Open main menu

Nicholas S. H. Krawciw (Ukrainian: Микола Кравців) is a retired United States Army Major General who served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War, and served as Commanding General of the 3rd Infantry Division from 1987 to 1989.

Nicholas S. H. Krawciw
Микола Кравців
Nicholas Krawciw 1984.jpg
Major General Nicholas S. H. Krawciw
Born (1935-11-28) November 28, 1935 (age 83)
Lviv, Poland (present Ukraine)
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army seal United States Army
Years of service1959–1990
RankUS-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held1st Sq/2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment
1st Bde/3rd Armored Division
3rd Infantry Division
Battles/warsVietnam War
AwardsSilver Star (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star (4)
Purple Heart


Early lifeEdit

Krawciw was born on November 28, 1935,[1] to Bohdan and Neonila Krawciw, in Lviv, Galicia, Poland (present-day Ukraine). His family moved to Germany during World War II, and to the United States in 1949. As a youth, Nick grew up in a Philadelphia Ukrainian-American community and is able to speak the Ukrainian language. He was a member of Plast, a Ukrainian scouting organization, and attended the Bordentown Military Institute. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1955, where he played varsity soccer, became a cadet regimental commander, and was in the graduating class of 1959. [2][3]

Military careerEdit

Krawciw was one of the first members of his class to go to Vietnam, and was severely wounded in an ambush. After recuperating, Captain Krawciw commanded a cavalry troop at Fort Hood where he co-invented an advanced armor system for ground vehicles, a composite system similar to that later incorporated into tank design.[1]

Following a tour in the Tactical Department at West Point, Major Krawciw returned to Vietnam as S-3 of the 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry. During a year of intense fighting along the DMZ, Nick was awarded three Silver Stars and was instrumental in devising new tactics and counter measures that frustrated a tenacious enemy.[1]

Major Krawciw was sent to Israel in 1972 as the Chief Operations Officer for the UN Truce Supervision Organization. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, he produced intelligence reports prior to the start of the Yom Kippur War that led to a personal commendation from the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Abrams.[1]

Nick commanded the 1st Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1974, and later served at Headquarters, U.S. Army, Europe. Following a year as a Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, Colonel Krawciw was assigned to the Training and Doctrine Command as Director of Concepts and Doctrine in combat development. Here, his work on maneuver doctrine revolutionized the way the Army fought, was organized, and was trained. Nick Krawciw's ideas influenced victories in Operation Just Cause (Panama), Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and many important but smaller contingencies.[1]

In 1979, Colonel Krawciw returned to Germany to command the First Brigade of the 3rd Armored Division. Back home after two years in command, Nick was nominated by the Army Chief of Staff to attend the Senior Seminar of the Department of State. In 1982, he was assigned to the Army staff and then as Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense.[1]

Promoted to Brigadier General, he returned to Germany in 1984 as Assistant Division Commander of the 3rd Infantry Division and then Executive Officer to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. In 1987, Major General Krawciw assumed command of the 3rd Infantry Division. His final active duty assignment was Director of NATO Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 1989–1990. Krawciw retired from the Army on July 1, 1990.[1]

Post militaryEdit

Since he spoke Ukrainian fluently, Nick Krawciw was urged by the United States Department of Defense to become involved in assisting the newly independent Ukraine to establish political freedom and a marketplace economy. With the approval of the U.S. government, General Krawciw met with Ukrainian officials and agreed to help them set up a non-profit, non-governmental political science institute.[1]

At the behest of the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and the Undersecretary of Defense, Nick and his dedicated wife Christina moved to Ukraine in 1992 where, for a year, he worked to reorganize, educate, and restructure the Ukrainian military on Western lines. Beginning in 1993, as a consultant to the Secretary of Defense on Ukrainian matters, and later as Secretary of Defense Senior Military Representative to Ukraine, General Krawciw was largely responsible for converting the Ukrainian Armed Forces from a communist army that was feared throughout Europe to one that now has democratic standards.[1]

The country had not governed itself in 300 years, so there was no body of law, no democratic tradition, and a military organized on the totalitarian model with corresponding values. Nick assisted in professional development, including ethics, guided reduction of forces to appropriate levels, and identified sound leaders. Progress was slow and difficult, but ultimately effective.[4]

The culmination of his efforts was the refusal of the Ukrainian Army to disperse the Orange Revolution demonstration that ultimately overturned the fraudulent election of 2004, thus justifying the years of dedicated effort General Krawciw and other American officers had spent to achieve a democratic Army in Ukraine. Some of the programs Krawciw organized or participated in were Operation Peace Shield and Operation Sea Breeze. [4][5]

Nick Krawciw was instrumental in establishing educational exchange programs with the Ukrainian military, devoting many hours to sponsoring and escorting both military and civilian groups from Ukraine around the United States.[4]

In 1995, in addition to his work with Ukraine, Nick Krawciw began 10 years service as President of The Dupuy Institute; and is now Chairman of the Board. Under Nick's leadership, the Institute, dedicated to scholarly analysis of military historical trends, expanded its activity.[1]

Throughout a lifetime of distinguished service, Nick Krawciw's career has been marked by inspirational leadership and steadfast dedication to the ideals expressed in the West Point motto: "Duty, Honor, Country." His extraordinary accomplishments in the international arena have made a lasting and invaluable contribution to the national security of the United States.[1]


Awards and decorationsEdit

His awards and decorations included the Silver Star (three) with two oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star (four total, two for valor), and the Purple Heart.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Rich, Susan. "TDI Profile: Nicholas Krawciw" (PDF). The International TNDM Newsletter. The Depuy Institute. p. 28. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  2. ^ Casanova, lka Koznarska (18 December 1983). "interview: Col. Nicholas Krawciw,newly nominated brigadier general" (PDF). The Ukrainian Weekly. pp. 10–11. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  3. ^ Staff (2 August 1987). "Krawciw takes command of 3rd Infantry Division" (PDF). The Ukrainian Weekly. pp. 4–13. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Polyakov, Leonid (2004). U.S.-Ukraine Military Relations and the Value of Interoperability (PDF). Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Strategic Studies Institute. p. Appendix. ISBN 1-58487-170-9.
  5. ^ Golash, Roman G. (2 July 1995). "Operation Peace Shield brings together Ukrainian and American troops" (PDF). The Ukrainian Weekly. pp. 11–19. Retrieved 16 June 2011.

  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "2006 Distinguished Graduate Award".

Further readingEdit

  • Alex Lushnycky, Ukrainians of Greater Philadelphia (2007), ISBN 978-0-7385-5040-4
  • Tom Carhart, West Point Warriors: Profiles of Duty, Honor, and Country in Battle (2002), ISBN 0-446-61125-5

External linksEdit