New Commander for 82nd Airborne

Maj. Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr. will become commander of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, the Pentagon said Friday.

Nicholson is deputy director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization in Arlington, Va., and previously served as deputy chief of staff of operations for the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces- Afghanistan.

He will replace Maj. Gen. James L. Huggins Jr., who earlier this month was nominated for a promotion and a job in Washington.

Huggins, who is serving in Afghanistan as commander of Regional Command South, was nominated for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, according to a news release.

He's also up for assignment as deputy chief of staff for operations and plans for the Army.

Nicholson joined the Army in 1982 after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He has previously served within the 10th Mountain Division and the 2nd Infantry Division.

Nicholson's awards and decorations include two Defense Superior Service Medals, three Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, four Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, the Combat Infantryman Badge with star, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Ranger Tab, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge and the Army Staff Identification Badge.

Also Friday, the Department of Defense announced that Maj. Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III, deputy commander of Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, will become commander of Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan/North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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