The rain did not stop the Third Infantry Division while it cased its colors, Aug. 8, during a ceremony at Woodruff Theater as they prepare to deploy to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
As the Marne Soldiers stood proudly in formation awaiting their 12-month deployment, their Family Members and other state and local community members were in the audience for support.
"As a former Army officer, I take great pride in being here today. You are going to be the embodiment of answers to the questions being asked about America," said keynote speaker Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. "You will answer them with honor and dignity. I commend you for your services and sacrifices you have made."
Third Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Robert ‘Abe’ Abrams shared words of encouragement during the ceremony.
"Today marks the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another," he said. "We answer our nation’s call in support of Operation Enduring Freedom into Afghanistan for an unprecedented fifth deployment by a division headquarters."
The Marne Division will be joined by multiple countries as a joint task force. It will be a critical time because the focus shifts to advising and assisting the transitioning of responsibility to the government of Afghanistan.
"There are 50 nations involved that improves and enriches our capabilities along with giving us diversity and different strengths and perspectives," Maj. Gen. Abrams said. "The alliance is critical for our mission as it sends a clear message that we will not tolerate extremism or terrorism."
The 3rd ID has been training since November for this deployment and Maj. Gen. Abrams prepared the best team for the mission.
"We have a great blend of young blood that has never deployed, plus a lot of very experienced warriors," Maj. Gen. Abrams said. "Forty percent of our headquarters’ team has already been to Afghanistan. Together we are incredibly powerful."
The rest of the Marne Division is soon set to deploy to meet up with the other ‘Dog Faced’ Soldiers already in theater.
"I cannot say thank you enough for the unconditional support and commitment from our surrounding communities that have remained consistent throughout everything," Maj. Gen. Abrams said. "Along with the continued sacrifices and commitment from our great Army Families."
The ceremony concluded with the singing of the Dog Face Soldier and Army songs.