Lieutenant General Stephen J. Townsend commissioned in the Infantry upon graduation from North Georgia College in 1982.
His initial assignment was with the 82d Airborne Division where he served as a Platoon Leader, Executive Officer and assistant S3 in the 2d Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry and deployed for Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada. Next he was assigned to the 7th Infantry Division (Light) at Fort Ord, California where he served as the Battalion S3 of 4th Battalion, 21st Infantry and commanded Alpha Company. LTG Townsend was then reassigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he served as the S3 (Air) and assistant S3 at HQs, 75th Ranger Regiment, deployed for Operation Just Cause, Panama, and commanded Charlie Company, 3d Ranger Battalion.
After Command and General Staff College he returned to Fort Benning where he served as Senior Liaison Officer at Ranger Regiment HQs and S3 of the 3d Ranger Battalion and deployed for Operation Uphold Democracy, Haiti. He was then assigned to United States Pacific Command, Hawaii as a J-5 Action Officer and later as Special Assistant to the Combatant Commander.
Reassigned to Fort Drum, New York, LTG Townsend was S3 of 2d Brigade, 78th Division (Training Support), Fort Drum, New York before taking command of the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, 10th Mountain Division (Light). He led Task Force Polar Bear to Afghanistan for Operation Anaconda. After the War College, LTG Townsend returned to Fort Drum where he served as the Division G3, 10th Mountain Division (Light) and Director of Operations, C/J3, Combined Joint Task Force-180, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan.
LTG Townsend was next assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington, where he commanded 3d Stryker Brigade Combat Team and led Task Force Arrowhead on offensive operations across Iraq. Next, he served as Executive Officer to the Commander, United States Central Command, Tampa, Florida. LTG Townsend then served as the Senior Commander at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and later Deputy Commanding General (Operations), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and CJTF-101 in Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. After serving as the Director of the Pakistan/Afghanistan Coordination Cell, Joint Staff, Washington, DC. LTG Townsend commanded 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York as well as CJTF-10 and Regional Command-East at Bagram, Afghanistan.
LTG Townsend’s education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and two Masters degrees. LTG Townsend has a number of awards and decorations to include the Combat Infantryman Badge (with star), Combat Action Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and Ranger Tab.