A 101st Airborne Veteran Takes Over Command Of His Old Division | Nashville Public Radio

A 101st Airborne Veteran Takes Over Command Of His Old Division

Jan 18, 2017

The 101st Airborne gets a new commander Thursday. Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky is moving on after multiple deployments, including one to Liberia to help contain the ebola outbreak. Most recently, he's returned from leading troops in Iraq as they train local forces to defeat ISIS.

The incoming commander is a veteran of the 101st. Maj. Gen. Andrew Poppas has spent nearly 30 years in the Army, toggling between assignments with the 101st Airborne and the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg.

At Fort Campbell, Poppas led the division's 1st Brigade in Afghanistan — an assignment for which he was given the Legion of Merit award from the Pentagon.

He is a highly decorated officer, including a literal handful of Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.

Commanding the 101st Airborne is often seen as a proving ground before rising to the highest echelons of the Army. Gen. John Campbell, who recently retired, oversaw all forces in Afghanistan as his last assignment. Former CIA director David Petraeus did a tour leading troops at Fort Campbell.

The Army says Maj. Gen. Volesky will soon be promoted to Lieutenant General and lead the I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Poppas assumes command of the 101st Airborne at a ceremony scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m., which is scheduled to be broadcast via Facebook Live.