Veteran Spotlight: Alan Cranford, PO

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

How long did you serve?

I served for 35 years in the Alabama National Guard and the US Army. I enlisted 9 days after my 17th birthday and went to basic training during the summer of my junior and senior year. I joined the Alabama Army National Guard in September 1981 as a Private First Class Served five years as a Water Treatment Specialist. In 1987, I graduated from the Alabama Military Academy’s Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. During my over 35 year career, I served as a branch qualified Engineer Officer, Military Intelligence Officer, Transportation Officer and Logistics Officer and Lieutenant Colonel.

In what ways did your years of service help you during your career in the water industry?

More than I can even say. I was exposed to the water industry at a very young age because my father was the manager of a water system in Alabama. When I enlisted, I actually was working as a water treatment specialist in the military. My military experience and training have always provided me with skills and knowledge that had a positive impact on my performance, and put me as a front runner in different situations.

In 2005, I was in Iraq and there was a wastewater facility finishing construction at one of the prisons. No one else on staff had the experience necessary to deal with the situation so I was selected to go inspect the treatment facility. Any time things came up that involved water, I was tagged to participate and provide input and advice.

Additionally, there was great carry over with FEMA courses, emergency response training and understanding the operations of national response. There was so much crossover between my service and my knowledge of the water industry, I could go on.

With an impressive commitment of 35 years to serve, what has been the impact on your life?

I will always say that it was an absolute honor to serve, and honestly it was difficult to retire and transition out. So much of my family has served as well, my father, my grandfather, my uncles on both sides, and now my own children. Out of my 6 daughters, the 4 that are eligible have served or are currently serving. It’s an honor to serve.

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