FORT STEWART, Georgia – The 3rd Infantry Division Artillery conducted a change of command ceremony May 13, 2021, at Fort Stewart’s Club Stewart.
During the ceremony, Col. Alric L. Francis relinquished command to Col. William (Lee) Davis.
Maj. Gen. Antonio Aguto, 3rd ID commander, hosted the ceremony and in his remarks thanked Francis and his wife, Alicia, for all their hard work, and welcomed Davis and his wife, Suzanne, to the Thunder Team.
“As many of you know, change of commands are always bittersweet, a time-honored tradition when we gather to welcome the new commander and their loved ones, while it also gives us pause to reflect and thank another command team for all that they have done and wish them well as they move on to the next chapter of their lives," said Aguto. "From a young staff officer to commander, [Col. Francis] epitomizes what it means to be a Dogface Soldier. We simply are tough and always get the job done."
When it came time for his remarks, Francis made a point to dispel a notion that the ceremony should be about the outgoing commander.
“In my opinion, command will always be about the Soldier standing on parade, who will fight with every ounce of their body to accomplish the mission,” Francis said. “It was an honor to have led what was already a great organization.”
With its subordinate units, Headquarters, Headquarters Battalion, 3rd ID; 92nd Engineer Battalion; 83rd Chemical Battalion; 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion; 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment; and 1st Battalion, 41st FAR under Francis’ leadership, Marne Thunder has supported hurricane relief operations, trained to support domestic civil response force, deployed and supported border operations, provided chemical expertise, trained and deployed in support of joint operations, trained two artillery battalions through collective training, and deployed and supported worldwide operations.
“Col. Francis, you’ve always been a tough act to follow,” Davis said. “You and [Command Sgt. Maj. James McGuffey] have built an amazing team here. To the Dogface Soldiers represented here today, thank you for everything you do and every day that you do it. I’m truly humbled to be the newest member of the team, and looking forward to helping you write the next chapter of this unit’s proud history.”
Davis, originally from Kaneohe, Hawaii, commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1998 after graduating from the University of Hawaii, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science. His previous assignment was with Headquarters, U.S. Army Pacific Command, where he served as the Chief of Fires for the Theater Joint Force Land Component Command.