The 23rd Secretary of the Army, The Honorable Dr. Mark T. Esper, visited the 3rd Infantry Division and tenant units on Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield Friday, Jan. 11.
The purpose of his visit was to observe the value of the 3rd ID and how their efforts are lined up with the national defense efforts, according to the Fort Stewart public affairs office.
Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield is the Army's premier power projection platform on the east coast - responsible for training, equipping, deploying and redeploying active and reserve component Army units.
"I had a wonderful day today at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield," said Esper. "The 3rd Infantry Division is a premier combat unit in the United States Army."
The Marne Division has a storied history of wartime operations. As the XVIII Corps' only heavy division, the 3rd ID adopts an expeditionary mindset and posture in order to maintain readiness. Maj. Gen. Leopoldo Quintas, the commanding general of 3rd ID, main priority of modernization is Soldier Lethality - an attribute that resonates frequently throughout the Army Vision 2028, an initiative Esper announced in June of last year.
"Today it's been our honor to host the Secretary of the Army for a visit today," said Quintas. "We have had the opportunity to show him how we are executing the Army's three priorities - building readiness, modernizing the force and executing reform."
His day started with observing a training event with an emphasis on breaching operations conducted by the engineers of the 9th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID.
Additionally, Esper was briefed on the brigade's recent transition from an infantry brigade to an armored brigade.
"This is the type of warfare that we need to prepare for that you all are rightly preparing for," said Esper. "I have enjoyed spending time with you all and watching this training today."
Esper then went on to observe the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle - the Department of Defense's newest combat vehicle that is on track to replace the Humvees. The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID is the first unit in the Army to be fielded the JLTV.
A town hall meeting was held at the Fort Stewart main chapel where Esper addressed questions pertaining to modernization, new weapon systems and training. The event was open to soldiers, families and civilians.
"As you think about modernization, our top six modernization priorities are long range precision fires, next generation combat vehicles, future vertical lifts, network, air missile defense and Soldier lethality," said Esper. "All those new systems, all those programs that will better prepare our Army for the future fight will be integral to the readiness of the 3rd Infantry Division."
Accompanying Esper was his wife, Leah Esper, who spent the day speaking with the spouses and family members of Fort Stewart. She also visited Pulaski Elementary School at Hunter Army Airfield.