Crawford was born in Scranton, PA, a small town in the Northeastern United States. He would regularly go out hunting and camping with his uncle while he was an adolescent. He learned many survival techniques, such as creating snares and traps, skinning animals, and making fires with sticks. After high school, Crawford did not see a bright future, so he joined the Marines. He received basic weapon skills while in boot camp; he was medically discharged for mental health issues before he graduated. Wanting to help people, Crawford began to study to become a pediatric nurse. He came over as part of the group of 200 that wanted to study the disease.