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Local officer killed in Iraq

Grand Island man taught ROTC at Canisius College

News Staff Reporter
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Lt. Col. Terrence Crowe, 44, was training Iraqis near the Syrian border.


An Army Reserve officer from Grand Island who taught at Canisius College is the latest Western New York soldier to die in Iraq.

Lt. Col. Terrence K. Crowe, 44, a member of the 98th Division, was killed by hostile fire Tuesday morning during an offensive in the city of Tal Afar, near the Syrian border, Army officials confirmed Wednesday.

He was among the highest-ranking officers to die in the Iraq War and the 19th Western New York soldier to die in Iraq or Afghanistan since the fall of 2001.

Crowe was part of the Military Transition Team, which mentors and assists new Iraqi security forces, said Maj. James Lincoln, a spokesman for the 98th Division.

"They were in Tal Afar looking for insurgents when the attack took place," Lincoln said. "He was there as a trainer, an adviser."

Training was a duty suited for Crowe.

He was an assistant professor of military science with the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or ROTC, at Canisius College before being deployed to Iraq in October.

Crowe, a wiry man of average height, was outspoken and direct, as Canisius cadets well know.

"Nobody ever had any doubts of what he thought of them," said Lt. Col. James D. Bagwell, commander of the Golden Griffin Brigade at Canisius.

"He was very dynamic and energetic, particularly with cadets. He didn't hesitate to let them know if they weren't meeting his expectations."

At Canisius, Crowe instructed cadets in the junior class and focused on preparing them for the rigorous summer training at Fort Lewis, Wash. Last year, Canisius cadets excelled at Fort Lewis, performing above the national average, Bagwell said.

"Their performance was a reflection of their training he gave them," Bagwell said. Before taking the job at Canisius a few years ago, Crowe worked as a carpenter for a North Tonawanda construction firm. His former boss called him an "artist" in the trade.

"He always wanted to make a difference, give people something more than they were asking for," said Tom Arida, Crowe's former boss. "He was that way here, and it was the same in the military. He wanted to give something back."

Crowe's career in the active Army, the National Guard and the Reserve spanned 17 years.

He graduated from Niagara University, where he earned his Army commission as a second lieutenant. He was on active duty from 1982 to 1992, serving with the 2nd Armored Division in Germany and Fort Hood, Texas.

Crowe recently returned home on leave and watched the newest Canisius cadets earn their commissions, Bagwell said.

"He really wasn't one to get into a lot of philosophizing or give an opinion about what he was doing (in Iraq)," Bagwell said. "He was a military person who knew his role. He stepped up to do the duty he was asked to do."

Crowe has two children - a daughter, who graduates from high school this year, and an older son, Bagwell said.

He is the fourth soldier from the Rochester-based 98th Division to die in Iraq and its second casualty from the Buffalo area. Staff Sgt. Christopher W. Dill, a Buffalo firefighter with the division, was fatally shot in April.