Fort Stewart held its change of command ceremony Aug. 11, bringing in a new garrison commander who previously served at the coastal Georgia installation.
The ceremony was held at Cashe Garden, farewelling garrison commander Col. Manny Ramirez and welcoming Col. Marc J. Austin.
Austin is no stranger to the installation, having served as the battalion commander of 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division previously. Prior to returning to Fort Stewart, he was a student at the Royal College of Defence Studies at Kings College London.
He called Coastal Georgia home, sharing he had updated his phone number. Austin also praised the welcoming spirit of the area.
“It’s now a 912 (area code),” Austin said. “The way we’re received by the local officials, the local community, the school districts, the sports teams that our kids play on, everything is absolutely amazing. We work together to support the soldiers and their families. We make one big team.”
U.S. Army Installation Command Installation Directorate-Readiness Director Brenda Lee McCullough said she was excited to see Austin assume command and trusts in his leadership abilities.
“As a proven leader, I am confident you will invest the same passion, professionalism and pride and expertise into the Soldiers, Civilians and Family members of Fort Stewart,” she said. “They deserve no less.”
Leading a garrison also means having a bigger family, McCullough said.
“Take care of them all,” she said.
The Fort Stewart change of command was one of McCullough’s final official acts as IMCOM ID-R. She is moving on to serve as the director of IMCOM Pacific soon.
The installation senior commander and 3rd ID commander, Maj. Gen. Christopher Norrie said he previously worked with Austin, and it is a privilege to know him. He looks forward to Austin leading the team here as well as calling Fort Stewart home.
“We are so luck to warmly welcome Marc Austin and his wife Katie and their five children,” Norrie said. “They are incredibly familiar with Fort Stewart. They have called this place home.”
Outgoing garrison commander Ramirez also said Austin is no stranger to coastal Georgia and will do great things.
“I’m supremely confident that you are the right leader for the job,” he said.
In farewelling Ramirez, McCullough said she knew the day was bittersweet for him.
“Commanding a garrison is one of the highest honors the Army can bestow,” she said. “To all here on Fort Stewart, you truly were Col. Manny Ramirez, your friendly neighborhood commander.”
Ramirez gave a litany of tasks he oversaw as the friendly neighborhood garrison commander, including emergency preparedness, managing training area, conserving endangered species, providing ID cards, and keeping the community informed.
“Most people don’t realize what this award-winning workforce does every single day to support our Soldiers and families,” Ramirez said.
Additionally, McCullough praised Ramirez for executing $262 million dollars annually, creating six intergovernmental support agreements, leading the move toward barracks renovations and repairs, and hosting the award-winning social media reel Manny on the Street.
Finally, Ramirez thanked the garrison staff, his neighbors, his peers, and his family for their support during his time as garrison commander.
“It was truly an honor and a privilege to serve as your friendly neighborhood garrison commander. It was the best job I’ve ever had in my 25-year Army career.”