Where we live

Michael Holahan/Staff
Staff Sgt. Douglas Crutchley Jr. raises Gavin (clockwise from left), 6; Abigale, 13; Brianna, 15; Olivia, 3; and Douglas III, 18 months.

Not all the Army's heroes are stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Some, including Staff Sgt. Douglas Crutchley Jr., are at Fort Gordon.


Staff Sgt. Crutchley, who has won several awards during his service, is a satellite communications instructor. He is working on a college degree while raising his five children.

And he's doing it alone. His wife, Michelle, is also a soldier and has been stationed in Iraq since last year.

She's not expected to return until early next year.

"Pretty much right now I'm so busy I don't have time to think about everything I'm doing. It's just go go go," Staff Sgt. Crutchley said.

"My typical day, I get up at 4:30 in the morning," he said. That's when he goes to the required physical training, which usually means running a few miles and doing pushups. Then it's back home to get the kids fed, dressed and off to school or day care.

He works until 5 p.m. Next, he heads home and gets the kids fed, bathed and off to bed. Finally, he squeezes in a little time for his college coursework before catching some sleep and starting the whole process over a few hours later.

"If I start actually thinking about everything I'm doing, it kind of starts bringing me down and I'm like 'Wow, I really am doing a lot. How am I going to do all this?'"

Staff Sgt. Crutchley, 27, joined the Army seven years ago and was stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea, where he met Michelle.

"I can't imagine what my wife is going through right now," he said.

She was deployed to Iraq less than a year after the birth of their youngest child, Douglas III, who is now 18 months old.

"She left a month before Dougy's first birthday and now she's going to miss his second birthday as well," he said. "She feels like she's totally lost touch with him. It's really rough for her."

Despite the hectic days and separation from his wife, Staff Sgt. Crutchley says he loves being a soldier.

"I'm proud of what I do," he said.

"Basically at this point in my life, I'm pretty much willing to stay in the Army until they tell me 'Look, you're too old, get out.'"