Soldiers, family members, and friends of the 3rd Infantry Division gathered on Cottrell Field, Fort Stewart, to witness the Division change of command on June 21.
Maj. Gen. Antonio A. Aguto, Jr. relinquished command of the Marne Division to Maj. Gen. Charles D. Costanza after 24 months in command.
Costanza returns to the Division after commanding the now-deactivated 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, on Fort Benning, Georgia, from 2013 to 2015.
The presiding officer for the ceremony was Lt. Gen. Michael E. Kurilla, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg. He shared his personal thoughts of the two commanders, as well as the milestones the Division had encountered throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Dogface Soldiers were not stopped by COVID,” said Kurilla. “Gunnery continued. Schools remained open. Scheduled Combined Training Center rotations were supported. 2020 was a defining moment. You all met that moment.”
Kurilla thanked Aguto and his wife, Melanie, for their service to the 3rd ID Soldiers, Families and the community. Under Aguto’s command, the Marne Division provided support through Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19, all while balancing planned mission requirements and training.
“What an unprecedented time it’s been these last couple of years,” said Aguto. “I don’t think I have to say the word COVID-19 to understand what it meant to all of us. I don’t think I have to say things like hurricanes or deployments… Sometimes the hardest decisions we have to make are those not covered by doctrine. ”
Aguto went on to reflect on how proud he was of how the Soldiers, Families and community leadership came together to overcome these nontraditional adversities as a whole, from Hinesville to Savannah.
The passing of the Division’s colors from Aguto to Costanza symbolized a new chapter in the Division’s history. Costanza shared his excitement to return as a 3rd ID Soldier and lead the Division.
“For everyone out on the parade field, all the Families and civilians, thank you for your service,” said Costanza. “I look forward to having the opportunity to serve with you and I think that’s an important way to phrase it.”