Bantz J. Craddock

Bantz J. Craddock
Birth name Bantz John Craddock
Born (1949-08-24) August 24, 1949
Parkersburg, West Virginia, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1971–2009
Rank General
Commands held U.S. European Command
Supreme Allied Commander Europe
U.S. Southern Command

Persian Gulf War

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 Medal
Meritorious Service Medal (4)
Army Commendation Medal (3)
Army Achievement Medal
Bundeswehr Cross of Honor in Gold
Other work MPRI, Inc.[1]

Bantz John Craddock (born August 24, 1949)[2] is a former United States Army 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 chief executive.[1]

Early life and education

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


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.

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 Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

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]


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]

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' book Duty is very critical of Craddock in his role as Supreme Allied Commander Europe. Gates cites examples where Craddock did not want fellow U.S. Army generals, such as Stanley A. McChrystal, to attend coalition meetings with partner nations. At one point Craddock provided his unsolicited advice to Gates regarding who he thought should attend a senior coalition meeting. Gates then had to order Craddock to carry out the mission as instructed by him. In the book, Gates goes on to opine that was the only time in his career in governmental service in which he had to "order" a general officer to carry out a specific task.

Awards and decorations

Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge
Joint Chiefs of Staff Badge
24th Infantry Division Combat Service Identification Badge
64th Armor Regiment Distinctive Unit Insignia
Defense Distinguished Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal
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 (Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
Bundeswehr Gold Cross of Honor
El Salvador Gold Medal for Distinguished Services[7]
Cross of Military Merit, First Class (Guatemala)
Nicaraguan decoration (Unidentified)
Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
Estonian Order of the Cross of the Eagle First Class

Additionally, Craddock has been honored of the following associations:

Personal life

A bridge in Doddridge County, West Virginia on U.S. Route 50 was dedicated to Craddock in 2006.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "".

  1. 1 2 "MPRI". MPRI. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  2. Nominations before the Senate Armed Services Committee, second session ... - United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services — Google Boeken. 2007-01-01. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  3. Guantanamo chief to become NATO top commander, Reuters, July 14, 2006
  4. "Guantanamo general to head Nato". BBC. July 14, 2006. Archived from the original on 9 February 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  5. "NATO High Commander Issues Illegitimate Order to Kill". Der Spiegel. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  6. "Order to Kill Angers German Politicians". Der Spiegel. Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  7. "Salvadoran Government awards Medal to U.S. Southern Command Commander (September 05, 2006) | Embassy of the United States San Salvador, El Salvador". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved May 24, 2015.
Military offices
Preceded by
Gen. James T. Hill
United States Southern Command
Succeeded by
Adm. James G. Stavridis
Preceded by
Gen. James L. Jones
U.S. European Command
Succeeded by
Adm. James G. Stavridis
Preceded by
Gen. James L. Jones
Supreme Allied Commander Europe)
Succeeded by
Adm. James G. Stavridis
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