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For first time, a woman heads US Army’s largest command

Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson (Monica King/WikiCommons)
October 17, 2018

For the first time in the history of the U.S. Army, a woman will be running the show, leading some 872,000 soldiers and civilians combined as acting commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM).

Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson will be the acting commander until the Senate names and confirms a replacement for four-star Army general, Robert B. Abrams, who is leaving his post to become the new U.S. Forces Korea commander, CNN reported.

FORSCOM Director of Public Affairs Colonel Michael Lawhorn said Richardson “will continue to be the deputy commander as well as the acting commander during this interim period. LTG Richardson is one of a number of highly qualified officers that are being considered as potential commanders for the Army’s largest command.”

Lawhorn added that General Mark A. Milley, the chief of staff of the Army, has designated a nominee and said that Richardson’s tenure would not be short.

According to Lawhorn, Miley told Richardson, “I don’t know how long it’s going to be to be honest with you. You’re going to be in command of this command for a considerable amount of time.”

Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver in 1986 and immediately joined the U.S. Army.

In 2012, Richardson led “America’s First Team,” 1st Cavalry Division as the first woman deputy.

Richardson was the very first female deputy commanding general of FORSCOM at Fort Bragg in 2017.

During her career, Richardson was a military aide to Vice President Al Gore, Director of the Army’s Transformation Office at the Pentagon, and the U.S. Senate’s Army Liaison Officer, according to the Army ROTC Golden Buffalo Battalion.

Richardson has received several military medals, including the Legion of Merit Medal, Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Army Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, and Joint Service Commendation Medal.

Richardson is married to Brigadier General James Richardson and together they have one daughter.

“It has been my honor to serve these last three years as the commanding general, US Army Forces Command,” Abrams said in a statement.

An official ceremony of Abrams’ relinquished command took place Tuesday at Fort Bragg’s Main Post Flag Pole.