jr., 61, of Montclair, was a retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot who served in Operation Desert Storm and then as commanding officer of the Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico during his 24-year military career.
Crosby worked at the Pentagon as a government service analyst for the Joint Chiefs of Staff until he was killed last week in the March 18 wrong-way crash on the Interstate 95 Express Lanes.
Crosby’s obituary, first published here, is printed below:
Lt. Col. Kenneth E. Crosby, Jr., USMC (retired), was tragically taken from his current duty assignment on March 18, 2021. He was 61 years old although he would have emphatically told you that most of those were dog years.
He leaves behind his lovely and vivacious wife Shari Crosby; daughter Lauren Nicole Koontz (Ryan Koontz); mother Joann Crosby; sister Kim Day (Don Scovill); brother and co-conspirator Joe Crosby; and the newest member of the clan, his pride and joy, grandson Ethan Crosby Koontz.
Ken was also especially fond of the family's golden retriever Liberty, although he was extremely critical of her hunting skills.
Ken attended Bellevue Senior High School in Bellevue, Nebraska, and while a modest student he was an exceptional athlete, lettering in football and baseball, and received many scholarship offers his senior year.
He attended the University of South Florida and played baseball for Hall of Famer Robin Roberts. Ken graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral sciences. He would later receive a master’s degree in public administration from Troy State University.
He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1981 via the Officer Candidates Course with an aviation contract. Following his commissioning as a 2nd lieutenant, he attended The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico and subsequently attended flight school in Florida, earning his wings as a Naval Aviator in 1983.
Designated an AH-1 "Cobra" helicopter pilot, his initial squadron was the North Carolina based HMLA-269, "Gunrunners," and in the exceptionally clever tradition for which Marines are known, he was given the call sign, "Bing."
Before retiring from the Marine Corps, Crosby had the reputation and credentials of an excellent pilot to include a tour at flight school where he allowed fledgling aviators to scare the dickens out of him on a regular basis.
He had boots on the ground in Operation Desert Storm as a member of an Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) and was recognized with a Bronze Star medal for his performance during that conflict.
A local resident for more than 20 years, Ken witnessed the plane hitting the pentagon on 9-11 from the parking lot and immediately offered help, providing rides home to those stranded by the tragedy. His last assignment was as the commanding officer of the Marine Corps Air Facility at Quantico, where he was responsible for providing presidential helicopter support to HMX-1. Ken was widely known as an outstanding officer and summed up his career by saying that he did not always love the Corps but he always loved his Marines. Those men and women that worked for and with him over his 24+ years in uniform would say that he was smart, hard-working, and an exceptional leader.
Following retirement from his beloved "Leatherneck Gun Club," Ken found himself back at the Pentagon working on the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a senior government service (GS) analyst. It was this second career and his daily interaction with senior Air Force, Army and Navy officers that prompted him to develop an affinity for brown liquors and good cigars, which he referred to as being "strictly medicinal" in nature.
Ken took unique pleasure in the game of golf despite being known among his golf buddies as "Shankapotamus." Rarely was the weather so bad that he could not get out for a round even though it often had his astute wife referring to his associates as the "biggest idiots she knew." His hole-in-one on the 13th hole at Forest Greens on Sept. 5, 2011, was perhaps his finest moment as a golfer and more than made up for the three triple bogies he suffered that day. Ken Crosby is considered by a community, a neighborhood, and a diverse cadre of individuals who were blessed to know him as a friend. He was fiercely loyal, honest, humorous, dependable, and a man of faith. He will also be remembered as someone who absolutely adored his wife, Shari and his daughter, Lauren. Until the birth of his grandson Ethan last year, they were the single greatest source of joy and inspiration in his life. He will be missed.
The family will receive friends from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 28, 2021 at Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home, 4143 Dale Blvd., Dale City. A Life Celebration service will begin at 11 a.m., Monday, March 29, 2021 at Mount Ararat Baptist Church, 1112 Garrisonville Road, Stafford, Virginia, 22556.
Inurnment to follow at Quantico National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, tributes to a life well lived can be made in Ken's name to causes that he and Shari supported and believe in, including; The Make a Wish Foundation (wish.org), the American Red Cross (redcross.org), or Wounded Warrior Project (woundedwarriorproject.org). www.mountcastle.netwww.mountcastle.net