June 6, 2008
FORT STEWART, Ga. (WTOC) - After 15 months in Iraq, the Third Infantry's commander returned to the Coastal Empire Monday. On Friday, the Fort Stewart community officially marked the division's return home.
The excitement was hard to miss Friday amid a live band and a full artillery salute. Major General Rick Lynch took off the casing from the division flag. General Lynch told the crowd Marne soldiers had served them and their country, well.
"I tell our soldiers the most important piece of furniture in the house is the mirror. When they look themselves in the mirror, what they saw was somebody truly making a difference," he said.
He outlined the progress made in Iraq and cautioned that freedom does not come free.
"It all came at a cost. 152 Dog Faced Soldiers paid the ultimate price. Over 800 were wounded over the course of 15 months," he noted.
General Lynch said of all the accolades he's received during this deployment, one stands above the rest. "The biggest accolade was just that I was a Dog Faced Soldier and I was proud to serve with those magnificent Dog Faced Soldiers," Lynch promised.
With one third of the division still in Iraq, General Lynch also reminded everyone to keep them and their families in their prayers.
The division's 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams, Aviation Brigade and Sustainment Brigade are due back later this year.
Commanders also unveiled Fort Stewart's new division headquarters building. It has more than three times the space of the old structure, which was built back in World War II, intended to be temporary. General Lynch says it gives them the space and the tools to run the best fighting force on earth.
"It gives me the communication I need. It gives me the information awareness I need. It gives me the space I need to have 400 folks in here at a time," he explained.