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82nd Airborne Division has new commander

Posted August 2

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— The 82nd Airborne Division is known as America's Guard of Honor, and as of Tuesday afternoon, it has a new leader.

Maj. Gen. Michael Kurilla became the new commander, but he says the enemy the soldiers continue to face remains the same.

Now, his mission is to make sure his troops are ready to deploy.

"I have no doubt, absolutely no doubt, that in the near future the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division will be called upon with little or no notice to deploy and fight in the terrible and unforgiving crucible of ground combat and, most importantly, to win that fight," Kurilla said.

The outgoing commander, Maj. Gen. Richard Clarke, spent a good portion of his 22 months in the division deployed to Iraq to help train that country’s army.

"I truly believe at the end of the day the greatest weapon against the global war on terrorism will continue to be the individual paratrooper who is highly disciplined, intensely motivated, specially trained and will accomplish any mission despite of insurmountable odds," Clarke said.

Clarke described the 82nd Airborne Division as a fast-moving train.

"While you're on the train, you're around some of the best soldiers, the best paratroopers, the best leaders, and it's a train you want to be on," he said.

Tuesday marked the third time Kurilla took over command from Clarke during their careers.

Clarke is leaving the 82nd Airborne Division to become the vice director of strategic plans and policy for the joint staff at the Pentagon.


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