Colonel William "Crawford" Moon
Superintendent, Headmaster, Language Arts
SMA, 1950 - 1974

Deceased October 29, 2000

What SMA Means to Me
First Published in September 1996 SMAAA Newsletter

For all of us who lived and were teachers or staff people, until its closing in 1976, at Staunton Military Academy, it was our home.  No number of experiences since its closing can erase our memories of, our affection for, and our gratitude to all that made up Staunton Military Academy.

For decades SMA was the most prestigious military preparatory school in the world.  I have been able to observe personally that the entire program exceeded infinitely all others at its level, and so much so that it would not be possible to equate any other military prep schools with it.

Staunton's magnificent array of alumni attests to the substance of its program.  In every walk of life, SMA's graduates have excelled and continue to do so in government, business, entertainment, sports, and law.

Being associated for twenty-four years with all of the above has meant the world to me and sustains me every day of my life.

Colonel W. Crawford Moon

Col. Moon passed away early Sunday morning, October 29, 2000.  His son, Greg, said that they spent an enjoyable Saturday afternoon together watching the UVA vs. UNC game, and Col. Moon then felt poorly later on, passing away quietly in his sleep.  It was the end of an extended illness that had afflicted him since at least the previous January.

A memorial service took place on Wednesday, November 1, at Dellinger Funeral Chapel, 159 N. Main Street, in Woodstock.  Col. Moon's son, Greg, can be e-mailed at:

Voices in Memory

Col. Moon said that "Staunton's magnificent array of alumni attests to the substance of its program."  What he didn't say is that we are actually a reflection of its program, and it is the "magnificent array" of faculty and staff that gave SMA its substance.  Col. Moon served as a teacher, headmaster, and as a leader of teachers as one of SMA's proud succession of Superintendents, and as such, he helped not only to mold the character of SMA, but that of its cadets, as well.  His mark upon SMA history and upon those of us who were cadets during his near quarter-century tenure remains as his indelible legacy to the future.

Malcolm Kantzler, SMA '65

An infectious smile, a quick retort to any comment, and a mind like a steel trap--that's how I'll remember Col. Crawford Moon.  In today's jargon, we could say he was someone who truly had "unlimited bandwidth."

A true leader in his own right, he spent many years helping to make Col. Dey and SMA look good in the eyes of prospective cadets, cadets, alumni, parents and other external groups.  I was fortunate enough to be able to work with him my senior year when he served as our superintendent.  In reflection, the example he set for us makes it easy to understand how we often hold our faculty up as role models as we matured into adult life.

He is one for the ages.  We knew his heart was always with SMA, and now we can feel comfort that his soul rests with us too.

Tom Phillips
First Captain, SMA '74
President, SMA Alumni Association

I am so sorry to hear of Col. Moon's passing.  He was one of my SMA ideals as a teacher, leader and mentor.

I don't remember French verb tenses all that well, but I have always remembered one incident with the then Major Moon in French II class during my senior year ('55-'56).  It was cold in the Major's classroom and we all wore our blue half jackets during class to keep warm.  Major Moon, to spice up classroom participation, would launch a chalk filled eraser at any student cadet who obviously did not learn the overnight French verb lesson.  If struck, the white chalk dust was impossible to get out before lunch formation and a demerit was inevitable, and thus an hour on beat squad.  So, Major Moon had found a way to put real teeth in his overnight lessons.

Until one day Tom Luy and I arrived early and, both being tall, remarked on the high ceilings in the Major's classroom.  The brilliant thought struck us both at once, to find some tape and tape all the Major's erasers to the ceiling.  Given Major Moon's height, we were sure he could not get them down, or so we thought, and we would be saved from his accurate aim.

When the Major arrived for class, he was faced with a room full of smiling cadets and knew something was up.  Then he noticed the erasers taped to the ceiling and just laughed out loud, jumped on one of the desks in the front row and leaped up and brought the erasers down one by one.  Luy and I had failed to anticipate his jumping ability from the desktop.  The Major, looking directly at Luy and me, by far the tallest of the students, said he could tolerate student humor as long as it was creative and not tedious, so this little episode would go unpunished!  We proceeded with the French lesson and Luy and I were peppered with questions and hit repeatedly with the erasers, getting the usual demerits at lunch formation, laughing and joking with the Major about the incident often, thereafter.

Here was a fine man, with enthusiasm for teaching SMA cadets more than just what was in the book, and my clearest memory of him is a man of humor, wit and qualities one wanted to emulate.

William H. Taylor II, SMA '56

I had the good fortune, although unrecognized at the time, of having then Major Moon first introduce me to Spanish.  He also taught me much of sentence structure and basic English.  His teaching gave me an excellent foundation on which to build over the years.  I'm sure he impacted more than he ever realized on many.

W. Duke Myers, M.D., FACP
First Captain, SMA '60

I was thinking tonight that I can't remember seeing Col. Moon frown a single time during the four years I spent at SMA.  I remember heading across the asphalt to class and seeing Col. Moon coming in the distance, parting cadets as he went, with that twinkle in his eye and that infectious laugh.  You could try to go the other way, but he would eventually get you.  And you never really minded too much when he did, for he always had that slap on the back and encouraging word for you.  I just always seemed to feel better just being around him.

God speed Col. Moon.  You were a good friend and we were blessed by God to have you in our lives.  We will miss you.

John Carlon, SMA '69

I am very sorry to hear of Col. Moon's passing.  Col. Moon was Lt. Moon in my days at SMA (graduated in '55, spending 3 1/2 years there), and he was my mentor and confidant while I was there.  When I saw him a few years ago at a reunion, before introducing myself, I asked him if he remembered me, and to my utter amazement, he said, "Of course I do, you're Mike Brodey."  This was after an absence of about 40 years!

Whenever an opportunity comes up to say something in French, I always quote the only line of French I know and remember from my French class which he taught.  In attempting to give a class full of boys an example of reflective pronouns they would remember, he said, "Voulez vous couchez avec mois, s'il vous plait?"  Translation:  "Would you like to go to bed with me?"  That phrase stuck with me all my life and is an example of Col. Moon's warmth and humor.

You may remember that final exams represented 50% of our semester grade, and in my final year, whether or not I would graduate seemed to rest on the grade I got on the French final exam.  I believe I had a failing average of 67 going in and needed an exam grade of 73 to average out to a passing 70.  I got exactly that, but always wondered if he helped me with it a little, knowing how critical it was for me.  I guess I'll never know because I didn't ask, nor do I think he would have told me if I had.

In thumbing through my Shrapnel yearbooks, I see several pictures of him, some of which I took as school photographer.  Although he moved to another campus after SMA closed, I know his heart always remained at Staunton Military Academy.  I will always carry fond memories of him.

Mike Brodey, SMA '55

I had the pleasure and honor of working for Col. Moon as a teacher, Assistant Commandant of Cadets and Commandant of Cadets at SMA from 1969 to 1974.  This man, this quiet man, had honor, integrity, and a love of education and young people.  His legacy will be the hundreds of young men whose life he touched with his knowledge and advice.  Crawford was one of the true vital parts of the modern history of Staunton Military Academy.  His loss will be felt by all of us.

Capt. Edward (Ned) M. Bonfoey, Jr.

Colonel Moon was the first person I met at SMA when I visited the campus as a brand-new cadet.  He was one of the most courteous people I have ever met.  He was kind and friendly to this frightened 13-year-old boy, and I have never forgotten him for it.  I hope that God gives him as fine a greeting in heaven.

Tim Brosnan, SMA '76

Col Moon came to SMA during my time there '46-'51.  He and his wife Patty were very nice to a bunch of us cadets and we were always welcome at their home.  At first they lived in one of the houses just below the gates from the "asphalt" looking back up to North barracks.

Col. Moon had an easy way with young men, but I remember many bruises on my shoulders where he would pinch me and smile to get my attention.  He was a perfect example of the superior quality of personnel that was the standard at SMA.

John Nunn, SMA '51

Major Moon, as my class knew him, was a great inspiration to us.  I am so glad that my son had the chance a couple of years ago to meet a man that I respected and looked up to.

I can still remember "Major Moon" coming to our home in Pittsburgh to recruit me as a Staunton cadet.  He was a great influence on my life and will be missed, but surely not forgotten.  My condolences to his family on their great loss.

Parlez vous en Fracais Major Moon? "Oui"

Bruce W. Palmer, SMA '60

I was saddened to hear about the passing Col. Moon.

I had him for French III & IV and saw him regularly when he brought prospective parents and cadets around to the show rooms in Kable Hall.  Bob Parker and I had a room on the main floor during our junior year.

And, we all remembered his "Mr. Spock" grip on the shoulder.

Over the years, I have recalled with fondness my four years at SMA and the staff there.  Col. Moon stands out because he was respectful to me and yet challenged me at every occasion.  There is no doubt that many times during my career as a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer I called upon the learning experiences at SMA to deal with the trials and tribulations of the day.  And, many times I would recall the smiling face and laughter of Col. Moon.  I never ever saw him lose his temper or behave in any fashion that could be perceived as unprofessional; a personal characteristic that I have not seen equalled to this day.  I have tried to emulate his example throughout my life and to set a similar example for those young recruits who followed in my footsteps.  Col. Moon was truly an officer and a gentleman; someone to behold and to be very proud to have known.

I could tell where the lamp lighter was
by the trail he left behind him.

Harry Lauder

My most sincere condolences to his family.

Larry Lee Atkinson, SMA '67

I will miss Crawford.  I enjoyed seeing him attend so many reunions.

His personal integrity and faith have helped make me a better person.  He used to pinch the hell out of my shoulder or side and make a sound with his lips--remember?  But I still loved him--even while I was still at SMA!

I will always remember this incident:  I was a junior in Crawford's senior French class in 1967-68.  Crawford was then superintendent.  He once revealed, that when the commandant believed a cadet was involved in mischief but wasn't sure, the preferred interrogation technique was ask WHEN or WHY did you do it, not DID you do it?  I remembered this during my senior year, when facing solemn faced Cleveland, Richters, and Moon in the commandant's office, when they asked me, "WHY did you try to launch the parade field into orbit!?"  Of course, they were referring to some townies playing with fireworks, CERTAINLY NOT an inquisitive cadet who might have lifted a few items from the chem lab, mixed them and tested the results around midnight on the parade field!

Dave Pomeroy, SMA '69

When I think of Col. Moon, I remember how appreciative I was that he (and Bebo Dodge) gave me my start in education.  I can hardly believe it has been over thirty years now.

I will always remember Crawford's jovial, back-slapping demeanor.  It was always a joy to run into him.  I'll also remember him helping me with some French.  Crawford had been a French teacher and I was the new one.

What a fine man, indeed.  I am privileged to have known him.

John Cates, SMA Faculty
Language Arts, '69-'71

I'm sorry to hear of Col. Moon's passing.  He was a good hearted man who always had an encouraging word for the cadets, as well as a quick pinch to make sure you were paying attention!

When my parents and I went to the Academy for my initial interview, I chose that moment to tell him that I thought the whole military-school idea was crap, and that I didn't think it could do a thing for me.  He said, "I like a young man who's so honest.  Let's see if we can prove you wrong."

While my time there was not always a shining example, I did change for the better.

Thanks, Col. Moon.  Vaya con Dios.

Edward A. Newbegin, SMA '75

I am sorry to learn of Col. Moon's death.  I graduated SMA in 1973, so I do remember him and appreciate the attempt he made to keep the school going.

Peter Birckhead, SMA '73

I am very sorry to hear of Col. Moon's passing. I know I can't remember the names and personalities of all the great teachers we enjoyed while we attended SMA, but I guarantee you that if you were lucky enough to have had him as an instructor you never forgot him!!

He will be remembered and missed by all of us who were fortunate enough to have had him as a guiding light at such an important time in our lives.

My sympathy to his family.  They will be in my thoughts and prayers.

George F Dunigan II, SMA '64

Sorry to hear of Col. Moon's passing.  He was a good and well respected man.

Frank Wullenwaber, SMA '73
Company Commander, Delta Company

I sit in silence reading the obituary of one of the finest and most influential teachers and mentors I have ever known, and tears well up in the corners of my eyes... realization now hits that we are all moving down the road into our autumn years, when an invinsible soldier such as Major Moon (my memories) has reached his final destination.

I salute you, Sir, and offer a prayer to our Father in heaven on your behalf:  Engendrez, mon bon ami Moon que principale est maintenant avec vous.  Passez une certaine heure avec lui seigneur, et faites-le savoir de notre amour pour lui.

Grace and peace be with you, Sir.

Tom Cacy, SMA '63

Among the two best teachers and examples I met at SMA between '64 and '67 were Col. Moon and Coach Johnson.  I never had Col. Moon for any classes, but I knew who he was, and he knew who I was, because he seemed to find me doing something wrong (not bad things) most of the time.  He would correct you, and you had a feeling this guy was not joking around, because though a short man, he was stout, and you might think he would do you bodily harm if you didn't get to know him better.

I remember to this day he always had a smile when he spoke to you and corrected you.  That smile I will always remember.

I am glad to have known these two men and I will always have fond memories of them.

John Paul, SMA '67

Anyone desiring to add a remembrance to this page, please e-mail me.

Mal Kantzler, SMA '65

Thanks to Mark Orr, SMA '73 for scans of the pictures of Col. Moon.