Originally created 06/14/06

Former spokesman in Iraq leads Fort Stewart division



FORT STEWART, Ga. - A two-star general who spent the past year as the U.S. military's chief spokesman in Iraq took command of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division during a ceremony Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch takes charge of the 19,000-soldier division fresh from a year in Baghdad as the coalition forces' deputy chief of staff for strategic effects. His duties included leading U.S. military briefings for reporters in Iraq.

"Many times he was the face of the U.S. military in Iraq," said Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, the commander of the Army's 18th Airborne Corps, which includes the 3rd Infantry.

Maj. Gen. Lynch succeeds Maj. Gen. William G. Webster, who led the 3rd Infantry on its second tour of duty in Iraq last year. The division's tanks and Bradley armored vehicles led the charge to Baghdad during the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

"I am indeed humbled to be in your ranks," Maj. Gen. Lynch told his brigade and battalion commanders after accepting command from Maj. Gen. Webster during a Fort Stewart ceremony.

Maj. Gen. Lynch also told his troops they still have "much more to do" in the war on terrorism. Later, he declined to give specifics of when 3rd Infantry troops might deploy again.

"There will be a point in time when members of the division have to redeploy to Iraq," he said. "There is a timeline to have portions of the division prepared to go as early as this fall."