US Army General Richardson to MSU-Denver Graduates: Get Involved | News
Recently promoted to commander of United States Southern Command, General Laura Richardson returned to her home state on Friday to encourage graduates of Metropolitan State University in Denver.
She is, after all, a shining example of how far a graduate can go.
Richardson took time out between ceremonies at the Colorado Convention Center on Friday to talk to reporters about her journey to becoming the highest-ranking woman in the military, issues the United States faces in her area of responsibility (South America ) and his thoughts on women not being required to register for the project.
“It’s really an exciting day,” said Richardson. “I pretty much grew up in Metro.
Asked about the secret of her success, she did not hesitate: “Metro!
“It is an absolute pleasure that General Richardson is coming and being our opening speaker,” said MSU Denver President Janine Davidson. “Not only is she a very distinguished alumnus, but she is a role model for our students. They can see what is possible.
Davidson and Richardson had known each other from their time in the Pentagon together, when Davidson was Undersecretary of the Navy.
Richardson was sworn in as the commanding officer of SOUTHCOMM on October 29. She previously served as the Commanding General of US Army North at Joint Base San Antonio. She graduated from what was then Metropolitan State College, or “Metro,” in 1986, after graduating from Northglenn High School. She then graduated from Army Command and Staff College and then from the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security at the University of National Defense. She is married to Lieutenant General Jim Richardson and now lives in Miami.
She said the military’s duties at SOUTHCOMM often involve humanitarian aid, disaster relief and reporting any illegal activity, read drug trafficking, to local authorities.
“We have a great working relationship with everyone,” said Richardson. “I’m not used to such good relations” when it comes to working with Iraq or Afghanistan.
Among the countries in SOUTHCOMM’s area of responsibility, 28 of the 31 are “like-minded democracies,” she said.
“We don’t really do anything alone, the United States, we always do things with our allies and partners,” she said. “These relationships are really strong I’m happy to say, although politically they may not be the best.”
Asked what young people can do to be successful, her advice was simple: ‘get involved’.
“Volunteer. Get out into the community and get to know your community and be a part of your community,” she said. “Get involved. Don’t stay at home alone, on Xbox or whatever… Be part of the change. Help people hear your voice. Join the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, that sort of thing. … Then after you graduate from high school, it’s not like “what am I going to do?” Well shoot, if you got out there and was a part of something while you were in high school you might know the opportunities. “
As recently as last week, the House and Senate armed forces committees omitted a provision from the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act that would have required women to register for the project. . Richardson has indicated it is only a matter of time, but apparently now is not the time.
“I guess our country is not ready for this yet,” she said. “We opened all combat posts to women at the Defense Ministry in 2015.”
Davidson said she was on the National Service Commission and recommended that women be included in the project.
“We felt like the country was ready for this,” Davidson said. “The commission is pretty disappointed, but somehow politically (lawmakers) left it out for another year.”
Richardson also weighed in on another controversial topic: sexual abuse and harassment in the military.
“It’s not just a problem in the military, it’s a problem throughout our society, is it?” We see this and so I am for anything that we think could work to eradicate this. There is no place for it, ”she said. “I look at it like a fratricide. You don’t shoot your mate when you try to qualify your gun, do you? It’s the same kind of thing here… It hurts the preparation. It hurts morale. It breaks the unity.
Richardson said she looks forward to spending the weekend in the state with her parents.