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Fort Benning and the Maneuver Center of Excellence formally welcomed the 55th Infantry School commandant and Chief of Infantry Brig. Gen. James Rainey during an Aug. 1 ceremony at Derby Auditorium.
His most recent assignment was as the 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.
He also has past experience with Fort Benning, as he attended the Infantry Advanced Course here and later served as a rifle platoon leader and company executive officer in 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.
"I love Fort Benning," Rainey said. "It's really where I fell in love with the Army. I learned how to be a Soldier here. I learned how to be a leader here. I learned how to be an officer here. My wife and I were married here. She loves it, which is always a good thing when your wife likes where you're going in the Army. The people are great. It's a patriotic part of America, and the surrounding community is incredibly supportive of the men and women who serve."
Rainey was commissioned as an Infantry officer upon his graduation from Eastern Kentucky University in 1987 and has served during numerous deployments in the more than 25 years since. Over the course of his career, Rainey has earned numerous awards and citations including the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal with five oak leaf clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge and Ranger Tab.
Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, MCoE commanding general, said those experiences will be instrumental in shaping the direction of the Infantry School, MCoE and the rest of the Army.
"When I look out right now as I look out at the future, I see the future as being filled with complex challenges," Miller said. "I think it looks as complex as I've ever seen it in 31 years of military service for a lot of reasons. ... We're making recommendations on force design and combat developments that will enable our Soldiers to fight and win on future battlefields. We've got to get that as close to right as possible.
"This is the guy you need to help us do that. When you look back on what he has done in his past, he has joint experience, he has quite a bit of operational experience, he's been on the light side of the war, he's been on the heavy side of the war and he's commanded battalions and brigades in combat. ... When I look at the challenges and what's in front of us, this is the absolute right guy to take us into the future."
Rainey agreed and said his most recent assignment was one of the most important of his career.
"Every Soldier's job, no matter what he or she does, is critical, but I really think the work we're doing in TRADOC and here at the MCoE and the Infantry School at this point in the time in the history of our country and our Army is the most important work that we're doing." Rainey said. "I just am humbled and honored to have a chance to be part of that as we all work together to figure out the future of the Army and make a bunch of hard decisions to make sure that we're using the resources we're given in the best possible way."