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Bantz John Craddock (born 1950) is a retired United States Army four-star general. His last military assignment was as Commander, U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and the NATOmarker's Supreme Allied Commander Europemarker (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.

Early life

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

Military career

Craddock was commissioned as an Armor officer upon graduation from West Virginia Universitymarker. His initial tour of duty was with the 3rd Armored Division in Germany, followed by an assignment at Fort Knox, Kentuckymarker, 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, Michiganmarker, 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 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 at Fort Stewart, Georgiamarker. 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.marker Army War Collegemarker, graduating in 1993. Craddock then assumed command of the 194th Armored Brigade 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, Texasmarker.

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 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 NATOmarker 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.


Craddock has normally defended the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention campmarker 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 orders troops to kill drug traffickers and bomb narcotics laboratories in Afghanistan, even if there is no evidence that they are involved in terrorist activities.

Military honors

Craddock's decorations include:
Defense Distinguished Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Defense Superior Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Legion of Merit with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze Star
Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Achievement Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Valorous Unit Award
National Defense Service Medal (with two bronze service stars)
Southwest Asia Service Medal (with two bronze service stars)
Kosovo Campaign Medal (with two bronze service stars)
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon (with award numeral 5)
NATO Meritorious Service Medal
NATO Medal for Yugoslavia with bronze service star
Kuwait Liberation Medal
Kuwait Liberation Medal
Bundeswehr Cross of Honour in Gold
El Salvador Gold Medal for Distinguished Services (Spanish language: Medalla De Oro por Servicio Distinguido) (not worn)
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

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

See also


  1. Guantanamo chief to become NATO top commander, Reuters, July 14, 2006
  2. Salvadoran Government awards Medal to U.S. Southern Command Commander

External links

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