Dennis Crandell was born on 16 September 1956. He attended Basic Training at Fort Dix in 1974. Afterwards, he volunteered for Basic Airborne School and was assigned to an Airborne position in the 82nd Airborne Division. Based on his aptitude and abilities, he bypassed formal maintenance training and completed Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic on-the-job training at his first unit.
In the first 10 years of his career, Crandell perfected his skills as a motor sergeant, learning to be an expert maintainer and diagnostician. Consistent with his abilities, he began developing substantial abilities to fault isolate, diagnose, and repair many pieces of ground equipment. During these assignments, he also demonstrated a strong potential to lead Soldiers and quickly became a Non-Commissioned Officer.
While assigned as Motor Sergeant, and later First Sergeant, Headquarters and Supply Company, 407th Supply and Transportation Battalion, 82 Airborne Division, Crandell deployed with the unit to Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. As a direct result of his leadership abilities, the unit performed its mission to very high standards and maintained readiness rates well above 95% in a high mileage, high tempo environment.
His first assignment as a Command Sergeant Major was with the 548th Corps Support Battalion, Fort Drum in 1996. This battalion, consisting of 6 units and more than 1800 Soldiers, had the most logistically diverse mission of any unit on Ft Drum. During his short assignment, he was personally responsible for training and mentoring the first ever DISCOM Soldier to win 10th Mountain Division Soldier of the Year. Crandell also distinguished himself by establishing an NCO mentoring program to skillfully develop future First Sergeant's and augment a Leadership Development Program while ensuring Sergeant's Time Training was performed to high standards throughout DISCOM. He effectively ensured the success of the first ever Exercise Support Group Mission in support of the Division's Joint Readiness Training Center Bosnia Rotation, with outstanding results. His exceptional leadership and support inspired Soldiers, peers and senior leaders to excellence.
Crandell's performance in the 548th Corps Support Battalion clearly set him apart from other Command Sergeants Major. Recognizing his ability to serve as an exceptional leader and positive role model, he was selected to be the Division Support Command Sergeant Major. Crandell instilled the same standards he brought to the 548th Corps Support Battalion across all units of the DISCOM.
In July 2000, Crandell continued his distinguished service as Command Sergeant Major of the 172nd Support Battalion, Fort Wainwright, Alaska. He consistently displayed a commitment to the Soldiers' welfare by making improvements to quality of life, communication, unit cohesion and esprit de corps. His leadership and motivation directly resulted in an increased number of Soldiers pursuing career enhancing opportunities like Officer Candidate School and the Green to Gold Program. His dynamic initiative, leadership, and guidance were critical in the development of the Battalion's defense plan which ensured the success of the defense of the Brigade Support Area. The remarkable accomplishments of the Battalion and its Soldiers were a direct result of his infectious enthusiasm and intense desire to exceed in every aspect, and he routinely provided seamless support to the Command staff as acting Brigade Command Sergeant Major.
Crandell assumed duties as the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Command Sergeant Major on 14 March 2002. The command consisted of 200 Soldiers and 14,300 civilian workers. While at TACOM, Crandell established a natural rapport with the primarily civilian workforce, ensuring they fully understood the importance of the TACOM mission; develop, acquire, field, and sustain Soldier and ground systems for the warfighter through the integration of effective and timely acquisition, logistics, and cutting-edge technology. Through focused interaction with the workforce and utilization of key military leaders, Crandell and the leadership team at TACOM instilled an almost unbelievable intensity among the workforce. They fully understood that Soldiers lives often hung in the balance, and the support TACOM provides could be the decisive factor.
Dennis Crandell retired from the U.S. Army on 3 September 2005.