FORT HOOD, Texas (July 10, 2012) -- A rich history is one of many things that make the 1st Cavalry Division what it is today. Their flare of traditional ceremonies when honoring the Cav's Soldiers is another.
America's First Team farewelled Command Sgt. Maj. Isaia Vimoto, former division command sergeant major, Brig. Gen. James Richardson, former deputy commanding general of support, 1st Cav. Div., and hailed Brig. Gen. Laura Richardson, deputy commanding general of support for the division, during a Patch Ceremony, July 5, on Cooper Field.
Vimoto was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal for his accomplishments during his time with the Cav.
"To our First Team Troopers and leaders; I had a blast serving you," Vimoto said. "It has been a blessing serving as your division command sergeant major and I can honestly tell you that I had learned so much by watching you in action both in combat and here at home station."
Also during the ceremony Brig. Gen. James Richardson stepped down as the division's deputy commanding general of support and handed the reins over to his wife Brig. Gen. Laura Richardson.
Brig. Gen. Laura Richardson is also making history for America's First Team and the United States Army. She is the first female deputy commanding general of a maneuver division.
"While I leave the First Team with a heavy heart, I take comfort in the notion that I am not leaving them entirely behind," said Brig. Gen. James Richardson. "Going to III Corps will allow me to continue sharing in the unique community that is Fort Hood."
Brig. Gen. Laura Richardson is coming to the Cav from the United States Army Operational Test Command on West Fort Hood, where she was the commanding general.
"I am truly honored and humbled to join this legendary division, the 1st Cavalry Division, who has served this nation since 1921, building a cavalry heritage rich in pride and tradition." she said.
Brig. Gen. Laura J. Richardson grew up in Colorado and was commissioned a second lieutenant aviation officer upon graduation from Metropolitan State College in Denver.
Brig. Gen. Laura Richardson's first assignment after flight School was in Korea with the 17th Aviation Brigade, where she served as a platoon leader, company executive officer, brigade staff officer and company commander.
She next served at Fort Hood, Texas on the III Corps staff and in the 6th Cavalry Brigade as a company commander and brigade adjutant.
Upon leaving Texas she was assigned to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas serving at the Battle Command Training Program as an observer trainer, followed by attendance to the United States Army Command and General Staff College.
She was next assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky to serve in the 9th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, an assault helicopter battalion, as the operations officer and executive officer. Then she was selected to serve as the military aide to Vice President Al Gore in Washington D.C.
Brig. Gen. Laura Richardson then returned to Fort Campbell, Ky., and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), where she served as the division deputy of operations and following as commander of the 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, an assault helicopter battalion, and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Following her battalion command, she was assigned to the Pentagon on the Army Staff in the operations section and served as deputy director and then director, Army's Transformation Office.
After her Pentagon tour, she attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., and was the garrison commander of Fort Myer, Va., and Fort McNair, Washington D.C. After command she served as the Army's Liaison Officer to the United States Senate.
Her military education includes the Aviation Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Army Rotary Wing Course, UH-60 Black Hawk Course, Air Assault School, Airborne School, United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Her awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal (seven), and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.
"[Laura] brings with her incredible talent and inspiration," said Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi, commanding general of the Cav. "She has masterfully commanded at every level from platoon to brigade and excelled at diverse assignments of strategic influence."
Brig. Gen. James Richardson remains on Fort Hood and is now the deputy commanding general of III Corps.
Vimoto has moved on to Fort Bragg, N.C., where he will be the command sergeant major of the XVIII Airborne Corps.