General Michael “Erik” Kurilla is from Elk River, Minnesota and commissioned into the Infantry from the United States Military Academy, West Point in 1988. Throughout his career, he has led Airborne, Mechanized, Stryker, Ranger and Joint Special Operations units during combat and operational deployments including Operation Just Cause (Panama), Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm (Saudi Arabia/Iraq), Operation Uphold Democracy (Haiti), Operation Joint Guardian (Kosovo-Macedonia), Operation Joint Resolve (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq), Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), and Operation Inherent Resolve (Iraq). General Kurilla spent every year from 2004 - 2014 leading conventional and special operations forces in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.
General Kurilla previously commanded 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry (Stryker), 2nd Ranger Battalion, the 75th Ranger Regiment, the 82nd Airborne Division, and the XVIII Airborne Corps.
In addition to command assignments as a General Officer, General Kurilla served as the Director of Operations and Assistant Commanding General for Joint Special Operations Command, Deputy Commanding General for the 1st Infantry Division, Joint Staff Deputy Director for Special Operations and Counter-Terrorism, and Chief of Staff for U.S. Central Command.
General Kurilla’s awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman Badge with Star, Master Parachutist Badge with Combat Jump Device, Ranger Tab, and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. He holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the United States Military Academy, West Point; an M.B.A from Regis University; and a M.S. in National Security Studies from the National War College.
General Kurilla and his wife Mary Paige have two daughters.