Robert James Craig

Robert James Craig, LT USN, died on 19 August 1963, when the purchase cable snapped at nearly full run-out after touchdown of his F-4B aboard the carrier USS Constellation, after a normal intercept mission.  The F-4 went off the angle and into the ocean.  His body and that of his backseater were not recovered.


Bob was born on 17 F ebruary 1932 and completed the combination John Muir High School/Junior College in 1950 in Altadena, California, where he participated in football and track.  Bob enlisted in the Navy, went to NAPS, and entered the Academy in the 20th company.  After graduation, Robert attended flight schools at Pensacola and Beeville, Texas.  While at Pensacola, Bob played football for the Goshawks base team.  From there, he went to ordinance school, then on to two Air Groups.  In 1962, VF-53 was re-designated VF-143, with his assignment to the F4B aircraft.


Robert married Elaine Krolczyk of Baltimore on 2 June 1956.  Elaine was a nurse at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore.  At the time of Bob’s death, his wife was pregnant with their sixth child.  Elaine later married Robert Warner, a Navy widower with five children, about 1970.  Mr. Warner passed away in 2005.  Elaine is still living in San Diego, as are Bob and Elaine’s children; Kathleen Altomare, Diana Merrick, Bruce, Jeffrey, Steven, and Robin Downey who is a Commander in the Navy Reserves.  There are also six grandchildren.  Bob will be remembered for his Navy football abilities, for being on the winning Sugar Bowl team on New Year’s Day 1955, and for his time as a dutiful team goat keeper.