The Bayonet

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014

Armor chief receives 1st star

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The 48th Chief of Armor, Leopoldo Quintas, received his first star and was officially promoted to brigadier general Friday, during a ceremony in front of McGinnis-Wickam Hall.

During his remarks at the ceremony, Quintas said the event was not about him, but the Army as a whole.

“The event today, this promotion, is not about me,” he said. “It’s not about individual achievement because the Army is a team sport. Army generals are not born. They are made. Today is really about the efforts of friends, Family, subordinates, superiors and peers — everyone who has contributed to the development and successes along the way that have led to this moment. Everyone shares an officer’s progression to general, and mine is certainly no different.”

Maj. Gen. H. R. McMaster, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, said Quintas’ promotion was a momentous occasion.

“This is a great day for our Army and especially for Soldiers and Families who will benefit from Lee Quintas’ leadership as a general officer,” McMaster said. “Lee is a leader of great vision who has innovated to improve the combat effectiveness of our Armor and Cavalry forces. I had the privilege of serving alongside then-Lt. Col. Quintas in South Baghdad in 2005. He is also a proven combat leader. He led 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, with great vision, determination, courage and compassion. And, Lee recently returned from a one-year combat tour of duty in Afghanistan, where he served as the chief of staff of the 3rd Infantry Division.”

Lt. Gen. Robert Abrams, the senior military assistant to the Secretary of Defense, was the guest speaker at the ceremony. Abrams formerly commanded 3rd Infantry Division.

“What you need to know about (Quintas) is what’s not written in his bio,” Abrams said. “He’s had every hard job there is. He’s been a selfless servant. It’s never been about him, and it’s never been about his unit. It’s been about the institution. It’s been about his greater-sized unit. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and things that nobody else wanted to do. … I’ve seen this officer in peacetime and in combat, and there is no one in his peer group (who) is more deserving to be selected for brigadier general than Lee Quintas, without question.”

Quintas said one of the best parts of Friday’s ceremony was being able to share it with his close friends and Family.

“I’m just really excited and pleased that so many Family members, friends and professionals — people I’ve worked with from the very beginning of my time in the Army — could be here with us today to celebrate this important occasion,” Quintas said. He also took time during the ceremony to thank his wife, Lori, for her support during his military career. “Everywhere we’ve been, everybody loves Lori, but I love her the most,” he said. “At the end of the day, she’s the best part of me, and she’s made me a better person.” While Quintas now wears his first star, he said his approach to serving as Armor School commandant has not changed.

“Just like at the beginning of our days in the Army, it’s one assignment at a time,” he said. “So, as the commandant of the Armor School, my goal is to increase our ability to provide leadership development for the force, provide technical and tactical instruction to the Armor and Cavalry force so that we really live up to our mission and goal of providing experts in mobile protected firepower, and reconnaissance and security for combined arms maneuvering.”

A 1986 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Quintas has served here since September. As Armor School commandant, Quintas is responsible for all facets of Armor training, including proponency for all doctrine, policies and responsibilities that relate to the Armor force. He was nominated for promotion to brigadier general in July.

Quintas’ previous command assignments include D Company and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 64th Armor, from 1991-1994; Task Force 2-70 Armor from 2003-2006 for Operation Iraqi Freedom I and III; and the 16th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Knox, Ky., from 2008-2010.

Quintas is a graduate of the Armor Officer Basic and Advanced courses, the Combined Arms Services Staff School, Command and General Staff College and the Naval War College. He also earned a master’s degree in applied mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

A veteran of Operations Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, Quintas has served numerous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star with “V” device, Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Bade and Army Staff Identification Badge.

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