What to Know About the 3rd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army

By Sydney Johnson

Activated during World War I in 1917, the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division turns 104 on November 21. Here are six facts you should know to celebrate the division’s birthday.

The 3rd Infantry Division is Also Known as “The Rock of the Marne”

After being activated for World War I the 3rd Infantry Division, which was known as the “3rd Division” at the time, found itself on the Marne River in France, fighting the Germans. The battle was anything but easy, but they persevered. The division’s soldiers set up a defensive position along the Marne River, which helped them beat German offensives. The nickname is an allusion to their resiliency.

Its Motto is a Nod to the Division’s Victory on the Marne River

Not long after that initial victory, the division endured the Second Battle of the Marne. As French troops fell back, the division hurried in to hold the line. Then-commander Maj. Gen. Joseph Dickman shouted (in French so their allies could understand) “Nous resterons la!” Translated to English, this means “We’re staying there!” The French declaration is now the motto of the 3rd Infantry Division.

The Division Has Served in Conflicts Around the World

After serving in WWI, the division also served in World War II in campaigns in Tunisia, France and throughout central Europe. They also served in the Korean War, Vietnam War and the current conflicts throughout the Middle East.

The 3rd Infantry Division Has a Unique Shoulder Patch

Official 3rd Infantry Division shoulder patch. | Photo credit militaryvetspx.com

The division’s shoulder patch consists of three white stripes on a blue field. The stripes symbolize the operations the division participated in during WWI. The blue background represents the loyalty of those who sacrifice their lives serving in this division to protect American liberty and democracy.

The 3rd Infantry Division is the Most Decorated Infantry Division in the Army

The Medal of Honor is the most prestigious award a soldier can receive for serving in the U.S. military. Recipients are recognized, usually by the president of the United States, for acts of valor in combat. Many members of the Army have received the medal, but the 3rd Infantry Division boasts the most Medal of Honor recipients56 to be exact.

The Division’s Home is in Georgia

Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airbase, Georgia, is considered the “Home of the 3rd Infantry Division.” The base is the largest Army installation in the eastern U.S., covering 280,000 acres of land. It’s been compared to a small city as it serves about 21,000 service members, 29,500 military family members and 3,500 civilians.

Photo credit DVIDS/Sgt. Joshua Laidacker

A 3rd Infantry Division combat medic crawls on his back while utilizing smoke to conceal his movement during Expert Field Medical Badge testing on Fort Stewart.

-This story was originally published on USO.org in 2020. It has been edited for 2021.

More Stories Like This

Every day, America’s service members selflessly put their lives on the line to keep us safe and free. Please take a moment to let our troops know how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice.


Sign Up for Updates

Be the first to learn about news, service member stories and fundraising updates from USO.

By participating, you agree to the Mobile Messaging Terms for recurring autodialed donation messages from USO to the phone number you provide & to the Privacy Policy. No consent required to buy. Msg&data rates may apply.

Take Action

The USO relies on your support to help service members and their families.

Ways to Support