NATO's operations command changes hands
US Army Gen. John Craddock became the 15th Supreme Allied Commander Europe during a ceremony held at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Casteau, Belgium, December 7, 2006.
US Army Gen. John Craddock became the 15th Supreme Allied Commander Europe during a ceremony held at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Casteau, Belgium, December 7, 2006. Craddock took over command from US Marine Gen. James L. Jones.
The ceremony was officiated by H.E. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
“As in all walks of life, when one chapter closes, another one opens. It therefore gives me great pleasure to welcome General Craddock, United States Army, to SHAPE as our new Supreme Allied Commander Europe,” said De Hoop Scheffer.
General Craddock comes to SHAPE after commanding the US Southern Command in Miami, Florida since 2004. After joining the US Army, he initially served as an Armour Officer and occupied various staff and command positions, having deployed to Desert Storm and Desert Shield as Commander of the 4th Battalion, 64th Armour of the 24th Infantry Division. He also commanded the 194th Separate Armoured Brigade and eventually the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanised).
“Today, to assume command of NATO’s military forces is an honour without equal. Today, NATO is more vibrant and relevant than ever. Last week’s summit meeting in Riga reaffirmed our conviction that this Alliance is stronger and more vital to our collective well-being and security than it has ever been,” Craddock said.
Craddock is the 12th Army General to command all of NATO’s military forces. Currently, NATO has approximately 51,000 troops deployed in support of operations in Afghanistan and the Balkans, as well as Operation Active Endeavour and Training Mission Iraq.
“I am humbled to assume command of such a magnificent organization. I look forward to working with all of you in your important duties here at SHAPE. The Alliance has placed great trust in us and we will administer the task set before us with dedication, perseverance and the utmost skill,” Craddock said.
General Jones has served as SACEUR since January 17, 2003 and will be retiring after a 40-year career in the US Marine Corps.
“I have always appreciated NATO and have always known what NATO meant and have always understood NATO, now, I love NATO,” Jones said.
General Jones has overseen the busiest operational era in NATO’s history with missions and operations on three continents.
“On behalf of the North Atlantic Council, I should like to thank General Jones for his superb leadership and for the key role he has played in successfully commanding NATO’s operations and missions, as well as driving forward so many aspects of NATO’s ongoing transformation,” said de Hoop Scheffer. “It has been a pleasure to work with you, and to know you. As a soldier, a gentleman and a friend you never failed either the Alliance or me, living up to the Marine Corps motto semper fidelis, always faithful.”
The Supreme Allied Commander Europe has a dual role as Commander of Allied Command Operations and US European Command (USEUCOM). General Craddock accepted command of USEUCOM during a ceremony held at Patch Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany on December 4, 2006.