Laura J. Richardson

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Laura J. Richardson
Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson (5).jpg
Lt. General Laura J. Richardson
Birth nameLaura Jane Strickland
Born1963 (age 55–56)
Missouri, U.S.[1]
AllegianceUnited States United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1986–present
RankArmy-USA-OF-08.svg Lieutenant General
UnitUnited States Army Forces Command
Commands heldUnited States Army Forces Command (acting)
Army Legislative Liaison Office
Operational Test Command, Fort Hood
Army Garrison, Fort Myer
5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment
Battles/warsOperation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
AwardsDefense Superior Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (4)
Spouse(s)Lieutenant General James Richardson

Laura Jane Strickland Richardson[1] (born 1963) is a lieutenant general in the United States Army and deputy commanding general of United States Army Forces Command. As an army aviator, Richardson flew Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Promoted to brigadier general in 2011, she served in various commands at Fort Hood and served as chief of staff for communication in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. In June 2017, she was promoted to lieutenant general and appointed deputy commanding general of United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). Richardson served as acting commander of FORSCOM from October 2018 until March 2019. In April 2019, she was nominated to serve as commander of United States Army North.

Early life[edit]

The daughter of Jan Strickland, a doctor,[2] Richardson grew up in Colorado. She attended Metropolitan State College in Denver where she earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology.[3][4][5] She was an All American swimmer and earned her pilot's license at the age of 16.[3] Richardson was commissioned via the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps program in 1986.[5]

Junior and field officer career[edit]

Richardson was commissioned into the United States Army Aviation Branch in 1986 as a second lieutenant.[3] Richardson flew Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in the 128th Assault Helicopter Company.[4][5] She was promoted to first lieutenant in 1988 and subsequently was administrative officer, executive officer and platoon leader in the 1st battalion of the 501st Aviation Regiment.[5] She transferred to the 17th Aviation Brigade as an assistant logistics officer in 1989 and served in South Korea before returning to the 501st Aviation Regiment as a personnel officer in the 4th Battalion in 1990.[3][5] Richardson commanded the HQ company of the 4th battalion from September 1990 to September 1991, being promoted to captain in March 1991.[5]

Richardson attended the Aviation Officer Advanced Course at Fort Rucker in 1991–1992 and was made a company commander in the 1st Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment in July 1992. She was later personnel officer of the 6th Cavalry Brigade at Fort Hood. In 1995–1996 she was a trainer in the Battle Command Training Program at Fort Leavenworth before she spent a year as a student at the Army Command and General Staff College. Promoted to major in March 1997 Richardson became operations officer and then executive officer of the 9th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment.[5]

Richardson served as a military aide to Vice President Al Gore between February 1999 and January 2001. That year she was promoted to lieutenant colonel and became deputy operations officer of the 101st Airborne Division. From July 2002 to May 2004 Richardson was commander of the 5th battalion of the 101st Aviation Regiment and served with that unit on Operation Iraqi Freedom. During that time, she was featured on the cover of the March 24, 2003 edition of Time magazine.[6] She and her husband and their daughter were the subjects of a story by Nancy Gibbs titled "An American Family Goes to War", in which they were described as "...the first husband and wife battalion commanders in the new married-with-children military".[7] She was Army campaign planner with the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans from 2004 to 2006 and graduated with a master of science degree from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair in June 2007. Promoted to colonel she was commander of the Army garrison at Fort Myer until October 2009 when she was chief of the US Senate liaison division for the Secretary of the Army.[5]

General officer career[edit]

In July 2011, Richardson was promoted to brigadier general and appointed commanding general of the Operational Test Command at Fort Hood.[5] She was subsequently appointed Deputy Commanding General - Support for the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, a position she left in 2013 to become deputy chief of staff, communication for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.[4][8] Richardson returned to the United States after a year and became chief legislative liaison to the Office of the Secretary of the Army as a major general.[8]

LTG Laura J. Richardson, Acting Commanding General (CG) of FORSCOM (center), flanked by the outgoing and incoming CGs of 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command review the troops at a change of command ceremony, Fort Bliss 2018-11-14

In June 2017, Richardson was promoted to lieutenant general and appointed deputy commander of United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), replacing Lieutenant General Patrick J. Donahue II who was retiring.[4] She was appointed by FORSCOM commander General Robert B. Abrams who said the decision took "less than a second".[3] This was despite never having worked with Richardson; Abrams said "I know her reputation. I’ve seen her work... She’s the exact right leader at the exact right time".[3] Her appointment was confirmed by the US Senate and she became the first woman to hold the position officially; Major General Jody Daniels acted as deputy for the week prior to Richardson's appointment.[4] FORSCOM is the largest command in the US Army representing 770,000 soldiers and civilians including 200,000 regular army soldiers stationed in the United States and the entire National Guard and Army Reserve.[3] In October 2018, Abrams left FORSCOM for a new assignment, and Richardson was named acting commander, the first woman to head the organization.[9] In announcing the appointment, Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley indicated that Richardson could expect to be the acting commander for several months, and was being considered for permanent assignment to the post.[9] She continued to serve as acting commander until General Michael X. Garrett assumed command in March 2019. In April 2019, Richardson was nominated to be the next commander of United States Army North.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Richardson is married to Lieutenant General James M. Richardson, who is deputy commander for combat development at the Army Futures Command.[3][11][12] They have one daughter.[6][13]

Awards and decorations[5][edit]

Combat Action Badge.svg Combat Action Badge
Senior Army Aviator.jpg Senior Army Aviator Badge
AirAssault.svg Air Assault Badge
United States Air Force Parachutist Badge.svg Basic Parachutist Badge
United States Army Staff Identification Badge.png Army Staff Identification Badge
101st Airborne Division CSIB.png 101st Airborne Division Combat Service Identification Badge
US - Vice Presidential Service Badge.png Vice Presidential Service Badge
101 Avn Rgt DUI.png 101st Aviation Regiment Distinctive Unit Insignia
ArmyOSB.svg 4 Overseas Service Bars
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters
Bronze Star
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Award numeral 7.png Air Medal with bronze award numeral 7
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Meritorious Unit Commendation with two oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Superior Unit Award with oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star
Bronze star
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with service star
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korea Defense Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Award numeral 3.svg Army Overseas Service Ribbon with award numeral 3
NATO Medal for service with ISAF

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b [1]
  2. ^ https://www.denverpost.com/2012/03/28/new-female-brigadier-general-in-army-occupies-rare-post/
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Brooks, Drew. "Forces Command welcomes Richardson to Fort Bragg as new deputy commanding general". The Fayetteville Observer. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e Brooks, Drew (11 June 2017). "Senate OKs First Female Army Officer To Become Forces Command Deputy". Task & Purpose. Fayetteville Observer. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Frocked Brigadier General Laura J. Richardson" (PDF). US Army. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  6. ^ a b "When Mom Goes to War". Time (Vol. 161 no. 12). March 24, 2003. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  7. ^ Gibbs, Nancy (March 24, 2003). "An American Family Goes To War". Time. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Thayer, Rose L (21 May 2014). "'Team Richardson' leaves lasting mark on Fort Hood". The Killeen Daily Herald. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  9. ^ a b Diaz, Andrew (October 17, 2018). "For the first time, a woman is leading the largest command in the US Army". CNN. Atlanta, GA.
  10. ^ "Milley Formally Nominated as Joint Chiefs Chairman". Association of the United States Army. Arlington, VA. April 9, 2019.
  11. ^ Vergun, David (September 5, 2018). "Richardson confirmed as Futures Command deputy commander". Army.mil. Washington, DC.
  12. ^ Community News (November 7, 2018). "Army Futures Command visits APG". APG News. Aberdeen Proving ground, MD.
  13. ^ "Major General Jim Richardson, Commanding General, AMCOM".