General Bantz J. “John” Craddock
General John Craddock is commander of the U.S. European Command and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe. He graduated from West Virginia University in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and was commissioned as an armor officer. A tour of duty with the 3rd Armored Division in Germany was followed by a tour at Fort Knox, Ky., with the U.S. Army Armor and Engineer Board. He returned to the 3rd Armored Division as a tank company commander after completing the Armor Officer Advanced Course.
In 1981, Craddock was reassigned to the Office of the Program Manager, Abrams Tank System, first as a systems analyst, later as executive officer. Graduation from the Command and General Staff College preceded a return to Germany, this time with the 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized).
In 1989, Craddock assumed command of the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Stewart, Ga. It was during this posting that he deployed to Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. After serving as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations for the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), General Craddock attended the U.S. Army War College and assumed command of the 194th Separate Armored Brigade upon his graduation, before becoming Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations for III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas.
In 1996, Craddock moved to the Joint Staff at the Pentagon as Assistant Deputy Director for Plans and Policy, J5. Two years later he returned to Germany as the Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver of 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized). It was during this time that he was designated Commander, U.S. Forces for the initial phase of operations in Kosovo. He went on to be the Commanding General of the 7th Army Training Command, U.S. Army Europe, and later assumed command of 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized). A tour as the senior military assistant to the Secretary of Defense preceded the post of Combatant Commander, U.S. Southern Command from 2004 until 2006.
General Craddock has received numerous decorations and honors, including the Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, Legion of Merit (two Oak Leaf clusters), and Meritorious Service Medal (with three Oak Leaf Clusters), among others.
General Craddock holds a master’s degree in military arts and sciences. He and his wife Linda have two children, Zachary and Amanda, daughter-in-law Rania, and two granddaughters, Addy and Lizzie.