FORT BRAGG, NC- Paratroopers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division welcomed their new commander Col. Theodore W. Kleisner during a change of command ceremony at the Hall of Heroes on Fort Bragg, NC, Jan. 11, 2021. Kleisner relieved Col. Andrew O. Saslav as the brigade commander.
Kleisner, a Savannah, Georgia native and United States Military Academy at West Point graduate, previously served as the commander of the United States European Command Levant Future Operations Planning Branch. Kleisner is a father of three and married to Susan Kleisner.
“To assume command of 1st Brigade is an awesome mandate that I humbly accept, and I accept with excitement,” said Kleisner.
Saslav, the outgoing brigade commander, is a native of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey and a graduate of George Washington University. Saslav, prior to serving as the commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, served as an operations officer in the 4th Infantry Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado. During his tenure as brigade commander, Saslav led the ‘Devil Brigade’ during their historic no-notice deployment to the Central Command theater of operations, marking the first combat deployment of the Immediate Response Force in 30 years.
“Commanding the ‘Devils in Baggy Pants’ has been the honor of my professional life,” said Saslav during his farewell speech. “It is very simply the most rewarding and humbling thing the Army has ever passed upon me.”
Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commanding general of the 82nd Abn. Div., expressed his gratitude for Saslav’s and Kleisner’s leadership in the division, and his excitement for the incoming brigade commander.
“Today we recognize two incredible leaders,” said Donahue. “We look forward to Kleisner taking this brigade to the next level.”