Marne Division says 'farewell' to three of its leaders
November 17, 2010
<b>FORT STEWART, Ga.</b> - The Marne Division bid adieu to three of its finest Dog Face Soldiers with a Farewell and Retreat Ceremony for Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Donahue, III, deputy commanding general-maneuver; Brig. Gen. Thomas S. Vandal, deputy commanding general-support; and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey L. Andrews, division command sergeant major, Nov. 15.
Major General Tony Cucolo, 3rd Infantry Division commanding general, presented the deputy commanding generals with the Distinguished Service Medal. He presented Command Sgt. Maj. Andrews, who left the division last month for his new position as command sergeant major of First Army at Fort Gillem, Ga., with his fifth bronze star, with four oak leaf clusters, and the Legion of Merit Award.
"For the last 28 months, for me, the three gentlemen we honor today played a most significant role," said Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, 3rd Infantry Division commanding general, as he gave honors to the departing Soldiers. "For 13 months, we tried to set the climate and develop an organizational reputation for professional excellence, iron discipline and readiness right here among the Family - the units of the 3rd ID ... These three gentlemen were indispensible, incredible - among the very top reasons for our success. And I haven't said this too much out loud, it's not in my nature, but we really kicked some tail over there."
Brigadier General Vandal was with the division for 28 months. His first job as deputy commanding general-support was resetting Soldiers and supplies after the division returned from the third deployment in 2008.
"Major General Cucolo, I want to thank you for the opportunity to work for the Marne Division as a Dog Face Soldier over the last two-and-a-half years," he said during the ceremony. "It's been a privilege to serve in this great division, and I hope I was able to contribute in some small way to the history of the 3rd ID; to make a contribution worthy of the sacrifice of those who have worn the Marne Patch before us.
"I'm grateful for the chance to be mentored by one of our Army's best leaders and I know that I've learned a great deal from this experience. Besides leading from the front in all endeavors, I was always impressed with your ability to give your subordinates the guidance they needed, but the latitude to execute freely within your commander's content."
Brigadier General Vandal departs Fort Stewart for Fort Sill, Okla., where he will take command of the U.S. Army Field Artillery School. He and his wife, Doreen, have three sons, all attending service academies - Nicholas (United States Naval Academy '09), Eric (United States Military Academy '11) and Stephen (United States Naval Academy '12).
Brigadier General Donahue served the Marne Division for 26 months. He oversaw the operations of three Iraqi provinces in their most recent deployment, and was known as the "Marne Division's homeless general ... always seen mounting a helicopter with an overnight bag."
The deputy commanding general is the son of Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Robert Donahue, a legend in the signal corps who went from private to three-star general. He and his wife, Maureen, have four children - Patrick, Connor, Kevin and Rourke.
Brigadier General Donahue leaves the 3rd ID to become director of concept development and learning at the Army Capabilities Integration Center at Fort Monroe, Va. He said that his time with the 3rd ID will help him to better serve in his next position.
"It's an organization that looks at the future of Army requirements and anticipates what they're going to be and does something about it now so that we'll be ready for future requirements," he said. "With the 3rd ID, I had my most recent deployment to Iraq, but I've also deployed to Afghanistan with other divisions, and all together that's going to give me a perspective of what's required to fight in the current environment and in that capacity with that knowledge, I hope to be able to develop future systems, future weapon systems that will help the Soldiers fight whatever fight we find ourselves in 15 years from now."
Command Sergeant Major Andrews has served his entire career as a command sergeant major to this point with the 3rd ID - since November 2002, when he was selected as 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team command sergeant major. He went on to become brigade commander, and assumed the duties of division command sergeant major, March 8, 2007, just two weeks before the division's third deployment to Iraq. Command Sergeant Major Andrews has been with the 3rd ID for all four of its deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn.
"Being a Dog Face Soldier is, in my opinion, the epitome of being a Soldier in the United States Army today," he said. "When you leave here, you're going to be a better Soldier that you were before you got here and you can be proud to go anywhere else in the Army and you'll be successful because of your dealings with the 3rd Infantry Division. This is the best combat maneuver division in the Army - it's tough, realistic training, and we can see that the Soldiers see why we train as hard as we do - because we deploy, we deployed four times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, now Operation New Dawn."
Command Sergeant Major Andrews and his wife, Frankie, left Fort Stewart last month for Fort Gillem.
For the commander of 3rd ID, seeing these Soldiers depart is a difficult pill to swallow.
"Gentleman, I am in your debt," Maj. Gen. Cucolo said during the ceremony. "Your agility, directed energy and senior leader skills in combat are peerless. You personally wrote the words on the pages of this chapter of Dog Face Soldier history. We will miss you all, and I look forward to serving with you again someday."
With their departure, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, who served as deputy commanding general-rear when the commanding general was deployed, will stay as interim deputy commanding general. Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey Ashmen, who served as command sergeant major-rear, will stay on as interim division command sergeant major.