Story by Liesel Schmidt | Photography courtesy of Fort Campbell
Despite the fact that the position as Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell he now fills is a new one, Brian Winski is hardly a new face at Fort Campbell, as the highly decorated Major General served and deployed with numerous Fort Campbell units over the course of his career, acting as commanding officer of the 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, and the 101st Airborne Division both at home and during deployments. Clearly, he knows the workings on post intimately; and in his new station as the 47th commanding general of the storied 101st, he’ll be highly focused on keeping his Screaming Eagles at peak performance and ready for whatever comes their way.
“Our mission is to be ready, and my commitment is just that,” Winski says. “Whenever and wherever the 101st is called…we'll be trained and ready for what awaits us. Screaming Eagle soldiers have always struck fear into the hearts of our enemies, and we will continue to do so. [Those] who have gone before us have forged an unparalleled history of valor and honor, and we will continue that legacy of valor and honor every day."
Coming from a military family, Winski’s enlistment in the Army Reserves at the age of 17 could be considered fated; but when he joined, it was more than an act of following expectations. It was a personal mission, a choice that ran deep in his veins and created a passion to pursue the greater good.
“I was drawn to the military at a very early age,” explains the 52 year-old Wisconsin native, whose father and mother both served in branches of the military. “I wanted to protect our country and our way of life and to be part of something bigger than myself.”
Going on to serve in the Reserves and the National Guard while he attended college, Winski joined the Army as an officer in 1989; and from there, his career took him to 13 different duty stations to serve in and lead various units all over the country. Now back to assume leadership at Fort Campbell, he will be “responsible for the 18,500 soldiers of the 101st, the 25,000 soldiers stationed on Fort Campbell, and the 45,000 family members that call Fort Campbell and the surrounding communities home.”
It’s a major mission for this major general, but one he’s passionate about fulfilling; and he’s planning to make his soldiers the best they can be. “For the 101st, my vision is that we remain the world's premier Air Assault organization and that we are always at the ready for whatever awaits,” he says. “My mission for Fort Campbell lies in maintaining its standing as one of the Army's premier installations, where tough, realistic training takes place; where readiness is our watchword; where the ability to deploy is unmatched; and where taking care of our soldiers and our families are our top priorities.”