Former Fort Benning chief of staff to return to post as commanding general

Military

A former Fort Benning chief of staff will be returning to the Maneuver Center of Excellence as its new commanding general, the U.S. Army announced late Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Donahoe, who left Fort Benning less than four years ago, has been tabbed to replace Maj. Gen. Gary M. Brito.

Donahoe is currently deputy commanding general for operations, Eighth Army in South Korea.

“My family and I are thrilled to be rejoining the Benning team and the Columbus community,” Donahoe said in response to a question from News 3 to his Twitter account. “It will be great to come home.”

Brito’s future plans have not been announced, a Fort Benning spokesman said Thursday morning.

It is not clear when Donahoe will assume command. The Army is currently on a stop-move order because of the Coronavirus outbreak. That is scheduled to end May 7.

From September 2014 until 2016, Donahoe was the 57th chief of staff at Fort Benning. He served the bulk of his tenure under then Maj. Gen. Scott Miller. The final few months that Donahoe was at Fort Benning, then Maj. Gen. Eric Wesley was in charge.

Donahoe and his family, his wife Theresa, and their three daughters, Peyton, Brenna, and Delaney. Left Fort Benning in August 2016 to go to Fort Drum, N.Y., where he served as the deputy commanding general for operations and acting senior commander, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York.

At the time he left Benning he was a colonel. Since then Donahoe has been collecting stars.

Donahoe came out of the ROTC program at Villanova University in 1989. He holds a  Bachelor of Arts in History, a Masters of Advanced Military Studies, and a Masters of National Security and Strategic Studies.

Donahoe is active on social media, especially Twitter, which runs counter the military command culture. 

In a Task&Purpose.com article last year, the general explained why he engages on Twitter.

One of the reasons is because it exposes him to viewpoints he otherwise could miss out on, the publication reported.

Because of his rank, he’s insulated from the views, complaints, and opinions from lower-ranking soldiers. But with Twitter, he’s able to get unfiltered perspectives, straight from the source, according to Task&Purpose.

“What I enjoy following [@LadyLovesTaft] is she’s got a perspective that I don’t have,” Donahoe said at AUSA. “I’ve never been a female lieutenant in the United States Army, I’ve never had that experience … those really are valuable insights for us. What is it that a female lieutenant in uniform in a combat arms unit faces on a daily basis? I got nothing, other than what’s being reported through 42 filters. This is unfiltered, unvarnished. Sometimes it’s rosy, sometimes it’s ugly, but it’s real and there’s value in getting reality”

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