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Local soldier promoted at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — James D. Crabtree, whose parents reside on Fifth Street in Ironton, was recently promoted to the rank of U.S. Army Lieutenant-Colonel in a short ceremony held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Lt. Col. Crabtree originally enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1982, serving as a Hawk missile crewman at Fort Bliss, Texas. He was later commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps and served in Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Desert Fox and Operation Southern Watch. More recently he was in Baghdad as a member of the XVIII Airborne Corps staff and served as a peacekeeper in Sinai, Egypt as part of the Multinational Force and Observers.

Currently Lt. Col. James Crabtree is serving with Joint Task Force Guantanamo, the military unit responsible for detainees being held in Cuba, as the Deputy Public Affairs Officer for Plans.

Crabtree also serves as the Officer-In-Charge of the 4th Public Affairs Detachment (Guantanamo Forward), a provisional unit sent to provide media support for Military Commissions which have been trying terrorism suspects.

“The Army has provided me opportunities I never could have imagined when I first joined.” Lt. Col. Crabtree said. “Becoming a ‘light colonel’ is just one more example.”

Heidi M. Crabtree, Lt. Col. Crabtree’s wife, was allowed to visit the detention facility in order to “pin” her husband’s new rank on. She was pleased to attend the ceremony.

“I’m happy that I got to be a part of this moment. This is something I’ll always remember!”