3rd Infantry Division Celebrates 103rd Birthday
Reported By SFC C.Brock
Photo credit: Sergeant First Class Justin Naylor, 3rd Infantry Division
Today the 3rd Infantry Division celebrates its 103rd birthday.
In an early ceremony yesterday, 3ID Commander Major General Antonio Aguto and Command Sergeant Major Quentin Fenderson cut a birthday cake with a saber during a field training exercise at Fort Stewart.
The 3rd has a storied history, filled with distinguished service and honor. Soldiers of the Division have earned a combined 56 Medals of Honor, the most of any division in the US Army.
Perhaps most famous of its Medal of Honor recipients is Major Audie Murphy, the “Most Decorated Soldier of World War II”. After serving with 3ID, he went from Soldier to actor, portraying his exploits in the classic film, To Hell And Back.
Formed November 21, 1917 at Camp Greene, North Carolina, the Division deployed to Europe less than a year later. There the unit distinguished itself in combat against the Imperial German army during the First World War.
Participating in the Aisne-Marne Offensive in July 1918, 3ID held positions on the Marne River, northeast of Paris. Defending their sector during the Second Battle of the Marne, and as other allied units retreated, the Dogface Soldiers of the 3rd held fast and halted the German advance. It was here that Major General Joseph Dickman, Commanding Officer of the Division, made his battle cry: “Nous Resterons La!" (We Shall Remain Here!)
This victory marked a turning point in the war; from then on, the Germans were on a steady retreat eastward. For its dogged fighting and refusal to fall back, the 3rd Infantry Division received the nickname, “The Rock of the Marne”. German forces referred to the 3rd as the “Blue and White Devils”.
From this legendary beginning, 3ID continued serving with excellence in the Second World War. It was the only US Army Division that fought on all fronts of the European Theater of Operations.
Landing with Lieutenant General Patton’s forces in the amphibious invasion of North Africa in 1942, the Marne Division fought its way through Morocco. 3ID would later land in Sicily and afterward at Salerno on the Italian mainland. They fought ferociously at Anzio, successfully pushing out from the beachhead and onward towards Rome.
The 3rd Infantry Division soon landed in the allied invasion of Southern France, fighting its way through Vichy territory to the Rhine River. It continued its advance, fighting in the Colmar Pocket, and crossing into Germany near Zweibrücken. From there it captured Nuremberg street by street, and then pushed into Augsburg before reaching Austria in the days before the German surrender.
The Rock of the Marne found itself fighting in the Korean War, again serving with marked distinction. Throughout the Cold War, 3ID maintained its presence in West Germany, checking Eastern Bloc military power at a strategic location on the continent.
During the Gulf War, the Division fought against Iraqi forces at the Battle of Medina Ridge, destroying and capturing numerous enemy personnel and other assets. It ended the 1990s serving in Bosnia during Operation Joint Endeavor.
As part of the Global War on Terror, the 3rd Infantry Division spearheaded the Coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003, roaring its way to Baghdad and capturing the city’s international airport. It also served in the Thunder Run into Baghdad.
After redeployment home, the Rock of the Marne was the first division to serve two, and later also three, deployments to Iraq. Fighting doggedly onward, elements of the Division deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, starting with 3CAB.
Today 3ID continues preparing for the conflicts of the future. Training at home and abroad with NATO and other security partners, the Dogface Soldiers of the Marne Division stand ready to face the changing threats of the future.