The Military Army Blog

1-star is first U.S. general to serve in British division

By Michelle Tan, Staff writer 1:14 p.m. EDT September 3, 2015

British Maj. Gen. Patrick Sanders, commander of the 3rd (United Kingdom) Division, welcomes U.S. Brig. Gen. Michael Tarsa, the first American to serve as the deputy commander for the British division.(Photo: Richard Watt/3rd (United Kingdom) Division)

Brig. Gen. Michael Tarsa is now officially the first American general to serve as the deputy commander of the British army s 3rd (United Kingdom) Division. Tarsa, who most recently was the deputy commander for support for the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado, was welcomed into Britain s Iron Division, which has its headquarters at Bulford Camp in Wiltshire, this week.

I wear my nation s uniform as a member of the U.S. Army, but I now have the privilege to be part of the British Army and 3rd United Kingdom Division, Tarsa said when addressing the staff during the welcome ceremony, according to the division s Facebook page[1]. Being selected to serve with the Brits is a distinct honor, he said.

British Maj. Gen. Patrick Sanders, the division commander, welcomed Tarsa to the unit and offered him some advice, according to the Facebook post.

We may use cricket analogies to explain ourselves, one hundred miles is a long way to us, banter is a sign of affection not disrespect, and don t worry if you can t always understand our regional accents, he said. The 3rd (United Kingdom) Division is the only division at continual operational readiness in the U.K., according to the division s website[2]. It is made up of three armored infantry brigades and a logistics brigade. Tarsa s assignment with the Brits is another recent move to strengthen the relationship between the two armies, who fought side-by-side in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In April, the 82nd Airborne Division s 2nd Brigade Combat Team partnered with the United Kingdom s 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, 16 Air Assault Brigade to conduct the largest U.S.-U.K. bilateral airborne training[3] operation to take place on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 20 years. The exercise was part of an interoperability program between the 82nd Airborne Division and the 16 Air Assault Brigade, and is the result of an agreement signed by then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and former U.K. Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall in March 2013. The ongoing U.S.-U.K. partnership is reflected across Europe as well.

Last summer, a German brigadier general assumed duties as the chief of staff for U.S. Army Europe, the first time a non-American officer has held that position. Brig. Gen. Markus Laubentha[4]l previously commanded Germany s 12th Panzer Brigade in Amberg and served as chief of staff of Regional Command-North in Afghanistan. Tarsa is a 1987 West Point graduate who has served multiple tours in Iraq, both during Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also served as the executive officer to Odierno when he was chief of staff. Last fall, when he was with the 4th ID, Tarsa led about 100 soldiers from the division to Europe to participate in Combined Resolve III, a key multinational exercise in Germany.

The 4th ID participated in the exercise as part of its regional alignment with Europe. It is the first Army division to be regionally aligned with U.S. European Command, Tarsa said at the time.

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  1. ^ Facebook page (
  2. ^ division s website (
  3. ^ bilateral airborne training (
  4. ^ Brig. Gen. Markus Laubentha (

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