As the 3rd Infantry Band finished playing “To the Colors” on Friday afternoon on Fort Stewart, a cannon was fired before the band continued, playing “Retreat” as the American flag was lowered at the division headquarters to signal the end of the duty day.
That was the mood as the 3rd ID wrapped up the Deputy Commanding General Farewell and Retreat Ceremony for Brig. Gen. John H. Hort in Marne Garden.
Hort, a 30-year Army veteran, arrived at Fort Stewart in August 2012 with his wife, Raylene, son, Brad, and daughter, Kayla.
“I grew up in North Carolina. I’m a Southern boy. I feel right at home here,” he said.
He said that what impressed him the most about the 3rd ID and Fort Stewart was how well the division took care of its soldiers and their families.
“We lost 19 soldiers in combat last year. I got to see just how well 3rd ID takes (care of) its own,” he said.
Third ID Commander Maj. Gen. Mike Murray was not able to attend Friday’s ceremony, but commended Hort in a video presentation, saying Hort was “absolutely the right general officer at the right time for this division.”
“Gen. Hort, the continuity you provided as Marne 66 provided a seamless transition for me when I arrived at 3rd ID,” Murray said.
Hort said he enjoyed working not only with soldiers and the division, but also the surrounding communities.
“They really showed me Southern hospitality, I will miss that. These last three years on Fort Stewart have been the best part of my Army career,” he said.
Hort’s next assignment will be as U.S. Army Europe G-3 operations commander.
Prior to his assignment as deputy commanding general-maneuver, Hort served as the deputy commanding general-rear while the 3rd ID was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He also served as an infantry brigade commander with the 3rd Brigade, 4th ID, in Fort Carson, Colo., where he deployed his brigade from 2007-09 to East Baghdad, Iraq.
Hort also deployed during 2005-06 to Taji, Iraq, as the Army’s senior military adviser to the Iraqi 9th Mechanized Division. His other operational experiences include Operation Able Sentry in 1994 in support of the Macedonian United Nations peacekeeping mission and company commander during Operation Just Cause, Panama, from 1989-90.
Hort was presented with The Legion Of Merit Award shortly before Friday’s ceremony ended.
“I will continue to serve as long as I’m asked to serve. I’ll see you down the Army’s yellow-brick road,” Hort said.