Brig. Gen. Hubert Cottereau, incoming deputy commanding general for maneuvers, his wife and their children were welcomed by Maj. Gen. Antonio Aguto, the commanding general for the 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, along with all of the brigade command teams.
"Retreat is a daily ceremony held at all Army installations as a national flag is lowered at the end of the day," said Aguto. "Today's retreat, however, does not signify the end, but rather the beginning, as we look to tomorrow, we formally welcome a very distinguished officer and Family to the 3rd ID."
The U.S. and U.S. Army has a partnership with allied foreign militaries. This partnership allows foreign officers to serve in the U.S. and to experience the U.S. Army's customs and courtesies, missions, and daily operations.
"His service here signals a unique and special relationship between our two countries and that of our NATO Allies," said Aguto. "Cottereau represents the first French general officer to ever serve in one of our 10 active duty divisions."
During the ceremony, Cottereau stated that he and his Family will embrace there time here and that this opportunity will be meaningful and challenging.
"Four words come to mind on this particular day: honor, challenge, enthusiasm, and obstinacy," said Cottereau. "Honor: this is the first time in the history of our two armies that they are conducting an exchange of general officers: myself in the 3rd ID and Brig. Gen. Todd Wasmund as the deputy of the 3rd French Army.
Cottereau who will serve as the DCG-M and learns how the U.S. Army conducts operations, as well as bring new perspectives to the division missions and operations.
"I fully grasp the large scope of my challenge, as I oversee the combat readiness of a division called upon to deploy in very short notice," said Cottereau. "For a foreign officer, this is a noble and demanding task that requires an extra effort to fully understand the doctrine, procedures, and style of combat, but all requires a detailed knowledge of men and women who make up this division."
During the closing comments, Aguto stated that it is an honor to have Cottereau and his Family in the Marne Division and on the team.
"On behalf of our 3rd ID Family, Melanie and I welcome you and you Family to Fort Stewart, Georgia and into the Marne Family," said Aguto. "We are happy and honored to have you here."
The division closed the ceremony with the singing of the Dogface Soldier song and the Army song.