Virginia Tech™home

COL Craig T. Alia

Deputy Commandant of Cadets

Colonel Craig J. Alia (U.S. Army, retired) is deputy commandant of cadets for 1st Battalion.

COL Alia, a native of Saddle Brook, New Jersey, and was commissioned in 1992 upon graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Following his commission, he served as an aviation platoon leader and staff officer in the 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado. He then served in Korea as the garrison commander for Camp Page, Korea. Upon his return from Korea, COL Alia was assigned to the 82nd Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as a staff officer and company commander. He deployed his UH60 Company to Bosnia in support of peace-keeping operations. Following command, he served in the 18th Airborne Corps G3 aviation section until his move to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. COL Alia served as the HHC, Combined Armed Center company commander for a year, after which he attended the Army Command and General Staff College and the School for Advanced Military Studies.

Upon graduation, COL Alia returned to the 82nd Airborne Division, where he served as both the Division G3 plans officer and the G3 aviation officer. Following his tenure on the division staff, he served as the executive officer for 2nd Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade during the battalion's deployment to Afghanistan. Shortly after returning from Afghanistan he served as the executive officer for the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. COL Alia was then assigned as the 82nd Airborne Division deputy J3/G3 and plans chief (J35) for the division’s deployment to Afghanistan. After returning from Afghanistan, he assumed command of 4-3 Assault Helicopter Battalion in January 2011 and deployed as the task force brawler commander to Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, in December 2012. Following his return from Afghanistan, he attended the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. COL Alia commanded 101st Combat Aviation Brigade from February 2016 through August 2018 and changed command while deployed to Afghanistan. Following command, he became the chief of staff for the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program.

COL Alia is a graduate of Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course; Aviation Officer Basic and Advanced Course; Maintenance Managers Course; Command and General Staff College; School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), and the Naval War College. He has earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Saint Mary (Kansas), a Masters of Military Arts and Science in theater operations from SAMS, and a master’s degree in nation security and strategic studies from the Naval War College.

His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Stare Medal, the Joint Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal (with “V” device), the Joint Service Commendation Medal and other awards. He has earned the Combat Action Badge, the Senior Aviator Badge, the Senior Parachutist Badge, and the Air Assault Badge.

COL Alia is married to the former Darla Fritz of Vancouver, Washington. They have a daughter, Caitlin, and two sons, CJ and Cole.