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Bantz John Craddock
General Bantz J. Craddock (ret.)
Born August 24, 1949(1949-08-24) (age 72)
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1971-2009
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General (retired)
Commands held U.S. European Command
Supreme Allied Commander Europe
U.S. Southern Command
Battles/wars Operation Desert Storm
Kosovo War
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Defense Superior Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (3)
Bronze Star
Meritorious Service Medal (4)
Army Commendation Medal (3)
Army Achievement Medal
Bundeswehr Cross of Honour in Gold

Bantz John Craddock (born August 24, 1949)[1] is a retired United States Army four-star general. His last military assignment was as Commander, U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and the NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) as well as the commanding officer of Allied Command Operations (ACO) from December 2006 to June 30, 2009. He also served as Commander, U.S. Southern Command from November 9, 2004 to December 2006. After his retirement in 2009, he was hired by MPRI, Inc., (sometimes called Military Professional Resources, Inc.) to serve as its corporate president.[2]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Craddock was raised in Doddridge County, West Virginia. He graduated from Doddridge County High School in 1967.

Military career[edit | edit source]

Craddock was commissioned as an Armor officer upon graduation from West Virginia University. His initial tour of duty was with the 3rd Armored Division in Germany, followed by an assignment at Fort Knox, Kentucky, 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, Michigan, 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 G3, Operations.

In May 1989, Craddock assumed command of the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Stewart, Georgia. He commanded the Tuskers for 26 months, deploying to Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Following command, Craddock was the Assistant Chief of Staff, G3, 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, G3, for III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas.

First meeting between Craddock and Maj. Gen. Valeri Evtoukovitich (left) commander of Russian Forces in Kosovo at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, on July 7, 1999.

In 1996, Craddock was reassigned to the Joint Staff in the Pentagon as an Assistant Deputy Director in J5. 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 to 2004, Craddock served as the Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense.

Craddock served as Combatant Commander of United States Southern Command from 2004 until 2006. On July 14, 2006, NATO announced that, when his term as COCOM of the United States Southern Command expired, Craddock would succeed James L. Jones as Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) — NATO's top commander of operations in Europe. The change-of-command ceremony at Mons, Belgium, occurred on December 7, 2006.[3]

Controversy[edit | edit source]

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.[4]

On January 28, 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.[5][6]

Military honors[edit | edit source]

Craddock's decorations include:

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Distinguished Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star ribbon.svg Silver Star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Achievement Medal ribbon.svg Army Achievement Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Meritorious Unit Award with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Valorous Unit Award ribbon.svg Valorous Unit Award
Bronze star
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal (with two bronze service stars)
Bronze star
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal (with two bronze service stars)
Bronze star
Bronze star
Kosovo Campaign Medal (with two bronze service stars)
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon.svg Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon.svg Overseas Service Ribbon (with award numeral 5)
NATO Meritorious Service Medal bar.svg NATO Meritorious Service Medal
Bronze star
NATO Medal for Yugoslavia with bronze service star
Us sa-kwlib rib.png Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Us kw-kwlib rib.png Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
GER Bundeswehr Honour Cross Gold ribbon.svg Bundeswehr Gold Cross of Honor
El Salvador Gold Medal for Distinguished Service Ribbon.png El Salvador Gold Medal for Distinguished Services[7] (Spanish language: Medalla De Oro por Servicio Distinguido) (not worn)
POL Order Zaslugi RP kl3 BAR.png Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (not worn)

Additionally, Craddock has been honored of the following associations:

Civilian Awards[edit | edit source]

A bridge in Doddridge County West Virginia on 50 was dedicated to Gen. Craddock in 2006.

References[edit | edit source]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "http://www.southcom.mil/PA/Media/Media%20Relations/bios/southcom/bioCDR.htm".

External links[edit | edit source]

Military offices
Preceded by
Gen. James T. Hill
United States Southern Command
2004—2006
Succeeded by
Adm. James G. Stavridis
Preceded by
Gen. James L. Jones
U.S. European Command
2006—2009
Succeeded by
Adm. James G. Stavridis
Preceded by
Gen. James L. Jones
Supreme Allied Commander Europe (NATO)
2006–2009
Succeeded by
Adm. James G. Stavridis


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