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Maj. Gen. Christopher LaNeve took command of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division on Thursday, Task & Purpose has learned. 

Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue handed over command to LaNeve, who was serving as a deputy chief of staff in Army Forces Command, in Poland on Thursday. Paul Boyce, a spokesman for Army Forces Command confirmed LaNeve’s new role and extended “heartfelt congratulations to both generals and their families, as well to all of the soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division serving America’s Army.” 

Capt. Matt Visser, an 18th Airborne Corps spokesman, said the “mission in Europe continues under new leadership.” 

Donahue, who was recognized last year as the last soldier out of Afghanistan, is now preparing to take command of the 18th Airborne Corps once the corps’ current commander, Lt. Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, takes over as head of U.S. Central Command. 

The 7th Army Training Command (7th ATC) Commander then-Brig. Gen. Christopher C. LaNeve, speaks during an air assault course graduation ceremony for U.S. Soldiers and Airmen assigned to various units from all over Europe at 7th ATC Tower Barracks, Grafenwoehr, Germany, Sept. 21, 2018. (U.S. Army/Gertrud Zach)

LaNeve takes over the 82nd as thousands of paratroopers remain in Poland, deployed in the weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. The 82nd Airborne Division makes up the core of the Immediate Response Force, which can deploy within hours anywhere in the world. Every six months a brigade within the division becomes “IRF 1,” meaning they will be the first brigade to be called on to deploy. 

The unit has been busy in recent years, having deployed three times in the last two years, which one division spokesman called “unheard of.” 

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Paratroopers with the 1st Brigade Combat Team were notified that they’d be rapidly deploying on New Year’s Eve in 2019, following an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq by a pro-Iranian militia. In June 2020, the same brigade was sent to Washington, D.C., amid civil unrest after the killing of George Floyd. And then last August, more paratroopers were sent to Afghanistan as the U.S. withdrew troops and began evacuating civilians. 

“We’re always ready,” said Capt. Darren Cinatl, deputy spokesman of the division. “It literally just takes a phone call.” 

Paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and Polish soldiers assigned to the 21st Rifle Brigade watch a U.S. HH-60 Blackhawk helicopter land during a multi-national training event in Nowa Deba, Poland, Feb. 22, 2022. (U.S. Army/Master Sgt. Alexander Burnett)

This isn’t LaNeve’s first time with the 82nd Airborne, nicknamed the All-American Division. He has previously served as the division’s deputy commander for operations. He has also served in Germany as the head of 7th Training Command under U.S. Army Europe.

His official biography lists assignments in the 101st Airborne Division, 10th Mountain Division, and 1st Armored Division. His military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and Ranger Tab.

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