Marine to serve as AFRICOM’s new senior enlisted leader

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Richard D. Thresher has been selected as the next command senior enlisted leader of U.S. Africa Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany.


By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 10, 2020

STUTTGART, Germany — Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Richard D. Thresher has been tapped to serve as the next senior enlisted leader of U.S. Africa Command, the military announced Thursday.

Thresher will replace Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez, who took on a new job in December as senior enlisted adviser to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

He will take over his new position at AFRICOM’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, at a time when top officials at the command are investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three Americans killed in Sunday’s attack on a military compound in Kenya by terrorists.

On Thursday, AFRICOM’s Gen. Stephen Townsend sent command leaders, including acting senior enlisted leader Master Chief Ryan Burton, to Kenya to get the “ground truth” from troops about the attack by al-Shabab fighters on a military site on the East African country’s coast. When he steps into his new job in Stuttgart, Thresher will likely be part of that investigative effort.

During his 30-year career, Thresher has deployed numerous times, including multiple tours in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to his official Marine biography.

Thresher, who enlisted in the Corps in 1990, is moving to AFRICOM from Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he has served as sergeant major of the II Marine Expeditionary Force since December 2016.

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