When it comes to your coffee choice you have a plethora of options, however I think we can all agree not all coffee is made the same. The kind we produce goes above and beyond the call of duty of what coffee should do for it’s consumer, and this is why for each grind you will see a story of a person or battle that did the same – went above and beyond the expectation and made s*** happen. These events, and men and women have inspired us to make coffee that rises above the norm, and proves not all coffee is created equal.
This particular Nine Line Grind is dedicated to MOH recipient LTC Bruce Crandall, also known to his men as, “Old Snake” or “Snake,” short for his callsign “Ancient Serpent 6.”
On the morning of November 14, 1965 the then MAJ Crandall and his unit were taking soldiers to a landing zone with a now famous name, landing zone X-Ray. It began as routine transport until the troops in the area came under attack by a massive group of Northern Vietnamese fighters. While in the LZ three soldiers on the helicopter were killed and three others were wounded, instead of lifting off MAJ Crandall stayed to allow four wounded soldiers to be placed on the helicopter and taken to receive care. The mission of MAJ Crandall’s unit was not medical evacuation, that didn’t matter… he knew that there were Americans on the ground whom were low on ammunition and help, he returned to LZ X-Ray to pick up more wounded.
Their chopper was unarmed and ill prepared, they were receiving direct fire from all around and still managed to deliver supplies to the troops in desperate need and carried out more of the wounded. MAJ Crandall could have stopped there and he would have been considered a hero, instead, he returned to LZ X-Ray 14 times using three different choppers because two were damaged so severely during his many trips back to what was known as “the Valley of Death.” After the 14 flights that took 14 hours, MAJ Crandall and CPT Freeman managed to evacuate 70 wounded soldiers. Like many of the heroes we talk about and are inspired by, MAJ Crandall does not see himself as one, “There was never a consideration that we would not go into those landing zones. They were my people down there, and they trusted in me to come and get them.”
MAJ Crandall spent the rest of his time in Vietnam making more and more rescue flights, even serving a second tour. He retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel and received his medal on February 26, 2007 by President Bush. His wingman, Captain Freeman also received the medal of honor for volunteering to go with MAJ Crandall on July 16, 2001.