Division promotes Belgian officer, celebrates continued partnership
Reported By RET B.Lambert
Photo by U.S. Army
French Brig. Gen. Jean-Pierre Fague, 3rd Infantry Division Deputy Commanding General for Readiness, places the rank of major onto Xavier Deroanne, a 3rd ID future operations officer, during a promotion ceremony, Jan. 4 on Fort Stewart. Deroanne is a Belgian officer who is part of the Army’s Military Personnel Exchange Program, which is a program designed to strengthen bonds of friendship, understanding and cooperation between countries and their respective military organizations.
Xavier Deroanne, a Belgian Army capitaine-comman-dant assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, was promoted to the rank of major during a ceremony Jan. 4, 2021, on Fort Stewart, Georgia. The event is an example of the continued partnership between the US and Belgian Army.
Deroanne and his family moved from Bastogne, Belgium, in June 2021 to the United States as part of the Army’s Military Personnel Exchange Program, or MPEP.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with the most powerful army in the world,” Deroanne said. “It is a great honor.”
The MPEP program is a two-year long program designed to strengthen the bonds of friendship, understanding and cooperation between countries and their respective military organizations.
The MPEP program allows foreign officers like Deroanne to serve in the US and to experience the US Army’s customs and courtesies, missions, and daily operations.
“He’s a great infantry leader, trainer, and planner,” said French Brig. Gen. Jean-Pierre Fague, 3rd ID Deputy Commanding General for Readiness and Plans, who also serves with the Division as part of the MPEP program. “I encourage all who come across him to just spend five minutes to get to see through his perspective.”
This unique promotion ceremony included Fague placing the new rank of major on Deroanne amongst flags of all three nations. The Belgian Army rank of major is the equivalent of a senior, post-key developmental major in the U.S. Army. Fague spoke to the ceremony attendees about Deroanne’ s numerous contributions to the Marne Division as well as the value of learning from the wide-ranging experiences of others on staff.
As a future operations officer (G3/G35 Planner), Deroanne helps create plans and pathways to strengthen military forces.
“Xavier is a critical part of the G3 Team and the wider division staff, ‘’ said Col. Alexis “Pancho” Perez-Cruz, the 3rd ID operations officer. “He not only provides unique and valuable insights based on his perspective as a European ally, having already served as an operations officer, he brings another level of experience to the team that enables us all to better serve our brigades and battalions. He is a stellar example of both the Belgian Army and a Dogface Soldier.”
Belgium is one of the most active US allies in terms of force contributions to overseas operations. Belgium contributed to the Resolute Support Mission, deployed forces in support of the Defeat-ISIS coalition, enhanced Forward Presence (eFP), Baltic Air Policing, and the UN Mission in Mali.
Belgium is a key provider of humanitarian, reconstruction, and development assistance to Iraq, and Syria, as well as many countries in Africa. As the host country of the EU and NATO headquarters, Belgium plays an important role in European and Transatlantic diplomacy.
As part of his job within the G3 section, Deroanne helps lead the division’s response to COVID-19 and maintains continued readiness safely despite the challenges the pandemic has brought.
Deroanne said that since arriving at Fort Stewart, his most interesting experience has been working with the division during a warfighter exercise.
A warfighter exercise is a major training exercise that provides complex scenarios with combat and battlefield effects, stimulating service members to respond, then work through the consequences of those decisions.