Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello got his third star Tuesday. Fort Gordon got a new general.
Those were the outcomes of the fort's change-of-command ceremony, held in the morning heat of the Army post's Barton Field.
More than 500 people representing all four armed services and all of the fort's brigades and battalions, stood in formation as then-Maj. Gen. Cuviello relinquished the fort's orange flag to Brig. Gen. John P. "Pat" Cavanaugh.
Moments later, four-star Gen. John Abrams pinned a third star to Maj. Gen. Cuviello's epaulets and cap, promoting to lieutenant general the man who had led Fort Gordon since May 11, 1998.
He will leave the fort for the Pentagon to become director of information systems for command, control, communications and computers at the office of the Secretary of the Army.
Brig. Gen. Cavanaugh, who awaits promotion to major general, will take Lt. Gen. Cuviello's place at Fort Gordon as its commanding general. A commissioned officer since 1970, Brig. Gen. Cavanaugh most recently served in Germany as commanding general for the 5th Signal Command.
During his remarks, the new commander pledged to continue strong links between the fort and its community.
"I look forward to continuing and strengthening the already-close relationship between the community and Fort Gordon," Brig. Gen. Cavanaugh said as Augusta Mayor Bob Young looked on from the stands.
After the ceremony, the general said he planned on "drinking from a fire hose" in coming weeks as he learned the particulars of his new post.
"That's going to be quite a task," said Brig. Gen. Cavanaugh, who received basic Signal Corps training at Fort Gordon in 1970 and later spent a year at the base taking the Corps' advanced training course.
"That's when we really fell in love with Augusta and Fort Gordon," said Brig. Gen. Cavanaugh, accompanied at the ceremony by his wife, Kay, and several family members. "We are no strangers to Fort Gordon and Augusta. It just feels good to be home."
Lt. Gen. Cuviello, accompanied by wife, Christine, called Tuesday "a day of conflicting emotions" during his remarks.
"We will take with us many remembrances of wonderful events and experiences," he told the crowd and assembled soldiers. "The one most compelling remembrance we will always have is of the people we've had the privilege of meeting and working with."
The departing general promised to remember Fort Gordon during his work in Washington.
"We'll carry the crusades we had down here to a higher level," he told reporters after the ceremony.
Reach Brandon Haddock at (706) 823-3409.