Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson has succeeded in breaking through a few glass ceilings in the US Army. Now she’s set to break a new one.
For the first time in US Army Forces Command, or FORSCOM, history, a woman will be leading the largest command in the Army, representing 776,000 soldiers and 96,000 civilians.
This may be a first for the Army, but Richardson has had other firsts.
In 2017, she became second in command to Gen. Robert B. Abrams, when she was named the first female deputy commanding general of FORSCOM in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the US Army reported.
Now, Richardson will become the first female commanding general of the US Army FORSCOM as Abrams steps down from his post, reported CNN affiliate WTVD.
On Tuesday, Abrams announced he would be leaving his post to become commander of United States Armed Forces Korea. The farewell message was tweeted by FORSCOM.
“It has been an honor to serve these last three years as the commanding general, US Army Forces Command,” Abrams’ message read.
Abrams also thanked FORSCOM soldiers for their work, as it increases “readiness of our Army across all three components — regular Army, Army National Guard and US Army Reserve.”
Richardson will serve as acting commander until a replacement for Abrams is named and confirmed to the rank of four-star general by the Senate.
“She will continue to be the deputy commander as well as the acting commander during this interim period,” FORSCOM Director of Public Affairs Colonel Michael Lawhorn told CNN. “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 also told CNN that during Tuesday’s ceremony, General Mark A. Milley, the chief of staff of the Army, said a nominee has been identified but also clarified that Richardson’s tenure would not be brief.
“I don’t know how long it’s going to be to be honest with you,” Milley said, according to Lawhorn. “You’re going to be in command of this command for a considerable amount of time.”
In her career, Richardson has served as an Army aviator, as the military aide to the vice president and as one of the Army’s liaison officers to the US Senate.