With a virtual passing of the colors, Maj. Gen. Christopher T. Donahue and Command Sgt. Maj. David R. Pitt assumed their new positions as the Commanding General and Command Sergeant Major of the 82nd Airborne Division during a change of command and responsibility ceremony July 10 at Fort Bragg.
The duo replaced the outgoing command team, Maj. Gen. James Mingus and Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur (Cliff) Burgoyne.
Lt. Gen. Erik Kurilla, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps, presided over the ceremony, conducted without troops due to COVID-19 safety restrictions.
He lauded the Division’s accomplishments over the last two years.
“These two leaders have led through the most challenging, complex, and, frankly, surprising periods of change, ambiguity, and instability we’ve seen since 9/11,” said Kurilla.
Mingus, who took command in 2018, said he is grateful to have led the finest organization in the Army alongside his “battle buddy” Burgoyne.
“Kate and Cliff, you guys have been amazing and dear friends. We couldn’t have asked for better ranger buddies and we wish you all the best at Fort Hood,” said Mingus.
“It has been an honor of a lifetime and an amazing experience to lead this organization for the last two years,” he continued.
Mingus said the thing he was most proud of was the climate, culture, and identity of the 82nd Airborne Division. A climate of team, a culture of excellence and readiness, and an identity as America’s Guard of Honor.
Burgoyne became the Division’s 27th command sergeant major in January of 2019. He referred to the “Paratrooper” as the heart and soul of the division and commended them for their commitment to readiness and the unit’s mission.
“You are the best of what our country has to offer,” said Burgoyne. “There is none better than you, the paratrooper, and we are proud to stand amongst you.”
Both men agreed that they wouldn’t have been able to lead the All Americans were it not for their families.
“It’s hard to put into words Amy, Zoe, Luke, & Nathan. I cannot thank you enough for your love and support, which allowed me to stay focused and ready to lead,” said Mingus.
Burgoyne, too, said his wife Kate, daughter Chandler, and son Trey have given him their undying support every step of his military career.
Kurilla welcomed the incoming command team.
“Right behind these two [Mingus and Burgoyne] come another command team to take the mantle and add their own bricks to this culture of readiness,” he said.
Donahue, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, is a seasoned combat veteran and most recently served as the commander of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan.
“It is absolutely the honor of my career to serve in and command this historic division,” he said.
After assuming command, he thanked the Soldiers, their families and vowed the Division would remain ready to jump, fight, and win when the Nation called.
“We will ensure that we can alert, deploy, and go anywhere in the world – accomplish any mission, and win,” said Donahue. “Whatever the nation needs.”
A long-time Paratrooper and native of Bronx N.Y., Pitt thanked a long list of mentors and family who guided and challenged him throughout his career. He said it was not lost on him whose shoulders he stood on.
Donahue was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Infantry Branch in 1992 from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He has served in a wide variety of leadership positions including assignments within U.S. Army Special Operations Command, deputy commanding general (maneuver) of the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado, and as the Infantry School Commandant and Director of the Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Pitt most recently served as the senior enlisted advisor to the director of training, Headquarters Department of the Army G-3/5/7. He has held leadership positions at every level including the First Sergeant of Alpha Company 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Abn. Div., Command Sergeant Major of 1st Battalion, 335th Infantry Regiment, and as the Fort Polk, Louisiana Garrison Command Sergeant Major.
Feature photo: Command Sgt. Maj. David Pitt, the 82nd Airborne Division command sergeant major, gives remarks during the 82nd Abn. Div. Change of Command and Change of Responsibility Ceremony on Fort Bragg, July 10, 2020. Photo by Master Sgt. Alexander Burnett.