Sunday, March 11, 2007

Major General Lynch & The 3rd ID

The unit that America can depend on.

It was a day of celebrations and farewells at Fort Stewart. Four thousand 3rd Infantry Division soldiers have been deployed to Iraq since the first of the year. Another 1,000 soldiers - including the division headquarters- will be leaving by mid-March.

The community and fellow soldiers got a chance Thursday to say thanks to the many going back to the war zone. Several hundred soldiers attended a luncheon this afternoon and heard words of encouragement from University of Georgia's head football coach Mark Richt.

In addition to the luncheon, soldiers got a chance to party with their friends and family. A street dance included a live band, food, and lots of activities for children. Fort Stewart held the event for everyone to come together and just have fun.

One of the day's most emotional events was the Division Casing and Retreat Ceremony. The ceremony is very symbolic because it shows that the commanding general and his division are deploying from Fort Stewart. It may just seem like a bunch of flags to civilians – but for soldiers, it's much more.

"The heart and the soul of the third infantry division reside in those colors. You see, they're more than mere fabric. They represent the blood and sweat of all Marne soldiers who came before us," explains Major General Rick Lynch.

Now the division's colors are being cased for the trip to Iraq and many soldiers at the ceremony will soon be there, too.

"You always know that you're gonna go back over until they say that's it. We're done in Iraq and that the Iraqi people are really free," says Private 1st Class Anthony Bonvino.

"I hope people just look at it and realize that a lot of soldiers lost their lives to help our country and make the world a better place in general and a lot of young people did it, too," says Specialist Shawn Brouhard.

Major General Lynch told the crowd that the 3rd ID has a reputation of being the unit that America can depend on. Many soldiers are ready to show everyone just how true that reputation is.

"I just re-enlisted for six years. I love what I do and I love serving my country," says Sergeant Angelo Glover, and he'll soon have that chance. This ceremony and the casing of the colors marks a new chapter for the 3rd ID.

"They are a record of our past, the standard of our present and an inspiration to all those who will follow us in the future," says Major General Lynch. "You inspire us and we will not let you down."

In his speech, Major General Lynch asked the crowd to keep the 3rd ID in their prayers, help keep their families strong, and when the time comes – be back at Fort Stewart to welcome them home

Will do, sir.

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