FORT STEWART, Ga. (July 24, 2012) -- Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III reunited with former team members today at Fort Stewart, and helped make a Third Infantry Division vehicle dedication ceremony a historic event.

The Third Infantry Division Commander, Maj. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams, said the ceremony honoring the last M4 Command and Control Vehicle, nicknamed "Maximus," and its actions in the Iraq invasion of 2003, was especially noteworthy as the original crew was on-hand, including Austin, who helped spearhead the division's effort, in "Maximus," as the Third Infantry Division Assistant Division Commander (Maneuver).

Reuniting with his original crew, Abrams and Third Infantry Division Command Sgt. Major Edd Watson, asked the former crew members to help dedicate "Maximus" C2V in front of the Lt. Col. Keith L. Ware Building on Fort Stewart. The crew in attendance included Austin; Col. Ross Coffman, Col. Robert Foster, Mike Culpepper, Heath Bates, Sgt. 1st Class Earl Francis, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Streeper, Sgt. Maj. Jerry Kimble, and Sgt. 1st Class Robert Brown. The only other crew member, who wasn't available for the day's ceremony was retired Staff Sgt. Ramon Borjas.

Austin selected the M4 for its mission as a command and control as the vehicle offered durability, speed, and capability of integrating with the Army's Battle Command System. "Maximus" joined two other M4 vehicles "Zeus" and "El Cid" as the Division spearheaded Marne Division's movement from Kuwait to Baghdad, in their effort to oust Saddam Hussein from power, and help liberate the people Iraq.

Abrams said that "Maximus," and the other M4s, helped carry the battle in Iraq with constant communications as the division applied speed and violence to ensure decisive operations.

During the operation, then-Third Infantry Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. Buford Blount was in "Zeus," and elements of the 3rd ID intelligence, Air Defense, and Chemical Staff Sections, rode in "El Cid."

Austin said it was an honor to attend the dedication ceremony and to have served in with the Third Infantry Division. He said he appreciated the Third Infantry Division remembering the M4 and the Soldiers who participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, with the dedication.

"This represents the great efforts of all those Soldiers who were a part of that (Operation Iraqi Freedom -- 2003 push into Iraq) and the remarkable things they did," Austin said. "I am proud to be a part of that."

The dedication marker for "Maximus" notes the M4 was named after the roman word for "greatest" or "largest." The title "Maximus" was exemplified by Tiberius Claudius Maximus, a Roman Soldier who served in the Dacian Wars, who was a famous cavalryman and expert in mounted combat. "Zeus" was named after the Greek's "all-father" and god of sky and thunder; while "El Cid," was named after the Spanish lord-master of military arts, Rodrigo Die Vivar, called "El Cid." who lived 1043-1099.

The M4's were impressive military machines at 25.5 feet in length, 10.5 feet tall, weighing about 57,000 pounds. Operated by a crew of three to eight Soldiers, the vehicle boasted a 70-kilometer-per-hour speed and could travel about 275 miles on one tank of fuel. At the heart of the M4 was a VT903 Cummins Diesel engine, which provided more than 600 horsepower.

"Zeus" and "El Cid" became part of the Army's recycling program, but "Maximus," will live on in a place of honor in front of the Third Infantry Division Command and Control Facility on Fort Stewart.

Contributing authors were FSGA Staff, Walter W. Meeks III, and Pat Young.