James Wesley Crow was born in Gooding, a small town in rural Idaho. After graduating from Gooding High School Crow attended Gonzaga University and the University of Idaho. Once finished with school he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and became a bombardier for a B-17 Flying Fortress.
Lt Crow’s plane was shot down over Yugoslavia on July 16, 1944. Crow alongside the other crew members of the plane spent ten days behind enemy lines before a British spy who had disguised himself as a farmgirl led them to allied territory. At the time Crow was announced MIA by the army, but before the news reached Idaho he had managed to contact his wife to let her know to disregard it. However, the details of the rescue were kept secret.
Crow flew over 50 long-range missions over the Mediterranean, earning a Mediterranean Theatre Ribbon with six battle stars in the process. Other medals and awards given to Crow throughout his service included a Purple Heart, a Distinguished Flying Cross, and The Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters.
Once the war was over, Crow moved to Spokane, Washington where he started his own seed business, Crow and Company, and invented a new and improved seed sorting machine.