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Soldiers, veterans, Family members and others from across the tricommunity area came together to bid farewell to Armor School commandant and 48th Chief of Armor Brig. Gen. Leopoldo Quintas July 25 at Derby Auditorium.
Quintas arrived at Fort Benning in September 2013, and said the team at the Armor School has made numerous accomplishments since his arrival.
"I've been part of a fantastic team that has achieved a lot in the short time that I've been here," Quintas said. "In the area of doctrine, we've fundamentally rewritten the way that we fight and we've captured lessons learned from 13 years of war to make our doctrine relevant to the future, both in the near term and the long term. ... In organization, we've reorganized here at Fort Benning to provide better training and leader development. We've also proposed how to reorganize parts of the Army to be a better warfighting organization.
"In the area of training, we continue to pursue mastery of the skills that we're responsible for, and we've come a long way in providing that to the Army. In the area of materiel, in an era of decreasing resources and an Army that's getting smaller, we've helped to set the priorities for those things that are most important to the Army as we look at future warfare. In leader development, we've come a long way in outlining the appropriate career path and managing personnel so that those individual Soldiers, NCOs and officers are best developed as individuals and best developed for the Army."
Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, the Maneuver Center of Excellence commanding general, spoke during the ceremony, and said the MCoE will miss the entire Quintas Family.
"One of the things you don't necessarily like to do is to say farewell to somebody, particularly somebody whose contribution, from a Family perspective and an individual perspective, to the MCoE, Fort Benning and the outside community is so substantial that you know as this individual departs, there's going to be a break in continuity in what this individual provides," Miller said.
Miller said Quintas has been an exceptional asset to Fort Benning, not just to the Armor School, but the entire MCoE.
"Even though (Quintas) is the armor commandant, he's a general officer at the MCoE, and he's focused on preparing our Army, bettering our forces for the battles our nation must face and protecting and defense of the Constitution of the United States of America," Miller said. "If he didn't tell me he was an Armor officer, I wouldn't know. I wouldn't know because I think he cares as much about an Infantry squad as he does a tank crew or a Field Artillery unit. ... For that, I give Lee the maximum thanks."
Quintas departs Fort Benning to serve as the deputy commanding general of 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas.
"We're really going to miss being at Fort Benning with this fantastic local community, but we are looking forward to moving back to a division that has an outstanding reputation as an organization," Quintas said. "I'm looking forward to getting back to troops who are preparing to deploy and taking what I've learned here and putting it to best use to help leaders and Soldiers accomplish their mission."
Brig. Gen. Dennis McKean, now the deputy commanding general of 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, has been selected to serve as the next Armor School commandant and chief of Armor.
Quintas said McKean is a great choice to lead the Armor School as the Army faces future challenges.
"The Army is in a transitional period - there are decreasing resources available to our organization, so we're facing some very hard decisions, whether it's in terms of how we're going to organize, how we're going to equip or how we're going to train," Quintas said. "Those decisions will be made in the next year and will have a significant impact on the next fight we may find m ourselves in. So, as I talk to Brig. Gen. McKean, a great officer and exactly the right person to be coming in as the commandant of the Armor School, I think those are some of the challenges he'll face.
"He's in for a great ride as a fellow Cavalryman. I hope he enjoys the experience and gets to know the local leadership and the citizens here and around Fort Benning. (I hope) he trusts the current leadership that has been at this mission for a while and he'll apply his experiences, which are many and relevant, to continue to evolve the MCoE."