FORT STEWART, Ga. (WSAV) — Tuesday marks 26 years on Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield for the 3rd Infantry Division (ID). On this day in 1996, the division’s colors were unfurled during a ceremony on Cottrell Field.
After the 24th Infantry Division was inactivated, the 3rd ID took over the role as the armored force of the XVIII Airborne Corps as part of the U.S. Army’s reduction to a 10-division force.
That day, Dominic Pompelia, the 3rd ID Deputy Chief of Staff, was there as a major serving as the division artillery plans officer. Pompelia served in multiple company-grade positions, including as a battery commander with then-2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, in Germany between 1992 and 1995.
Pompelia says at the time, there was opposition to the Army’s decision to inactivate the 24th ID due to its rich history, but the 3rd ID was ready to continue its own legacy on U.S. soil at Fort Stewart, Fort Benning and Hunter Army Airfield.
“I was equally proud of the transition because I had previously served in the 3rd ID in Germany. I was both proud to be a Dogface Soldier and a Victory Soldier,” said Pompelia.
For the last 26 years, the 3rd ID has served the community of coastal Georgia and Columbus for 20 years.
The 3rd ID was originally created at Camp Greene, North Carolina, on Nov. 21, 1917. The division earned the nickname “Rock of the Marne” in World War I when division commander Maj. Gen. Joseph Dickman said “Nous Resterons La” to French allies as flanking units retreated in the face of a massive German offensive at the Marne River near Chateau-Thierry on July 15, 1918.
The words, translated to “We shall remain here,” are now embossed on the 3rd ID unit crest.
The division has arguably set the standard of excellence, with no other division in the Army having more Medal of Honor recipients, including the most decorated U.S. Soldier of World War II, Audie Murphy.
The 3rd ID says that same exceptional spirit shines through today as the division continues to modernize and train for the future and remains responsive to both domestic and abroad contingency missions.