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3rd ID cases colors
Division readying for deployment
1004 color casing 1
Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, right, and Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews wrap three new streamers around the 3rd Division’s banner during the color casing and retreat ceremony held Friday. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge
A gentle evening breeze rippled through a multitude of colorful flags held high by the 3rd Infantry Division’s Color Guard on Friday. The 3rd ID offered its last official goodbye during a color casing and retreat ceremony in Fort Stewart’s Marne Garden. About 14,000 soldiers from the division will deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan during the next several weeks and months.
This is the division’s fourth deployment to Iraq since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The 3rd ID claims its place in Army history as the division that has deployed to Iraq more than any other infantry division.
The streamers that grace each division battalion flag attest to each and every campaign the 3rd ID has fought from World War I to present day. During the ceremony, three new streamers were added to replace the one for Operation Iraqi Freedom: one for the Liberation of Iraq in 2003, one for the Transition of Iraq in 2003-04 and one for Iraqi Governance in 2004-05.
“You’re in the presence of history,” Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo told a solemn crowd. “You here know history so well because you’ve so often been a part of it. We will not see this sight again for two years. For this brief moment we are all together.”
Cucolo said the division’s flags represent people; the thousands of soldiers who must leave loved ones behind. He also praised the military members’ families, “who sustain them” through deployments.
In addition to military commanders, national and local leaders were present for the ceremony.
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said he’d “rather be here when they’re coming home,” but praised the young men and women who are “putting their lives in harm’s way” to keep Americans free.
“The situation in Iraq is declining from a violence stand point but it’s still a very dangerous place,” Chambliss said.
The soldiers seemed to take the upcoming deployment in stride.
“We’re currently conducting individual and collective level training in preparation for deployment,” said Lt. Col. Ryan LaPorte, battalion commander, 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
1st Sgt. Jack Glasscock of the 4th IBCT said he and his wife and two children will be ready when he deploys next summer.
“Don’t ever call (military spouses and children) dependents,” Glasscock said. “They’re very independent.”

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