Armed Forces News

Members of the US Southern Command Honor Guard present the colors while Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley and Army Gen. Laura J. Richardson, incoming commander of U.S. Southern Command, stand at attention during a change of command ceremony at SOUTHCOM Headquarters in Doral, Florida, Oct. 29, 2021. Richardson will succeed U.S. Navy Adm. Craig S. Faller, who has led SOUTHCOM since November 2018 and will retire after four decades of military service. (SOUTHCOM photo by Master Sgt. Stephen J. Caruso)

Army Gen. Laura J. Richardson assumed command of U.S. Southern Command on Oct. 29, becoming the first woman to hold the position. Richardson is pinning on a fourth star and coming to her new position after serving as commanding general of U.S. Army North at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. She succeeds Navy Adm. Craig S. Faller, who is retiring. The Senate confirmed Richardson’s appointment as Southcom commander on Aug. 11.

A native of Colorado, Richardson holds degrees from Metropolitan State College in Denver, the Army Comand and Staff College, and the National Defense University’s Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy. She began her Army career as an aviator moving on to hold numerous commands and eventually serving as commanding general of U.S. Army North (Fifth) Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

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Richardson also served at the White House as military aide to the vice president, and chief of the Army Legislative Liaison to Congress. She is married to Lt. Gen. Jim Richardson, the deputy commander of U.S. Army Futures Command in Austin, Texas.