A salute to graduates | Soldier from Bay Area honored in Israel

Eric Crompton, a Morgan Hill native who made aliyah two years ago to join the Israel Defense Forces, has won the President’s Medal of Excellence. He was one of 120 soldiers presented the award by Israeli President Shimon Peres and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz during a ceremony held on Israeli Independence Day last month.

Eric Crompton

“I wanted to defend something that was important to me,” Crompton told J. when asked about his decision to join the Israeli military. “I decided that Israel being the only Jewish country in the world is something pretty important to guard.”

Crompton, 25, is a 2007 graduate of Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto. As a Diller Teen fellow, he first visited Israel as a high school senior. After two years at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which included a stint in ROTC, he made aliyah and joined the Israeli Armored Corps, an IDF maneuvering corps that uses main battle tanks.

Crompton earned several commendations and become a sergeant, and later he was appointed company signaler in charge of equipping his battalion’s tanks.

Crompton said he plans to remain in Israel after his military service and likely study computer science at an Israeli university. — dan pine

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is J.'s news editor. He can be reached at dan@jweekly.com.