Fort Benning’s first African American commanding general departs for Pentagon

Fort Benning’s first African American commanding general departs for Pentagon
Fort Benning’s first African American commanding general departs for Pentagon (Source: WTVM)

FORT BENNING, Ga. (WTVM) - The change of command ceremony took place Friday morning at Fort Benning’s Maneuver Center of Excellence with Maj. Gen. Gary Brito passing the baton to Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahoe.

Brito is headed to the pentagon in Washington, D.C. to become the deputy chief of staff, G-1, and will be promoted to lieutenant general when he starts the new job.

Before Brito handed things off to his successor, he sat down for a one-on-one interview about some pressing issues facing the nation.

The coronavirus hit the United States during Brito’s second anniversary as Fort Benning’s commanding general. He’s said it continues to be a challenge for Fort Benning and all military installations.

“A big part of the job, initially up front, just was understanding the science and the impact it would have on soldiers, our families, retirees, and all the beneficiaries that work with us as well,” Brito explained.

“A lot of that early up front was just going hard on post and mandating essential activities only, the wearing of the face masks or medical mask, if you should have. Some of the simple things we as individuals can do--washing your hands and maintaining the six feet,” added Brito.

Brito is now heading to the nation’s capitol and as the first African American commanding general at Fort Benning, Brito said he’d like to see more minority leaders in the military.

“I think it’s very important for young soldiers and leaders of all ranks to be able to look and see leaders who look like them. We represent all of America,” he said.

And with racism at the forefront of the nation right now, Brito said they need to listen to people and collective groups who have a voice to make the right decisions.

“If it’s ugly, look at it and deal with it and chart a path ahead for our future so we can all enjoy the prosperity that we all want,” he said.

Brito also gave some advice for minorities who want to follow in his footsteps one day. He said work hard for any goal you want to achieve, don’t except no, and get it done.

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