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First Name: David

Last Name: Rodriguez

Birthplace: West Chester, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: West Chester, PA
Middle Name: Mitchell

Date of Birth: 18 October 1954

Rank: General

Years Served: 1976-2016
David Mitchell Rodriguez

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1976

•  Gulf War (1990 - 1991)
•  Afghanistan War (Operation Enduring Freedom) (2001 - present)
•  Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) (2003 - 2011)


David M. Rodriguez
General, U.S. Army

David M. Rodriguez was born on 18 October 1954 in West Chester, PA.

He graduated from West Chester Henderson High School (Pennsylvania) in 1972, where he was remembered as "a good student, not a great student," and a football defensive end who had issues with authority but also the potential to be an outstanding leader. Asked in 2010 how he got into the U.S. Military Academy with his lackluster grades, he replied, "It was 1972....I did good on tests."

Upon graduating from West Point in 1976, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Armor in the Army and spent the next three years in 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Polk, LA. There he served as Rifle Platoon Leader in A Company from July 1977 to June 1978; as Scout Platoon Leader in the Combat Support Company from June 1978 to January 1979; as Motor Officer from January 1979 to June 1979; and as Executive Officer of the Combat Support Company from June 1979 to May 1980.

He was a student in the Armor Officer Advanced Course at the U.S. Army Armor School at Fort Knox, KY, from May to December 1980, then was stationed in Germany for three years with the 1st Armored Division where he served as Commander of B Company, 1st Battalion, 52nd Infantry from July 1981 to February 1983; as Assistant S-3 (Air) for 3rd Brigade from February to June 1983; and as S-3 (Operations) for 1st Battalion, 52nd Infantry from June 1983 to April 1984.

Returning to the U.S., he spent three years with the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, GA, serving as Assistant S-3 (Operations) from July 1984 to August 1985 before joining 3rd Battalion as Liaison Officer from August 1985 to June 1986, and as Commander of B Company from July 1986 to June 1987.

From August to May 1989 he was a student at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS, then served as Chief of Doctrine Development in the G-3 (Plans) Section of the XVIII Airborne Corps staff at Fort Bragg, NC, from June 1989 to April 1990. From April 1990 to March 1992 he was assigned as S-3 (Operations) and later Executive Officer of 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, both at Fort Bragg and deployed to Saudi Arabia as parts of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

He served in South Korea from March 1992 to February 1994 as Joint Exercise Officer and later Executive Officer in the Exercise Division of the C-3/J-3/G-3 section of the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea staff. He then returned to the U.S. to serve as commander of 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), at Fort Campbell, KY, from April 1994 to April 1996, then attended the U.S. Naval War College at Newport, RI, from July 1996 to June 1997.

He returned to Fort Bragg in August 1997, where he Commanded 2nd Brigade, 82nd Infantry Division, until July 1999, then served as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, XVIII Airborne Corps, until September 2000.

General Officer

From October 2000 to June 2002 he was Deputy Commanding General and Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry Center and School at Fort Benning. He deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom as Assistant Division Commander (Maneuver) for the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), based at Fort Hood, TX.

From June 2003 to March 2005 he served as Deputy Director for Regional Operations in the J-3 Section of the Joint Staff in Washington, DC. In February 2005, he was selected to be the first Commander, Multi-National Division Northwest - Iraq (MND-NW), a newly created post. He commanded MND-NW from April 2005 to January 2006, then spent a month as Special Assistant to the Commander of Multi-National Corps - Iraq.

Commanding General, 82nd Airborne Division

In April 2006 he succeeded Major General William B. Caldwell IV as Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division. He deployed with the Division to Afghanistan in February 2007, where he also Commanded Combined Joint Task Force-76, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, and Regional Command East, International Security Assistance Force.

He relinquished command of the 82nd Airborne Division on 21 July 2008. His tour as Division Commander in eastern Afghanistan had won wide praise as one of the most successful counter-insurgency efforts since violence began to rise there in 2006, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates selected him to be his Senior Military Assistant, for which role Rodriguez was promoted to Lieutenant General on 29 July 2008.

Deputy Commander, International Security Assistance Force

By early May 2009, Rodriguez and Lieutenant General Stanley A. McChrystal were considered the leading candidates to succeed General David D. McKiernan as Senior Military Commander in Afghanistan. McKiernan was fired unexpectedly on 12 May and was replaced by McChrystal as Commander of International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces - Afghanistan. Rodriguez was appointed McChrystal's Deputy, a newly created three-star position designed to handle day-to-day military operations, freeing the four-star commander to concentrate on theater-level issues. According to Gates, "General McChrystal and General Rodriguez bring a unique skill set in counterinsurgency to these issues."

He became the first commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command (IJC) on 12 October 2009. In March 2010, he also became Deputy Commander of U.S. Forces - Afghanistan (USFOR-A). He still retained his position in July 2010 after McChrystal was replaced by Petraeus.

Lieutenant General David M. Rodriguez served as Commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command (IJC) and Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces - Afghanistan (USFOR-A) from March 2010 to 11 July 2011.

Commander, U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM)

Rodriguez was promoted to four-star General on 15 August 2011 and became the 19th Commander, U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, on 12 September 2011. U.S. Army Forces Command, whose headquarters were newly located from Atlanta to Fort Bragg earlier in 2011, is the largest Army command and is responsible for training and preparing soldiers for battle, with deployments to more than 30 nations, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rodriguez said that soldiers today must be trained not only on how to use their weapons and conduct operations, but they must also master an ever-expanding array of high-tech intelligence, surveillance, communications and other equipment. That will be particularly important, Rodriguez said, as forces shift to the hotly contested eastern border region of Afghanistan, where the rugged terrain and often isolated tribal communities force a greater reliance on long-range observation, a stronger link between manned and unmanned surveillance equipment and dependence on a fragile human intelligence network.

"In my first 20 years in the Army we probably got about 20-30 new systems," Rodriguez said. "In 15 months (in Afghanistan) when I was a division commander I got 172 new ones."

On 5 March 2013 the U.S. Senate approved Gen. Rodriguez to take over United States Africa Command from General Carter F. Ham who will retire in 2013.


He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy; a Master of Military Art and Science degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College; and a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

Medals, Awards, Badges & Tabs

Army Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze Star Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Joint Service Achievement Medal
National Defense Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Star
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Star
Iraq Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korea Defense Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon with Award Numeral 2
NATO Medal (Yugoslavia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Army Meritorious Unit Commendation with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Combat Infantryman Badge
Expert Infantryman Badge
Master Parachutist Badge
Air Assault Badge
Office of Secretary of Defense Identification Badge
Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
Ranger Tab


He was inducted into the B. Reed Henderson High School Hall of Fame on 6 April 2010.


Reflecting on his experience, he said, "I always like to tell people that the only person who can make can't come true is you. You have to keep trying - grow and work and learn."


David Rodriguez' wife, Jenny, has been honored by the Army for her role of working with families when he was commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and in Afghanistan as Commander of Combined Joint Task Force 76.

And like Gen. Raymond Odierno, the new and 38th Army Chief of Staff, and retired Gen. David Petraeus, David and Jenny are sending their own children into the military at a time of war.

Their daughter, Amy, is a U.S. Army Captain and West Point graduate serving in the 82nd Airborne Division. Their son, Andrew, is a senior at West Point. At 6-foot-3, 217 pounds, he has been a linebacker and leading tackler on the football team and made A's in all his academic courses. David Rodriguez says Andrew "Takes after his mother."

Honoree ID: 313   Created by: MHOH




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