Staff Sergeant Chris Crispino served in the U.S. Army for six years and completed four tours in Iraq on active duty. Mr. Crispino comes from a military family, with many family members having served in the military, including Mr. Crispino’s father fought in the Korean War. Mr. Crispino’s father received a very prestigious award called the Distinguished Service Cross, which is just below the medal of honor. While in his sophomore year at college. Mr. Crispino returned home to help his family and support them by joining the workforce. After his father passed away, Mr. Crispino thought a good way to honor his father was by joining the military. After he made his decision to join the Army, he called his best friend named Keith to inform him about his decision. Keith told Mr. Crispino that he wasn’t going to let him do it alone and that he would join him. They would eventually get deployed to Iraq together.
A career in the military allowed Mr. Crispino to travel throughout the country to places such as Florida, San Diego, Georgia, and Tennessee, as well as overseas to foreign countries such as Iraq. While in Iraq Mr. Crispino served as a personal security detail for a high-ranking Navy Admiral. His unit was tasked with protecting the Admiral while in a palace. Mr. Crispino described his experience as “scary” because of how his unit was always under indirect fire.
During our meeting, Mr. Crispino connected his social life in the military as a student would have in school. He said that “You have a group of friends, you all share a common interest. Some people go to the gym, some people play video games, and some people wait in line for a computer to talk to their family.” The ability to socialize with other soldiers led Mr. Crispino to make some new lifelong friends. He still keeps in touch with many of the soldiers he met while in Iraq. We discussed the level of diversity within both his unit as well as the military as a whole, and how you can find people from all over the country.
During Mr. Crispino's service, there were also religious services offered. Being a Catholic, he found that there were often times when he needed to turn to his faith to seek guidance from God. Mr. Crispino enjoyed the opportunity to be able to attend a type of church service on Sundays. The Chaplains provided many different religious services. Every week, there would be a different service, and it was a blessing that they offered Catholic services.
Over the course of Mr. Crispino's service, he received many care packages. He received a lot of things that soldiers could use during their deployment. A few of these items include wet wipes, Q-tips, magazines, and even puzzles. He would recommend that the contents of the care packages are things that remind soldiers of home, whether it be candy, chips, drinks, or even photos, notes, and posters.
While attending the memorial for one of his friends that was killed in Iraq, Mr. Crispino was getting ready to deploy for his fifth tour. However, he wanted to spend more time with his girlfriend and decided to leave the military. Together, they moved to Virginia for four years, where Mr. Crispino worked for the government, but ultimately decided to move back to the northeast to be closer to their families. After leaving Virginia, they spent the next six years in New York City. In 2019, Mr. Crispino received his graduate degree, and he and his wife moved to Ridgefield. Mr. Crispino met with the commander of the American Legion of Ridgefield and decided to join. Although only being there for a year, Mr. Crispino could tell that the community was very welcoming and friendly towards him and one another. One final topic brought up during our meeting was being careful talking to Veterans because you never know the experience that they had during their service. Fortunately, Mr. Crispino’s experience in the military was positive, but he brought to my attention that some other Veterans may not have had the best experience. However, he brought up that it isn’t just about what happens to you, but what you make of it. One word that he would use to describe his overall experiences both in and out of the military is Honor. Honor was Mr. Crispino’s influence to join the military, and the reason why he joined the American Legion, to listen and honor the stories of other Veterans in our community.