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Posted: August 18, 2017 8:45 a.m.
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3rd ID assumes command

Photo by Ellen Lovett, USFOR-A/

Maj. Gen. Lee Quintas, Commander of the 3rd Inf. Div and 3rd ID Division Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Major. Daniel Hendrex uncase the 3rd ID colors during the Transfer of Authority ceremony, Aug 16. The Division will be deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan for nine months as the support element to USFOR-A mission.

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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN - The 3rd Infantry Division added another milestone to its historic, 100-year-old legacy when Maj. Gen. Lee  Quintas, Commander of the 3rd ID and Maj. Gen. John Thomson, Commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, conducted a transfer of authority ceremony, Aug. 16.   

The ceremony, attended by several key U.S. and Afghan military and civilian leaders, signified the fulfillment of the 1st Cavalry Division’s yearlong mission and the relinquishing of all duties and responsibilities to the Dog Face Soldiers of the 3rd ID, who will pick up and carry on the U.S. Forces - Afghanistan mission. 

 “This is an outstanding command team we are saying farewell to,” said Gen. John W. Nicholson, Commander of Resolute Support, to the gathered and overflowing ceremony crowd. “The number of people here today - it’s about great respect and to say thanks to you for the great job that you all did. Thank you for your teamwork, partnership and your sacrifices - to the people of Afghanistan - but to all of us. I’m incredibly impressed with the job [Maj. Gen Thomson’s] team has done here.”

The Afghan Minister of Defense, Mr. Tariq Shah Bahrami, echoed Nicholson’s sentiments and gave his and his country’s own gratitude to the outgoing leaders and Soldiers. 

“On behalf the Ministry of Defense and for all Afghan people, thank you for all your service. The People of Afghanistan will never forget the mission of Resolute Support.”  

During their near 12 months serving under Operation Freedom's Sentinel the 1st Cav. Div. distinguished themselves as skilled and astute Soldiers.  They developed and implemented new and consolidated force protection measures throughout Bagram Airfield, which ended previously outdated and erroneous measures.   

Nicholson also stated that the 1st Cav. Div. contributed to the delivery of thousands of pounds of humanitarian aid such as medical supplies, clothing and non-perishable foods.    

Picking up where the 1st Cav. Div. left off will not be difficult for the Rock of the Marne Soldiers.  Over the last 100 years since its creation at Camp Green, North Carolina in November, 1917 the Division has made a name for itself and is known for having one of the most successful combat records of any U.S. Army division.  The unit also has long line of historic leaders and Soldiers, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower and Audi Murphy, who had a strong adherence to standards.  That sense of pride in standards and discipline continues on today.  

For the next nine months, the 3rd Inf. Div. will honor the past by being dedicated to the USFOR-A mission; supporting functions and operations at the Bagram Air Field and three Train, Advise and Assist Commands in the East, South-East and South.  The support to BAF alone - the largest military base in Afghanistan – ranges from in and out processing Soldiers to and from Afghanistan and providing force protection for a joint compound.  

“The fight against terrorism is the most important in the world and for humanity,” Nicholson said, in his welcome to the Dog Face Soldiers, who are returning to Afghanistan for the third time.  “I have great confidence in that of the Marne Team.” 

Assisting the command’s confidence was the successful mission hand-off.  

“Because of you JT, your professionalism and dedication to the mission, this have been the best transition I’ve ever experienced,” said Quintas to his fellow division commander. “Thanks to you and the troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division and the entire USFOR-A team, you have set the conditions for our success.” 

With their patch ceremonies completed and their 1st Cav. Div. Soldiers redeployed to Fort Hood, Texas, the current Dog Face Soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division serving in Operation Freedom Sentinel will now take their turn and add to their century of history. 


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