Fort Bragg’s Lt. Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla will take responsibility for all U.S. military operations in the Middle East and neighboring nations in the coming weeks.
The U.S. Senate voted unanimously to confirm Kurilla’s nomination to lead U.S. Central Command and be promoted to a four-star general.
According to the Pentagon, he will soon replace Gen. Kenneth McKenzie of the Marine Corps, who has commanded CENTCOM since 2019. McKenzie is retiring in April.
Kurilla is the commander of the 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg. He is a West Point graduate who led special operations and conventional forces in Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan. He previously commanded the 82nd Airborne Division, the elite 75th Ranger Regiment and its 2nd Battalion. He has also served as the assistant commander of Joint Special Operations Command and as the Pentagon’s deputy director for special operations and counterterrorism.
Kurilla is currently deployed to Germany, leading a task force of troops helping NATO allies in the unfolding Ukraine-Russia conflict.
Army Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue was confirmed by Senate to be promoted to lieutenant general and take command of the 18th Airborne Corps in Kurilla’s place. Donahue, the current 82nd Airborne Division commander, is also deployed to Europe in response to the Ukraine crisis.
Photo Credit: Lt. Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps, gives a speech at the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) change of command, March 5, 2021, at the division parade field, Fort Campbell, Ky. Kurilla spoke on the great work that Maj. Gen. Brian Winski achieved and how he’s excited to see what Maj. Gen. JP McGee will accomplish.