OAK HARBOR, Wash. – Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Crossley at Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU) at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) is a determined and driven Sailor. He is also battling stage IV cancer.
Crossley has been battling an aggressive form of kidney cancer since his diagnosis in November 2015. For him, giving up the fight is not an option.
He has been eligible for advancement to chief petty officer (CPO) on five occasions. While going through treatments, Crossley gathered the strength to participate in the most recent advancement exam and became board eligible.
On Oct. 9, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven Giordano, there via video teleconference, designated Crossley an honorary CPO, with the help of the CPO Mess of CNATTU at Crossley’s home.
“Regardless of his physical condition, Petty Officer Crossley would still show up to work even after he was ordered to stay at home. He loves being a Sailor, a mentor, and most of all, an instructor,” said Chief Petty Officer (AW/SW) Ray Hass, assigned to CNATTU and Crossley’s leading chief petty officer.
Even after his diagnosis, Crossley’s commitment to training the fleet is apparent. He continued to perform his duties as a P-3C Avionics instructor for the next 10 months.
Crossley still continues to help others, even under immense physical pain. As his health weakened, operating a vehicle was no longer feasible. He selflessly donated his personal vehicle to a fellow 1st Class Petty Officer in need.
“He is truly committed to the mission and success of others around him. He fostered a competitive training environment that was needed to become a successful work center within Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer (retired) Eric Farrow, former work center supervisor at Patrol and Reconnaissance Squadron 46. “He advanced quickly and committed himself to help others with technical and professional study sessions.”
A native of Decatur, Alabama, Crossley entered the Navy in February 2003 and has had tours in Fallon, Nevada; San Diego, California, and multiple tours of duty at NASWI. He reported to CNATTU in February 2015.
Crossley’s family is his support system, providing whatever he needs during this difficult time.
“I’ve never met anyone as resilient as Aaron,” said his wife, Gina. “Despite it all, we remain optimistic.”