Watch video of the change-of-command ceremony here.
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan Maj. Gen. James Rainey assumed command of the U.S. National Support Element – Afghanistan and duties as the U.S. Forces Afghanistan, deputy commanding general – support from Maj. Gen. Mike Murray during a change-of-command ceremony Saturday.
Rainey, who previously served as the commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry School, U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence on Fort Benning assumes command of the 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Fort Benning and Hunter Army Airfield. In Afghanistan, he also will serve as the commander of Bagram Air Field and commander of Joint Task Force 3.
"Today marks an important change in our leadership of one of our Army’s most famed divisions," said Gen. John Campbell, commander of Resolute Support mission and U.S. Forces – Afghanistan. "And also a very historic division. Division-level changes of command don’t normally occur in deployed environments. This is the first ever division-level change of command in Afghanistan. You were the Army’s first modular division. You led the charge into Baghdad. And your legacy of service in World Wars I and II is well-known, particularly with the 55 Medal of Honor recipients who served in your ranks."
Murray, at Bagram for nine months, was nominated for promotion to lieutenant general, is awaiting Senate confirmation and will be reassigned to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.
"Two years ago tomorrow, I took command of 3ID that was still deployed in Kandahar," Murray said. "And there have been a lot of changes. Here in Afghanistan, over the past eight months, we went through a change of mission Enduring Freedom to Freedom Sentinel to Resolute Support. I’m proud of the team we have built here at Bagram Air Field and proud of the relationships we have built with the leadership of Parwan Province and the leadership at the National Judicial Center. Most of all, I’m proud of the soldiers, families and civilians of the 3ID, and the soldiers, airmen, sailors,
Marines, (Department of Defense) civilians and contractors that are all critical team members of team BAF. I couldn’t have asked for a better staff either at Fort Stewart or over here."
While in Iraq, the division headquarters served as the core of task force, U.S. Division –North, commanding 10 brigades across four provinces during 13 months in which the Iraqi government held its first national elections, the first peaceful transition of power for the country in more than 50 years. The division also oversaw the transition from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn, which entailed a massive redeployment of soldiers and equipment while developing new techniques to advise, train and assist the Iraqi security forces.
"I’m honored today to join the ranks of the legendary 3rd Infantry Division," Rainey said. "It’s humbling. The dog-faced soldier’s record of service and excellence is unquestioned from the Marne to Baghdad, Kandahar and Bagram today. I look forward to working with all of our Afghan partners, NATO and coalition teammates at this critical point in the mission. Like most of us, I’ve lost friends, soldiers and teammates in this war, and I’m deeply committed and passionate about seeing it through a successful completion like we all are. Thank you very much, and Rock of the Marne."
"Maj. Gen. Jim Rainey was hand-selected to lead this phenomenal division as it continues its mission here in Afghanistan," Campbell said. "Jim, you’re ideally suited for this command. Welcome back to Afghanistan. Your time and experience both here and in Iraq will serve you well. You have my total confidence. I know you will lead both 3ID and U.S. Forces – Afghanistan teams well. I wish you and all of the Marne team the very best."
The 3rdID continues its distinguished service to the nation, with units from the division currently serving around the world. The soldiers of 3rdID are a part of the contingent of 9,800 U.S. troops and will remain in Afghanistan until November.