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3rd ID flag uncased, unfurled and back at home
Thursday ceremony marks major end to nine-month deployment for Operation Atlantic Resolve
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Maj. Gen. Christopher Norrie, commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division, and division Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Reffeor uncase and unfurl the division's flag after nine months in Europe as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

FORT STEWART – The 3rd Infantry Division flag was uncased and unfurled again at Cottrell Field on Thursday morning, and commanders saluted the division’s troops for their recent European mission.

The 3rd ID headquarters, Division Artillery, Sustainment Brigade and 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team have passed their duties in Eastern Europe to elements of the 1st Cavalry Division and are now either back home at Fort Stewart or will be back shortly.

For the last nine months, Task Force Marne has been a linchpin in Operation Atlantic Resolve, doubling as a show of force to deter further Russian aggression in the region and allowing 3rd ID soldiers to conduct maneuvers with NATO allies.

“We had a fantastic deployment,” said Col. Grant Fawcett, the 3rd ID’s deputy commander for support. “We did a lot of training on our own platforms over there. We trained on our own tanks, our Bradleys, our Apaches. We also trained with our NATO partners to make sure we can fight as a cohesive team if and when something does happen over there in Europe.”

The purpose of the deployment, Col. Fawcett said, was to support European allies and NATO countries. Task Force Marne soldiers conducted 28 exercises during their time in Poland and the Baltic states.

“When the U.S. Army sends the tanks and Bradleys and Apaches, it means something, both to our European allies and to our adversaries who see that the might of the U.S. Army is on the ground in Europe,” Col. Fawcett said.

Training with troops and leaders from the Baltic states resonated with the units from Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, Fawcett added.

“They really feel the importance of being ready for whatever could happen in Europe,” he said.

Army leadership also praised the accomplishments of the division’s soldiers during its nine months overseas.

“You built upon the legacy of this great division,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Donahue, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps.

While the environment of the deployment was markedly different from the climes of southeast Georgia – there was snow, sleet and hail the day before Col. Fawcett came home two weeks ago – there were opportunities for the soldiers to explore the land of their European hosts.

“They did get a lot of great training and they got to experience things in Europe as well, to go visit neat cities that have been there for hundreds and hundreds of years,” Col. Fawcett said.

The 2nd Brigade is expected to be home at Fort Stewart for a while, while the 1st Brigade will be on the move to Fort Irwin, California, for a rotation at the National Training Center. Along with breaking in new M1 Abrams tanks and M2 Bradleys and other new vehicles, the 1st Brigade also will conduct more training with unmanned aerial systems, such as drones, at NTC.

“We are the most modernized division in the United States Army,” Col. Fawcett said. “We’re learning a lot of lessons from what is happening in Ukraine and we are applying those directly to our training.”

Some soldiers and units will be coming back to Fort Stewart through early June as the deployment ends, just in time as the school year ends. Soldiers were dismissed Thursday morning with an invitation to enjoy their block leave from Lt. Gen. Donahue.

“It’s great to be back here in Coastal Georgia,” Col. Fawcett said.

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3rd ID commanding general Maj. Gen. Christopher Norrie and Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Reffeor salute during the playing of the national anthem.
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Lt. Gen. Chris Donahue, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps, addresses 3rd ID leaders on the success of their overseas mission.
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