Listen to Maj. Gen. Sonntag on Episode 11: Capacity And Capability: US Diplomatic And Military Operations In The Horn Of Africa
Maj. Gen. Kurt L. Sonntag is a native of California and a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Maj. Gen. Sonntag began his military career as an Infantry officer in 1986. While in the Infantry, Maj. Gen. Sonntag served as a Bradley platoon leader, scout platoon leader and aviation operations officer with the 2nd Armored Division.
After attending the Infantry Officer Advanced Course and the Special Forces Qualification Course in 1991, Maj. Gen. Sonntag served as a detachment commander, battalion logistics officer, support company commander and company commander in 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. After leaving the 5th Special Forces Group in 1997, Maj. Gen. Sonntag served as a company and battalion observer/controller with the Special Operations Training Detachment at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, Louisiana.
Upon completion of the Naval Command and Staff College at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, in 2000, he returned to the 5th SFG(A) to command another company, serve as a battalion’s executive officer during Operation Enduring Freedom- Afghanistan, and as the 5th SFG (A) executive officer. Maj. Gen. Sonntag also served as the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-West and Arabian Peninsula’s Chief of Staff during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Following a brief assignment as Chief of the Joint and Army Concepts Division, Army Special Operations Battle Lab, Maj. Gen. Sonntag commanded 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) and later served as the operations officer for the United States Army Special Forces Command (Airborne). After fulfilling his United States Army War College requirements in 2009, Maj. Gen. Sonntag deployed to Pakistan to serve as the Special Operations Command Central (Forward)–Pakistan commander in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, with a follow-on assignment as Chief of Staff, USASOC, and later Deputy Commanding General, USASOC. He then served as the Commander, Special Operations Command South, U.S. Southern Command. His most recent assignment was as Commander, Combined Joint Task Force- Horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Maj. Gen. Sonntag holds a Master of Arts in Military History from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana., and a Master of Science in National Security Strategy Studies from the Naval War College. Maj. Gen. Sonntag is also a Harvard Kennedy School National Security Fellow. His military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and numerous other medals and awards.
Maj. Gen. Sonntag is married to the former Deirdre (Dee) Fahey and they have two children.