The 3rd Infantry Division welcomed two new senior leaders, including a colonel who will stand in as post commander for the next year, in a Thursday morning ceremony at Fort Stewart’s Marne Garden.
Col. Robert “Pat” White was welcomed as the 3rd ID’s new deputy commanding general-support, and Col. John H. Hort was welcomed as the 3rd ID’s new deputy commanding general-rear.
Maj. Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams, commander of the 3rd ID and Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, told guests that White is filling the DCG-support position after Col. Christopher Hughes was moved to the position of DCG-maneuver two weeks ago following the promotion and subsequent reassignment of Brig. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier.
Hort was assigned as DCG-rear in preparation for 3rd ID’s headquarters battalion deploying to Afghanistan in August, Abrams said.
“I want to welcome you all here this morning,” Abrams said, joking the division was getting a “two for one deal for colonels.”
“The 3rd Infantry Division is very busy, but we’re not too busy that we can’t take time to welcome our two new senior leaders,” he added.
Abrams thanked the Division Band for its music, and Com. Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Pegues, commandant of Stewart’s Noncommissioned Officers Academy, for filling in for 3rd ID Com. Sgt. Maj. Edd Watson by leading the color guard.
Abrams said that neither White nor Hort has served with the 3rd ID, but each man’s military resume, including having served two combat tours in Iraq, gave him confidence in them. As Abrams explained, White and Hort have “chewed the same dirt” he and tens of thousands of other soldiers who’ve served through repeated combat tours since 2001.
He said most people would not know about White’s previous assignment as the deputy commander for the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., but since Abrams had served in the same position earlier, he said he knew what the job entailed. White, he said, would be responsible for starting the process of returning Army equipment from Afghanistan to meet the withdrawal date at the end of 2014.
Abrams said Hort, who was serving as chief of plans for Forces Command, was notified of his new assignment a week ago and reported for duty Wednesday. Hort later called himself “a movement-to-contact officer” and joked that leaving Forces Command reminded him of the 1970’s Eagles’ song, “Hotel California.”
“You can check out, but you’ll have a very hard time trying to leave,” he said, explaining the rush to clear his old unit and get his personal things together. “And then when I got here yesterday, as I was getting lunch at Popeye’s, an NCO approached me and said, ‘Sir, your 3rd ID patch is on backward.’”
Both new leaders said they were looking forward to the new assignments. White called the Marne Division a “great team” and summarized some of its history. Hort recognized Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas and Army Reserve Ambassador Luis Carreras among the guests, saying he was looking forward to working with them.