Update Your Profile

Stay up to date with all West Point news and stay connected with fellow grads

Update your Register Entry

Cullum Files

historical records

Class Notes

login required, available to graduates & widows

2006 Distinguished Graduate Award



A distinguished soldier whose tactical innovations and leadership techniques have been widely adopted by the United States Army from the Fulda Gap to the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam; a respected advisor on national security policy in Eastern Europe; Nicholas S. Krawciw has served his country with integrity, distinction, and an unparalleled sense of duty over a career spanning five decades.

Born in the Ukraine, he moved with his family to Germany at the start of World War II. In 1949, the family emigrated to the United States.

Nick Krawciw entered the Military Academy in 1955 where he played varsity soccer and became a cadet regimental commander, graduating with the Class of 1959. One of the first members of his class to go to Vietnam, he 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. For a troop commander to be involved in armor research was unusual, and a portent of his future career.

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.

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.

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 seminal work on maneuver doctrine revolutionized the way the Army fought, was organized, and was trained. Nick Krawciw´s ideas were largely responsible for victories in Panama, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and many important but smaller contingencies.

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. 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. That same year, personal health problems necessitated his retirement from the Army.

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

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.

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 the Ukraine.

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 the Ukraine around the United States. In recognition of his signal accomplishments, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America awarded him the Shevchenko Freedom Award in 2004.

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, blossomed.

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.

Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes great pride in presenting the 2006 Distinguished Graduate Award to Nicholas Stephen Krawciw.