Dog Faced Soldiers have a new commanding general to follow.
Maj. Gen. James Rainey assumed command of the 3rd Infantry Division on Aug. 1 on Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan from Maj. Gen. Mike Murray, listed as promotable, who had been in charge for two years.
Rainey also is currently the commander of the U.S. National Support Element-Afghanistan and deputy commanding general-support of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, according to a news release on the change of command ceremony issued Aug. 2.
Also, Fort Stewart honored Murray with a retreat ceremony Friday afternoon in Marne Garden.
“It’s an awesome unit,” Rainey said Wednesday of the 3rd ID via Skype from Afghanistan. “And everybody knows the history, the legacy. It’s incredibly well trained right now, very ready. So one of the things is going to be to continue to get better. The good thing about taking over a great organization is you don’t have to fix things, you can just keep getting better every day.”
Rainey went on to say that he will continue to work on training and taking care of soldiers, families and veterans. And the major emphasis he said he will pursue is developing young leaders.
“The Army is a leadership factory for the United States,” he said. “And one of the major things we do with every soldier is make sure if they decide to stay in the Army or leave, that they’re a better leader than when they joined us.”
As for home life and hobbies, Rainey said he’s a huge sports fan, but his main focus is his family when he’s not working. He has been married to his wife, Tracy, for 28 years and they have two daughters in college.
As for the families of the soldiers he commands, they should be seeing their loved ones soon.
“I would say that we’ll be having Thanksgiving in Georgia. That would be my prediction,” Rainey said.
Murray returns home
Fort Stewart made sure to say farewell to its former commander, Murray, on Friday before he went to his new position at the Pentagon.
Murray will be deputy chief of staff of the Army, G-8.
“So it’s really planning and programing. It’s about what the Army needs today and really it’s about what the Army needs in the next five, 10, 15, 20 years,” he said after the ceremony of his new position.
He also was recently confirmed by the United States Senate to the appointed rank of lieutenant general, a three-star general rank.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commanding general of XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, spoke about Murray’s leadership at home and overseas.
“During his command, Mike’s done a tremendous job in a very complex and ever-changing circumstances both here and aboard,” Townsend said. “There’s not a leader in our Army who is better prepared to lead our U.S. National Support Element in Afghanistan. And there’s not a better leader in our Army right now to take up this important role in Washington, D.C.”
Murray thanked friends and colleagues and went over the changes that happened during his command, including the units that were created and others whose colors were cased.
He also thanked the surrounding communities and their leaders for their support of his soldiers and their families.
Murray said he was exceptionally proud of the tree replacement on Warriors Walk.
“That was not easy, but as I drove by it last night lit up, and I drove by it again today to see the trees, it was absolutely the right call,” Murray said. “It was the right call that we had 468 trees, and not (just) children and spouses could come visit, but grandchildren could come visit those 468 heroes represented on Warriors Walk.”
The former commander said he regretted leaving the soldiers he deployed with behind in Afghanistan.
“That’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, is not come back with the unit that I deployed over there,” he said. “And they will be in my thoughts and prayers every day until they march across Cottrell Field and come home to the welcome they so richly deserve.”