The 3rd Infantry Division (3rd ID) is both a combined arms division as well as a light infantry division. It is nicknamed the Marne Division and has its base at Fort Stewart in Georgia. It is currently a subsidiary component of the Air Force. It’s made up of two combat brigades, one aviation unit, one artillery unit and several support units. Founded in 1917 (100 years ago), the division has seen active combat duty in both World War I and World War II, and the division has a renowned history with a lot of accolades and awards.
World War I caused the division to be organized on the November of 1917, which is exactly seven months after the United States officially entered the war. However, the division would not engage enemy forces in combat for another eight months. Their first combat experience in World War I was in France and at the Western front. During the war, the division distinguished themselves in the Aisne-Marne Offensive, when a machine gun battalion of the division had to rush to Chateau-Thierry to hold back the German offensive, even though the French were retreating. As this was happening, the rest of the 3rd ID were protecting Paris, the capital of France. Their doggedness amidst waves of German offensive earned the division the title, “Rock of the Marne”. Over 3,000 soldiers were killed in the war and about 12,000 were injured.
The 3rd ID also saw combat action in World War II. In fact, it was one of the earliest divisions to be involved in the war, especially in ground operations. Also, it was the only division to fight on all European fronts of the war. The most decorated soldier during the war was a member of this division. The division saw combat for around 500 consecutive days from North America all across Europe to Australia. Their first operation of the war, Operation Torch, was several months after the Pearl Harbor attack, which saw the division capturing half of Morocco after landing in Fedala. Even though they remained in Morocco for several months, they didn’t fight in the Tunisian campaign that led to over 250,000 opposition troops surrendering as prisoners of war. Battle casualties for the division during the war was a little above 25,000. Among this number, about 4,500 troops were killed, about 18,500 troops were wounded in action, about 500 were missing in action and about 1,700 were captured as prisoners of war.
The division also participated in the Korean War as well as the Cold War. Recently, it has been involved in the global war on terror. It led the coalition forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom, which was conducted to topple Saddam Hussein’s oppressive government. It was also involved in Operation Enduring Freedom.
The division has received the Presidential Unit Citation twice (1945 and 2003). It has also received the Meritorious Unit Commendation three times (2007-2008, 2009-2010, and 2012-2013). Dogface Soldier is the title of the Division Song.