3rd Infantry Division Changes Command
July 23, 2008
<b> FORT STEWART, GA </b> -- "Warriors fresh from combat - proud and confident on parade, unit colors heavily ladened, with battle streamers, the thundering cannonade, the echoing bugle calls - all of this is inspiring," said Forces Command General Charles Campbell as he illustrated the setting of another day to go down in history for the Dog Face Soldier Division. "And, all of this signals the passage of responsibility for mission and Soldiers from one great leader to another great leader."
Bidding farewell to Third Infantry Division Commander, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, Fort Stewart-
Hunter Army Airfield Soldiers, Families and community members also welcomed Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo during a Change of Command ceremony held at Fort Stewart's Cottrell Field, July 14.
Joining the Marne Division in June 2006, Lynch led his Division's third tour into combat operations in Iraq and commanding Task Force Marne- a coalition forces element of more than 20,000 U.S. Soldiers (active, Guard and Reserve), 26,000 Iraqi army soldiers and 46,000 Iraqi police.
"He's a leader with a straight-forward philosophy, built of a central truth that the Division's primary mission was, is, and will be in the future to fight and to win our nation's wars," Campbell said of the outgoing commander. "The reputation of this great division has been enhanced under (Maj. Gen.) Rick Lynch's exemplary leadership."
Campbell added that Lynch led the 3rd Inf. Div. during a period of major reorganization, personnel reassignment, extensive equipment reset, and battle focus
"His efforts ensured that this division was ready to fight and fight it did," he said. "You (Campbell said to Lynch) have been a great division commander, but far more importantly, you have commanded a great division. Congratulations on a remarkable performance and a remarkable division."
With the passing of the Division Colors - which was uncased after a 15-month deployment to Iraq in June - Lynch relinquished his command to Cucolo. Keeping with the traditions of the Division, Lynch also passed over the Division Commander's Ring. The ring has been passed down from commander to commander for over the past 30 years.
"It has been the greatest honor of my career to serve with the 3rd Infantry Division," Lynch said as he not only thanked the division but the Families, surrounding communities, retirees and veterans for their support.
"I refuse to say good bye. I say farewell." Lynch moves on to command III Corps at Fort
No stranger to the Division, Cucolo once commanded its 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team (Hammer
Brigade) based at Fort Benning, Ga. His most recent assignment was as the U.S. Army's Chief of Public Affairs where he was responsible for all communication and public affairs issues involving the Army and served as a senior advisor to the Secretary of the Army, among other senior Army leaders on communication matters.
"It's good to be back home," said Cucolo, adding that he envied the Dog Face Soldiers after leaving the Division in 2001. "Today is a humbling dream come true."
Cucolo has more than 29 years of military service. He served 16 of those years in infantry and armor divisions.
Additionally, Cucolo deployed an infantry battalion as a combined arms force to Bosnia,
commanded a Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the XVIII Airborne Corps and was the Assistant
Division Commander for the 10th Mountain Division.
Cucolo also deployed to Afghanistan and Operation Enduring Freedom and served as the
Director, Combined Joint Staff, Combined Joint Task Force and then served as the Deputy
Commanding General for 10th Mountain from 2003-2004.
His Joint assignments include the Chief of the Balkans Branch of the Strategy and Policy
Directorate, Chief of the Future Operations Group in the Operations Directorate, and Chief of the
European and NATO Policy all with the Joint Staff at the Pentagon from 2001 to 2003. Cucolo was also the Director of the Joint Center for Operational Analysis, U.S. Joint Forces Command from 2004-2006 where he deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times.
Additionally, he deployed to Joint Task Force Katrina to develop lessons leaned from Operation in the U.S. Gulf Coast region.
Cucolo holds a Bachelor's Degree from the U.S. Military Academy and a Master's Degree from the
University of San Francisco. He is married to Ginger and together have three
children, Tony-Allen. 24. Mackie, 21, and Abbie, 20.
Cucolo is taking command of six brigades which fall under the command and control of the 3rd Inf. Div. to include the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Brigade Combat Teams; 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade; and the 3rd Sustainment Brigade. Additionally, the Division houses a Special Troops Battalion.