General Laura Richardson, Commander, U.S. Southern Command

General Laura Richardson

Commander, U.S. Southern Command

Laura Jane Richardson was born in December 1963 in Kansas City, Missouri. She earned a B.S. in psychology from Metropolitan State College in Denver and was commissioned into the United States Army through the Army Reserve Officers’ Training program. She was an All-American swimmer and earned her pilot’s license at the age of 16. She earned an M.S. from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair. 

She flew Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and worked her way through the ranks of the Army. She served in South Korea and was also deployed in both the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan. She served as chief of the United States Senate liaison division for the Secretary of the Army. 

In 2017, Richardson became deputy commander of United States Army Forces Command, serving there for two years until her assumption of the command of U.S. Army North. 

In March 2021, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Richardson’s nomination to be commander of the United States Southern Command. She was confirmed by a unanimous voice vote of the Senate and received her command in October 2021. 

She is married to retired Lieutenant General Jim Richardson, and they have one daughter. 

In the News…

The U.S. Southern Command reported that a U.S. Marine Corps anti-terrorism unit has deployed to protect the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince and to assist with the evacuation of non-essential staff. Gang violence has increased, and the Haitian prime minister has resigned. The Marines have reportedly carried out evacuations by helicopter at night.

“This airlift of personnel into and out of the Embassy is consistent with our standard practice for Embassy security augmentation worldwide, and no Haitians were on board the military aircraft,” U.S. Southern Command stated.

“Our Embassy remains focused on advancing U.S. government efforts to support the Haitian people, including mobilizing support for the Haitian National Police, expediting the deployment of the United Nations-authorized Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission, and accelerating a peaceful transition of power via free and fair elections.”


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