The U.S. Army’s largest command has a new leader — and she’s making history.
Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson is the first female Commanding General of the U.S. Army Forces Command, or FORSCOM, according to WTVD-TV. Headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the command represents some 770,000 soldiers and civilians. Its mission is to provide active, reserve and National Guard troops to combatant commanders around the globe.
Richardson’s predecessor, Gen. Robert B. Abrams, stepped down on Tuesday to become commander of United States Forces Korea. Abrams said in a statement that he was leaving the command “in great hands.”
Richardson is currently serving as FORSCOM’s acting commander. Army Chief of Staff General Mark A. Milley said this week that he expected Richardson to be in command of FORSCOM, which he described as the U.S. Army’s “largest and most important” command, “for a considerable length of time.”
“It will be measured in months, not days or weeks. We know you are going to do a great job,” he said of FORSCOM’s new leader.
As CNN noted, this isn’t the first glass ceiling that Richardson has smashed. In 2012, she became the first female deputy commanding general for the 1st Cavalry Division, known as America’s “First Team.”
Last year, she was made second in command at FORSCOM, becoming the command’s first female deputy commanding general.
Richardson joined the U.S. Army in 1986 and has spent most of her military career in Army aviation. She was licensed to be a pilot at age 16, WTVD reported.
She’s served in Korea and at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. She was also deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and served as the military aide to then-Vice President Al Gore.