After 24 months in command, Maj. Gen. Antonio A. Aguto, Jr. has handed the torch as commander of the Marne Division to Maj. Gen. Charles D. Costanza. Costanza returns to the Division after commanding the now-deactivated 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, on Fort Benning from 2013 to 2015.
Friends, family members, and soldiers gathered on Cottrell Field on Fort Stewart to witness the Division change of command ceremony on June 21.
Leading the ceremony was Lt. Gen. Michael E. Kurilla, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg. He shared his own words about two commanders, as well as hardships the Division encountered and overcame throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Dogface Soldiers were not stopped by COVID,” Kurilla said. “Gunnery continued, schools remained open, scheduled Combined Training Center rotations were supported. [The year] 2020 was a defining moment; you all met that moment.”
Aguto and his wife, Melanie, were thanked for their service to the 3rd ID soldiers, families and the community. Under Aguto’s command, the Marne Division provided support through Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19, all while balancing planned mission requirements and training.
“What an unprecedented time it’s been these last couple of years,” Aguto said. “I don’t think I have to say the word COVID-19 to understand what it meant to all of us. I don’t think I have to say things like hurricanes or deployments … Sometimes the hardest decisions we have to make are those not covered by doctrine.”
Aguto continued to reflect on how proud he was of how the soldiers, families and community leadership came together to overcome these nontraditional adversities as a whole; from Hinesville to Savannah.
The passing of the Division’s colors from Aguto to Costanza symbolized a new chapter in the Division’s history. Being familiar with the Division, Costanza shared his excitement to now lead and return as a 3rd ID Soldier.
“For everyone out on the parade field, all the families and civilians, thank you for your service,” Costanza said. “I look forward to having the opportunity to serve with you and I think that’s an important way to phrase it.”