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
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 recipients – 56 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.
-This story was originally published on USO.org in 2020. It has been edited for 2021.
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