FORT BENNING, Ga. – The Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning changed command July 17.
Incoming Commanding General Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Donahoe assumed command of the Army’s center of gravity for producing combat-ready Soldiers from Maj. Gen. Gary M. Brito, outgoing commanding general, during a ceremony on York Field.
Lt. Gen. James E. Rainey, commanding general of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and deputy commanding general of Combined Arms, Training and Doctrine Command, was the reviewing officer.
Rainey told those gathered in the socially distanced ceremony that Donahoe is the perfect person to take the baton from Brito and keep moving.
“(Donahoe’s) probably the one of the best, if not the best, leader development officer we have in the general officer corps,” Rainey said. “He’s a phenomenal trainer and those are exactly the reasons why he is here. He will continue to develop leaders and drive change for the Army.”
Donahoe is no stranger to MCoE and Fort Benning. He served here as the director of Training and Doctrine, and then as chief of staff.
In August 2016, he left Georgia and moved to Fort Drum, New York, to become the deputy commander of 10th Mountain Division (Light). Deploying to Afghanistan in November 2016 for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, he served as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Resolute Support Mission director, CJ-5. In November 2017, he became the deputy commanding general of 10th Mountain Division. He’s returning to Fort Benning after serving as the deputy commanding general (Operations) of 8th Army in the Republic of Korea.
“It’s great to be home,” Donahoe said. “To the representative formation of the Soldiers on field, we’re thrilled to be back here and stand in your ranks.”
Brito is moving to the Pentagon to become the deputy chief of staff, G-1, and will be promoted to lieutenant general when he starts the new job.
During Rainey’s remarks, he spoke of Brito’s accomplishments – successfully extending one-station unit training to 22 weeks, modernizing training, leader development, functional training and managing the Coronavirus.
“I think you and your team have done the best in the whole Army at responding to this COVID crisis,” Rainey said. “Balancing protecting the force but continuing … to generate combat power, leadership and lethality out of this place is a mission essential task and you’ve done a phenomenal job at that.”
Brito thanked the Fort Benning team.
“There’s no way that I could mention every name, whether Soldier or civilian, that daily make this team great and make it successful,” Brito said, singling out recent inductees to the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club, the drill sergeant, instructor and victim advocate of the year as examples of the excellence.