Bantz John Craddock
Engagements: • Gulf War (1990 - 1991)• Kosovo War (1998 - 1999)
Bantz John Craddock
Bantz John Craddock was born on 24 August 1949 and was raised in Doddridge County, WV. He graduated from Doddridge County High School in 1967. As a member of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program, Craddock was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Armor upon his graduation from West Virginia University in 1971. His initial tour of duty was with the 3rd Armored Division in Germany, followed by an assignment at Fort Knox, KY, as an Armor Test Officer for the U.S. Army Armor and Engineer Board. After completion of the Armor Officer Advanced Course, he was again assigned to the 3rd Armored Division, commanding a tank company in the 1st Battalion, 32nd Armor Regiment.
In September 1981, Craddock was reassigned to the Office of the Program Manager, Abrams Tank Systems in Warren, MI, as a Systems Analyst and later as Program Executive Officer. After graduation from the Command and General Staff College, Craddock joined the 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized) in Germany, serving as the Executive Officer of the 4th Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment for two years. He was subsequently reassigned to the Division Headquarters as the Deputy G-3, Operations.
In May 1989, Craddock assumed command of the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Stewart, GA. He commanded the Tuskers for 26 months, deploying to Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Following that command, Craddock was the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, Operations, for the 24th Division. Subsequently, he attended the U.S. Army War College, graduating in 1993. Craddock then assumed command of the 194th Armored Brigade (Separate) at Fort Knox. In June 1995, Craddock inactivated the Brigade as part of the U.S. Army's post-cold war drawdown, and was assigned as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, for III Corps at Fort Hood, TX.
In 1996, Craddock was reassigned to the Joint Staff in the Pentagon as an Assistant Deputy Director in J-5. In August 1998, he joined the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) in Germany as the Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver. While serving in that capacity, Craddock was designated as Commander of U.S. Forces for the initial entry operation into Kosovo. In August 1999, Craddock was reassigned as the Commanding General of the 7th Army Training Command, U.S. Army Europe. In September 2000, Craddock assumed command of the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) - the "Big Red One." From August 2002-04, Craddock served as the Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense.
Craddock served as Combatant Commander of U.S. Southern Command from 9 November 2004 until 7 December 2006. On 14 July 2006, NATO announced that, when his term as COCOM of the U.S. Southern Command expired, Craddock would succeed James L. Jones as Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), as well as the commanding officer of Allied Command Operations (ACO) - NATO's top commander of operations in Europe. The change-of-command ceremony at Mons, Belgium, occurred on 7 December 2006 and Craddock served until 30 June 2009.
Craddock defended the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention camp against criticism. While overseeing Guantanamo, he blocked attempts to get a commander of the camp reprimanded over abuse claims. Craddock insisted that the officer had done nothing wrong.
On 28 January 2009, Der Spiegel reported obtaining a classified NATO document in which Craddock ordered troops to kill drug traffickers and bomb narcotics laboratories in Afghanistan; even if there is no evidence that they are involved in terrorist activities.
General Bantz John Craddock retired from active Army service in 2009.
Medals, Awards & Badges
Defense Distinguished Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Craddock has been honored of the following associations:
United States Armor Association - Order of Saint George
National Infantry Association - Order of Saint Maurice Legionnaire
Ordnance Association - Order of Samuel Sharpe, Honorary Kentucky Colonel
Honorary Texan, Artillery Association - Order of Saint Barbara
A bridge on Route 50 in Doddridge County, WV, was dedicated to General Craddock in 2006.
After retiring from the Army in 2009, he was hired by MPRI, Inc. (AKA Military Professional Resources, Inc.) to serve as its corporate president.
|Honoree ID: 213||Created by: MHOH|