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2nd BCT gets new command
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The Third Infantry Division is settling rapidly into redeployed mode, with the 2nd Brigade, which just returned from Iraq, getting a new commander Friday.
Col. Charles Sexton took over the brigade from Col. Terry Ferrell, who is moving into the division chief of staff slot.
At the change of command ceremony, the division's new boss, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, greeted the crowd at Marne Garden by saying, "It's a fantastic day to be in Marne-land," and, pointing out that the division mascot, Rocky, was now mounted on a swivel, "so that the appropriate end of Rocky faces you."
The general introduced as a special guest a veteran of the World War II Marne Division, the new 2nd BCT commander's uncle Mark.
Cucolo said soldiers should take the opportunity to talk with the WWII veteran, holder of seven Purple Hearts, but added jokingly, "I want you to filter some of what he says a little bit...he made first sergeant three times and was busted three times."
Cucolo invited the crowd to imagine the brigade's 4,000 soldiers deployed to Iraq with many eyes -- those of friends, skeptics and enemies -- focused on them. The Spartans were the last of the surge brigades.
"Feel the 120- to 130-degree heat, feel the threat of 25 attacks daily. Now pick one of those soldiers. Imagine you are walking a street of Arab Jabour. "It's safe now and the market is open...there is self-governance by the town's own leaders...look into the curious, fearless, hopeful eyes of a child.
"This is what our soldiers win by defending our own freedom and our willingness to share it with others."
Cucolo praised both colonels taking new jobs Friday, saying the outgoing 2BCT commander was "a dog face soldier through and through."
He reminded the audience that Sexton, who comes to Fort Stewart from the Pentagon, has already served with the Marne Division too. Sexton commanded a heavy company of the Third Battalion, 15th Infantry in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Some saw evidence of Sexton's background - he enlisted as a private and rose through the ranks - in his first words at Friday's ceremony: "At ease in the ranks."

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