Fort Stewart’s new commander won’t have much time to get settled in before he’s deployed to Afghanistan.
Maj. Gen. Leopoldo Quintas will deploy in July or August along with about 200 soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division headquarters.
Called "Task Force Marne," the soldiers will replace a similar headquarters unit from the 1st Calvary Division at Bagram Airport.
The short turnaround is not a problem, Quintas told reporters Monday prior to taking command of the 3rd ID and its 24,000 soldiers.
"The good news is the division is in a tremendous state of readiness," Quintas said. "The division has been preparing a long time for this deployment and is very ready to execute this mission."
Quintas, who will leave behind a deputy commanding general as part of a "sound, well-practiced process," assumed command from Maj. Gen. James Rainey.
At first glance the two men seem very different. Rainey, a large man, has a built-in swagger and made headlines on a number of occasions by saying he expected to be at war sooner rather than later.
By contrast, Quintas, who is slighter in build, is professorial.
A 1986 graduate of the United States Military Academy with three master’s degrees — including one in applied mathematics from Rensselar Polytechnic Institute — Quintas is an armor officer who once taught math to West Point cadets.
He’s also had a number of combat assignments with the 3rd Infantry Division and has served in a range of high profile jobs — most recently as the director of "concept development and learning" at the Army’s "capabilities integration center" at Fort Bragg, N.C.
As 3rd ID commander, Quintas is now at the top of Fort Stewart’s chain of command.
"I believe we’ve got great leadership at every echelon," he said. "Our responsibility is to build and cultivate that leadership capability, and then what we have to do is empower those leaders to do what they need to get done by giving them responsibility, providing resources and then holding them accountable. And ultimately, taking care of those leaders, their soldiers and their families."
What’s more, Quintas, whose son was born on Fort Stewart and whose daughter graduated from Bradwell Institute, is now ultimately responsible for ensuring the relationship between Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield and area communities remains solid.