The U.S. Army Ordnance Corps inducted Colonel Ray Crocker (retired) of Philadelphia into the Ordnance Hall of Fame and presented Colleen Crocker the Ordnance Corps Keeper of the Flame Award on Nov. 9.

The Keeper of the Flame is an award that is presented to wives of Ordnance soldiers who support their husbands throughout their career.

Colleen Crocker provided support to Ray that allowed him to focus on the tasks that needed to be accomplished at his work.

Raising their three children, having to leave her friends and move to a new post or home several times, giving up jobs she really enjoyed and running the home are but a few of the ways she supported Ray, officials said.

Colleen also was active in the wives clubs, community organizations, chapels and local church everywhere they were stationed.

Ray indicated that without her he could not have accomplished half as much as he did.

The U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame was established in 1969, to recognize and memorialize persons who have made positive and significant contributions to the US Army Ordnance Corps.

Inductees include five Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, the inventor of the Gatling gun, the "Father of US Rocketry" and J.M Browning who is responsible for the small arms superiority enjoyed by the US today.

Col. Crocker is the first Army National Guard (ARNG) inductee and one of only 391 individuals who have received this high award.

Col. Crocker was nominated for this award when he retired in 1998 by Lieutenant General Edward D. Baca former Chief of the National Guard Bureau. Col. Crocker's career spanned 34 years with 22 1/2 years on Active Duty.

Col. Crocker was nominated for this award because of his untiring dedication to providing the best support possible to Soldiers in the Army National Guard and the US Army.

Col. Crocker's service began when he enlisted into the Mississippi Army National Guard (MSARNG) in 1964.

After completing Basic Training at Ft. Polk, La. and Advance Individual Training at Ft. Hood, Texas, Col. Crocker went to Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the MSARNG.

Col. Crocker served in different capacities in the MSARNG until he went on Active Duty in 1979.

He attended the Ordnance Officers Advance Course in 1979 and remained on Active Duty until he retired in 1998.

His assignments included Readiness Officer for the ARNG (Pentagon), ARNG Logistics Advisor to the US Forces Command (Atlanta, GA), ARNG Advisor to US Army Tank Automotive Command (Warren, MI), Industrial College of the Armed Forces (Washington, DC), Advisor to the US Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (Pentagon), Director of ARNG Logistics (Pentagon), Director of the ARNG's Installations, Logistics and Environment Directorate (Arlington Hall Station, VA) and Deputy Director of the ARNG for Support (Arlington Hall Station, VA) where he served until his retirement.

During all of his assignments Col. Crocker was focused on providing the best support possible to all Soldiers.

He was responsible for procuring and issuing tactical automation to all ARNG units which allowed the units personnel to be trained before being activated for conflicts in South West Asia.

His staff also developed many new initiatives, like Controlled Humidity Preservation storage, that has saved the ARNG and Army billions of dollars since its fielding by reducing maintenance cost and preservation of critical Army equipment.

Col. Crocker never sanctioned buying old technology for ARNG Units.

His focus was always on procuring future weapon systems and the support it took to sustain them.

He knew that as long as the ARNG accepted older systems, it would never be included as a full partner in the US Army.

He worked closely with his counterparts on the Department of the Army staff and in many cases used ARNG money to procure and issue new systems to the ARNG before Active units received the new equipment.

Col. Crocker's guidance to his staff was "it only cost ten cents more to go first class and if we are not concerned about who gets the credit for good actions, we can get a lot more done."

This mindset changed the way actions were handled in his organization.

He told his staff "if we fail it's my fault, if we succeed, it's your fault" and mandated that they provide first class support to soldiers and always insured they received complete credit for their successes.

Col. Crocker's other awards include Legion of Merits (1 OLC), Department of the Army Staff Badge, Meritorious Service Medal (5 OLC), Army Commendation Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (2 OLC), National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Service Ribbon and many awards from Mississippi and almost every state.

Col. Crocker also was awarded the Ordnance Corps Samuel Sharp Award, the Field Artillery's Order of St. Barber Award, and inducted into the MSARNG's Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.

Col. Crocker and his wife Colleen returned to their home in the East Neshoba community when they retired.