By Sgt. Jason Stadel, 2nd BCT, 3rd ID Public AffairsOctober 17, 2008
FORT STEWART, GA --Washington D.C. -- At the Association of the United States Army annual meeting held Oct. 6-8 in Washington, D.C., Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, 3rd Infantry Division commanding general, spoke to the audience about life on Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.
"It's all about what's inside the gates and all about what's outside the gates," Cucolo said.
AUSA is an organization that works to supports the U.S. Army and its Soldiers in all aspects of national security. The organization provides numerous professional development opportunities on a local and national level.
The purpose of the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield presentation was to promote the high standard of living for Soldiers and their Families on a post that has seen three Operation Iraqi Freedom deployments.
Fort Stewart Garrison Commander, Col. Todd Buchs said the quality of life at Stewart-Hunter spoke for itself. He said 95 percent of Families living in on-post houses chose to stay during the most recent deployment.
Staff Sergeant Cory Casto has been in the Army for 17 years. Last spring Casto deployed for the first time with 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID. While he was deployed, his Family lived on Fort Stewart. He said because of the programs offered for Families and the good schools for his children he decided to reenlist to stay at Fort Stewart.
Buchs showed videos and photographs throughout the presentation about "the Southern living station of choice."
He said a testament to the quality of life at Fort Stewart of the reenlistment of Soldiers. During the most recent deployment 3rd ID exceeded it reenlistment goals five months into the rotation. Buchs said as far as he knew no division has been so quick to meet their reenlistment goals.
Area leaders also spoke during the presentation about what Fort Stewart has to offer outside the gates. Bill Cathcart, Chairman of the Military Affairs for the Savannah area, said the communities of Hinesville and Savannah have much to offer Soldiers and their Families.
Cucolo concluded the presentation by remembering two fallen Marne Soldiers: Pfc. Larry Parks Jr. and Capt. Nathan Raudenbush.
Parks was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT. He was killed when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle in June 2007.
Raudenbush, a tank commander in 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, was riding in a humvee south of Baghdad when it was also struck by an IED Feb. 2008.
"It's all about motivation," Cucolo said.
"The last bit of America these Solders saw was the inside of the gates (of Fort Stewart) and the outside of the gates."