Colonel Joseph A. Craft is a prior enlisted Marine who graduated from George Mason University and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1989. Immediately following his winging as a Naval Flight Officer in 1992, he attended Aircraft Maintenance Officer Course, receiving the secondary MOS of 6002. In 1993, Colonel Craft received orders to VMFA (AW)-121, MCAS El Toro, California. With “The Green Knights” through three Western Pacific deployments, he served as Ground Safety Officer, Airframes Officer, Training Officer, and Assistant Operations Officer.
In 1997, Colonel Craft graduated with distinction from the Amphibious Warfare School in Quantico, Virginia and then joined The Basic School where he served as Air Officer, Staff Platoon Commander, Company Commander, and Instructor Battalion Executive Officer.
In 2001, following a year as the Marine Aircraft Group 11 Weapons and Tactics Instructor, Colonel Craft joined VMFA (AW)-225 as the Operations Officer and later Aircraft Maintenance Officer through one Western Pacific deployment and two combat deployments, supporting Operations Noble Eagle, Southern Watch, and Iraqi Freedom. With “The Vikings”, he received the 2002 Marine Corps Aviation Association, Robert Guy Robinson, Naval Flight Officer of the Year Award.
After attending Marine Corps Command and Staff College, graduating with distinction and earning a Master of Military Studies, Colonel Craft returned to The Basic School to serve as the Executive Officer.
On January 27, 2006, Colonel Craft assumed command of “The Green Knights” and deployed the squadron to combat in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08.
In 2009, Colonel Craft graduated with highest distinction from the Naval War College, earning a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies and receiving the Navy League Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce Award as the top graduate.
Following Naval War College, Colonel Craft was assigned to the United States Strategic Command, Plans and Policy Directorate, as the Chief, Strategy and Integration Division.
In 2011, Colonel Craft joined the Second Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) where he served as Current Operations Officer. From February 2013 to February 2014, he deployed with II
MEF(Forward) as the Senior Adviser to the Afghan National Security Force Operations Coordination Centers in Helmand and Nimruz Provinces.
Colonel Craft’s personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two gold stars, Air Medal (Single Mission and with Strike/Flight Lead Numeral Eleven), Aerial Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation with two gold stars and Combat “V”, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Colonel Craft is married to the former Cathryn V. Craft of Leesburg, Virginia. They have seven children.