Spirit of Wonder in Alumni: Maj. Gen. Chris LaNeve ’89

Fall 2023
Photo of Army Major General Chris Laneve '89 saluting.

Photo provided by U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division

MAJ. GEN. CHRIS LANEVE ’89 didn’t think about becoming a general in his ROTC days. And if someone had suggested it? “I would have said, ’You gotta be kidding.’”

Today, his portrait hangs in the Army section of the University of Arizona’s South Hall alongside images of other alumni who are distinguished Army generals.

LaNeve has fond memories of his time on campus — including meeting his wife.

“One day, I met Kim in the Spring Fling office in the Student Union. She was a year ahead of me, working with the business side of Spring Fling,” he says. “I said something to her that I thought was smart. She says it was not very smart. We disagree on who finally asked whom out; I say she asked me.”

LaNeve, who commands 19,000 paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Liberty in North Carolina, served multiple combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He took command of the division in Poland during the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022, guiding 5,000 paratroopers.

LaNeve earned three Bronze Star medals for meritorious service during multiple deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. His military awards also include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with the Silver Oak Leaf Cluster and the Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge and Ranger Tab.

He still dons his parachute for an occasional parachute jump with the other paratroopers he commands. It’s part of his formula for military leadership, he says: “Never ask your troops to do what you wouldn’t do.”

“Guns and leaders should get up front,” LaNeve says. “Lead from the front. It’s not just being there — it’s knowing your people and letting them know you care about them. Then, everything else is pretty easy.”

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