Fort Benning welcomes new infantry chief and commandant

Fort Benning welcomes Brig. Gen. James E. Rainey, the incoming commandant and chief of infantry, to the post during a Friday ceremony at McGinnis-Wickam Hall.

The 3 p.m. ceremony will be held in Derby Auditorium.

Rainey assumes the position formerly held by Col. Robert Choppa who retired from active duty in early June after 30 years of service.

Rainey comes to Fort Benning after serving as deputy commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division and deputy commander for maneuver, regional command south, International Security Assistance North Atlantic Treaty Organization for Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University in 1987, Rainey was commissioned as an infantry officer upon graduation. He also earned a master’s degree in military arts and science from the School of Advanced Military Studies and a second master’s degree in public administration from Troy University.

Some of Rainey’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal. He also was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge and the Ranger Tab.

Rainey is the second change of the command staff announced at Fort Benning. Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commander of the maneuver Center of Excellence, assumed duties from Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster on July 11. McMaster is deputy commanding general and futures director at the Army Capabilities Integration Center, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Eustis, Va.

Brig. Gen. Dennis S. McKean is expected to arrive at Fort Benning soon to assume the duties formerly held by Brig. Gen. Leopoldo A. Quintas, chief of the U.S. Armor School at Fort Benning.