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NEWS | April 24, 2023

DiNonno to succeed Rhodes as 29th Infantry Division commanding general

By Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

Brig. Gen. Joseph A. DiNonno has been selected to succeed Maj. Gen. John M. Rhodes as the commanding general of the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division, according to an announcement made April 21, 2023, by Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. A change of command ceremony is schedule for Aug. 5 at Fort Belvoir. “Please join me in congratulating Brig. Gen. DiNonno on his selection to the serve as the next commanding general of the 29th Infantry Division,” Williams said in his announcement. “He is a proven leader who brings a broad range of experience including multiple overseas deployments, leading Soldiers in combat and supporting law enforcement during civil disturbance response operations.” DiNonno has served as the 29th Infantry Division deputy commanding general for operations since September 2020, and he served in command and staff positions at every level of the Virginia Army National Guard including command and the squadron and brigade level. Williams explained DiNonno was selected after going through the board process all eight National Guard divisions have agreed to utilize in order to identify the best talent from across geographic regions. Rhodes will be assigned as the special assistant to the Director of Army National Guard for 18th Airborne Corps Matters effective Sept. 1, 2023. “Maj. Gen. Rhodes has been a magnificent commander who led the 29th through a highly-successful federal active duty mobilization in support of Operation Spartan Shield,” Williams said. “He has also placed the division in solid footing with a higher state of preparedness for potential conflict with near-peer competitors as the Army shifts focus from using modular brigade combat teams in counterinsurgency operations to division-centric operations supporting large-scale combat operations.” Williams said Rhodes embraced and expanded the “aligned for training” construct used by National Guard divisions to develop relationship with units from other states, and Rhodes developed strong relationships with the Adjutants General in those states with an eye on improving readiness and being prepared for future requirements. The 29th ID has three aligned combat arms brigades with the VNG’s 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th IBCT and the Florida Army National Guard’s 53rd IBCT. Biographical summaries: DiNonno graduated from Old Dominion University and commissioned as a second lieutenant in May 1994. During the course of his career, he served in a wide variety of leadership positions including platoon leader, company executive officer, infantry company commander, planner, squadron operations officer, squadron executive officer, infantry brigade executive officer, commander of 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment and commander of 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He mobilized and deployed to Guantanamo Bay in 2002-03 as commander of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, to Kuwait in 2007-08 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as the operations officer of 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, to Iraq in 2011 in support of Operation New Dawn as the executive officer of 2-183rd Cavalry and to Joint Training Center Zarqa in Jordan in 2021 as the 29th ID deputy commanding general operations in support of Task Force Spartan and Operation Enduring Freedom. DiNonno holds a Juris Doctor from Regent Law School, a Masters in Strategic Studies from the Army War College and a Bachelor of Science from Old Dominion University, and his military achievements include earning the U.S. Army Ranger Tab, Expert Infantryman Badge, Airborne Badge and Air Assault Badge. Rhodes took command of the 29th Infantry Division from Maj. Gen. John M. Epperly Oct. 3, 2020, and he led the division during the 9-month deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility as the headquarters of Task Force Spartan, which exercises command and control of Operation Spartan Shield. He was commissioned a second lieutenant, Infantry in May 1987 through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Mississippi State University. Prior to transferring to the Virginia Army National Guard in 2018, he served as Mississippi National Guard Assistant Adjutant General – Army and the commander of the 66th Troop Command. He also commanded a Joint Task Force in response to natural and man-made contingencies in support of homeland security and defense operations. From 2010-2013, he served as the commander of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team. His combat assignments include mortar platoon leader for the 6th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, commander of 1st Battalion, 155th Infantry Regiment, 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team during Operation Iraqi Freedom III in 2005, and deputy commander of 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team during Operation Iraqi Freedom 9.2 in 2009-2010. Rhodes earned a Bachelor of Business Education from Mississippi State University in 1987, a Masters of Business Administration, Military Management from Touro University International in 2003 and Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College in 2010.  

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