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New general takes command at Fort Stewart
Fort Stewart Genera web
Gen. Charles Campbell, left, accepts the division colors from outgoing 3rd Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch before presenting them to incoming 3rd ID commander Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo, III, second from left, during a change of command ceremony at Fort Stewart, Ga. on Monday, July 14, 2008. To the right is 3rd ID Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews, custodian of the division colors. - photo by Associated Press

            FORT STEWART — Though he spent the past two years at the Pentagon, the new commanding general at Fort Stewart sees his latest assignment as a homecoming of sorts.

            Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo served as a captain at Fort Stewart from 1985 to 1988. Eleven years later, he served as a brigade commander in the Fort Stewart-based 3rd Infantry Division until 2001.

            ‘‘It is a humbling dream come true to come back,’’ Cucolo, 50, said Monday after taking command of the 20,000-soldier 3rd Infantry in a ceremony at the southeast Georgia Army post.

            Cucolo replaces Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, who recently returned from leading the division in its third combat tour in Iraq. Lynch is being promoted to a three-star general for his new job at Fort Hood, Texas.

            A native of Suffern, N.Y., Cucolo comes to Fort Stewart from the Pentagon, where he served as the Army’s chief of public affairs for two years.

            Before that, he deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan several times between 2004 and 2006 as director of the military’s Joint Center for Operational Analysis.

            ‘‘I do know his reputation as one of the most dedicated, focused individuals we have in our Army,’’ Lynch said of his successor. ‘‘He’s not new to Fort Stewart, so he will do great.’’

            Cucolo commanded the Fort Stewart-based division’s 3rd Brigade at Fort Benning from 1999 to 2001, but his roots in the 3rd Infantry run a bit deeper. His father served as an officer in the division during the Korean War.

            The 3rd Infantry helped lead the charge to Baghdad in the March 2003 invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime. Last year, the division became the first in the Army to deploy for a third Iraq tour. About 4,000 of its troops will remain deployed until January.

            Meanwhile, 3rd Infantry units that have returned home are tentatively scheduled to return to Iraq in the fall of 2009.

            ‘‘I see frequent deployments, but with longer reset times at home,’’ Cucolo said of the coming years at Fort Stewart.

            Lynch will be leaving for Fort Hood, where he will be promoted Friday to the rank of lieutenant general before taking command of the Army’s III Corps.

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