News: New commander takes charge of Third ID
Story by Sgt. Emily Knitter
FORT STEWART, Ga. - As the sun blazed upon the crowd, Fort Stewart celebrated its proverbial changing of the guard on Cottrell Field, Aug. 2.
Hundreds of soldiers stood proudly across the field as Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams handed the division’s colors to Maj. Gen. John Murray as a symbol of the change of command. Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps, presided over the ceremony.
The ceremony could not be completed though, until Abrams and Command Sgt. Maj. Edd Watson first uncased the division's colors, indicating the division is officially home from Afghanistan.
In his farewell speech, Abrams described the countless missions the division had completed during the past two years.
“We are able to pull of such varied missions because we have tough, disciplined soldiers able to adjust to any mission, who specialize in nothing, but are prepared to meet the demands of anything.” Then, in a lighthearted manner, he continued, “When the zombie apocalypse unexpectedly hits earth, I expect Marne soldiers will be able to run, jump, lift, power, carry, pull, climb, bounce and coordinate their way to survival and they will lead the rest of America.”
After the laughter died down, he continued in a serious tone.
“There are 5,000 plus dog-faced soldiers serving in harms way today,” he said. “You can see their colors cased on the field today. I ask that you keep them in your prayers.”
Abrams and Murray have more in common than the Marne Division, they are also good friends.
“General Murray’s a great soldier,” remarked Maj. Gen. Abrams. “He’s a great leader. And I can think of no other leader anywhere in the Army that I’d rather turn those colors to today.”
Abrams is headed to the Pentagon. President Obama nominated him last week to become senior military assistant to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. After Abrams bid his final farewell to the attendees, the new Third Infantry Division commander took the podium.
“The pride everyone has in this installation is clear,” Murray began. “I would like to thank everyone who had a hand in giving me the privilege of commanding this great division. This division and our Army will face some significant challenges in the next few years. Together, as the team of teams, we will tackle those in a way that will only build upon the legacy of our dog-faced veterans.”
Drawing the ceremony to a close, Murray only had one simple sentence.
“From this day forward I am proud to say, 'My name is Murray, and I am a dog-faced soldier.'”