Erik Kurilla Biography: A Life of Service in the United States Army

About GENERAL ERIK KURILLA Commander, United States Central Command

Name Erik Kurilla
Born May 16, 1966
Hometown Elk River, Minnesota
Education
United States Military Academy, West Point (B.S. in Aerospace Engineering); Regis University (MBA); National War College (M.S. in National Security Studies)
Military
Commissioned into the Infantry from the United States Military Academy, West Point in 1988; led Airborne, Mechanized, Stryker, Ranger, and Joint Special Operations units during combat and operational deployments including Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Uphold Democracy, Operation Joint Guardian, Operation Joint Resolve, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Inherent Resolve; previously commanded 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry (Stryker), 2nd Ranger Battalion, the 75th Ranger Regiment, the 82nd Airborne Division, and the XVIII Airborne Corps
Awards and decorations
Combat Infantryman Badge with Star, Master Parachutist Badge with Combat Jump Device, Ranger Tab, and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster
Family Married to Mary Paige and has two daughters

Erik Kurilla Biography

General Michael “Erik” Kurilla hails from Elk River, Minnesota, and began his military journey by being commissioned into the Infantry from the United States Military Academy, West Point in 1988. Over the course of his illustrious career, he has demonstrated leadership in various units, including Airborne, Mechanized, Stryker, Ranger, and Joint Special Operations, during combat and operational missions.

Among the notable operations he has participated in are Operation Just Cause in Panama, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia/Iraq, Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti, Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo-Macedonia, Operation Joint Resolve in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq. From 2004 to 2014, General Kurilla dedicated his time to leading conventional and special operations forces in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.

Throughout his career, General Kurilla has held significant command positions, including 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry (Stryker), 2nd Ranger Battalion, the 75th Ranger Regiment, the 82nd Airborne Division, and the XVIII Airborne Corps. In addition to his command roles, he has served in various capacities, such as the Director of Operations and Assistant Commanding General for Joint Special Operations Command, Deputy Commanding General for the 1st Infantry Division, Joint Staff Deputy Director for Special Operations and Counter-Terrorism, and Chief of Staff for U.S. Central Command.

General Kurilla’s distinguished service has earned him numerous awards and decorations, including the Combat Infantryman Badge with Star, Master Parachutist Badge with Combat Jump Device, Ranger Tab, and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. He has an educational background, holding a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the United States Military Academy, West Point, an M.B.A from Regis University, and an M.S. in National Security Studies from the National War College.

Beyond his military accomplishments, General Kurilla is a family man, married to Mary Paige, with whom he has two daughters.

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