Laura Richardson will be the first woman in charge of the US Southern Command

Laura Richardson

The Southern Command (Southcom), based in South Florida, announced this Friday that Lieutenant General Laura J. Richardson will take office on October 29 as the first woman in charge of this institution of the United States Army that cooperates on security issues with the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Richardson, 57, who will be promoted to the rank of general before the change of command ceremony, will replace Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, who assumed that position in November 2018.

In her new role, Richardson, who has been deployed in support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past, is responsible for US defense and security cooperation with partner countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as US military operations in the region.

In a recent interview with Efe Admiral Faller noted that Lieutenant Richardson “she is extremely talented” and will face basically the same challenges, especially undemocratic, which he has since assumed the leadership of Southcom.

Richardson has been in the military for more than three decades, which he joined in 1986. His dream was to be a helicopter pilot, and he began training to be one when he was 15 years and women were still not allowed to handle combat aircraft.

Already as a soldier, he flew helicopters Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and served two combat missions, in Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to serving as a military adviser to former Vice President Al Gore (1993-2001) and transporting the nuclear briefcase.

In 2017, Richardson became the first female deputy commander of the Army’s highest command, known as Forscom, who came to lead on an interim basis at the end of 2018.

She has been married for more than 30 years to another three-star lieutenant general, James Richardson, whom he met at aviation school and with whom he has a daughter and a granddaughter.

It was confirmed last August by the United States Senate after being nominated by the White House.

Richardson will replace Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, who assumed that position in November 2018 (EFE / Alberto Peña)
Richardson will replace Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, who assumed that position in November 2018 (EFE / Alberto Peña)

Among other, Richardson previously served as commanding general of the United States Army North at Joint Base in San Antonio, Texas..

Richardson will be the first woman in charge of the US Southern Command and She is the second woman to lead a combatant command in United States history., after the general withdrawal Lori Robinson, who led the Northern Command between 2016 and 2018.

Faller, 60, will be retiring after nearly four decades of military service as a naval officer. The admiral has also been a critic of Nicolás Maduro’s regime in Venezuela, considering it a “shame” that has “destroyed the country for 25 years, ruined its people and violated their human rights,” he told Efe.

He then pointed out that they are focused on helping Colombia, which has absorbed a “tremendous increase in Venezuelan migrants”.

As commander of Southcom, the admiral promoted a greater endowment of resources in support of counternarcotics operations in the region. He also oversaw COVID-19 response assistance in the Caribbean and Latin America and disaster relief operations following the devastating hurricanes in Central America and the recent earthquake in Haiti.

Southcom, one of the six unified commandos in the country, is based in Doral, a city bordering Miami, in South Florida.

(With information from EFE)

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