Folks, before we go any farther,
could you just give a big round of applause for the great soldiers
out here on the field today.
General Sullivan, General Joulwan, General Franks, General
Kerwin, all the great former Spearhead commanders already recognized,
Mayor Brandenburg, good friend Horst Wellmen, friends, soldiers,
civilians, families of Fort Knox, and most of all ... soldiers
of the Spearhead Division wearing the patch on their right shoulder,
everyone of them in this formation right here; ladies and gentlemen
... Everyone of them wearing that patch, and lots of them in
this audience, and to their families, most of all to all of you
mighty warriors, great fighters ... What a privilege it is, as
General Franks said, to be here, for General Sullivan to bring
the colors back here to us. We'll take good care of them, sir,
until they're needed again.
I thought I'd talk a little bit about images of war very quickly.
"From the Rhine to the Wadi Al Batin" might be the
other title of it. Under command of the 7th Corps ... after helping
to win the Cold War in Europe under the command of the 5th Corps
... Reunited with the 7th Corps in the desert. I guess in all
my military career, such as it's been, I'm proudest to have been
the fourth wartime commander of the Spearhead Division. I'm proud
to also have marched and soldiered where General Abrams and all
the former great commanders mentioned here today have marched.
Images ... Visions ... from 13 August 1944 to his death on
30 March 1945, an untimely death I might add at the hands of
the enemy, General Maurice Rose led the 3rd Armored Division
through southern France, Belgium, the Siegfried Line, the Battle
of the Bulge, and across the Rhine on 23 March 1945. Ordered
to take Paderborn, those great soldiers, young men, boys really,
fought through the gloomy, wet, chilled day; with the clash of
steel gears; the grind of the tracks; massed tank, rifle, and
artillery fire; and they accomplished the mission.
Will those great vets from the 3rd Armored Division, World
War II, who are in the audience, please stand up today? Ladies
and gentlemen, these are the boys of the Spearhead Division ...
God bless them.
On to the desert, the deserts of Arabia and Iraq, Mesopotamia
... What an honor to command the 3rd Armored Division ... the
most powerful division in the world. It's the truth. 360 tanks,
the great, great Abrams M1A1 tank (how appropriate a name); 340
Bradley Fighting Vehicles; 128 self-propelled 155mm howitzers;
42 Apache attack helicopters; 27 multiple-launch rocket systems
... my god, what combat power. But above all, the best soldiers
in the world, God bless them, in combat.
If I had to sum up what we thought our mission was, given
to us by General Franks, I'd have to quote General Patton who
took this quote from Rudyard Kipling's great poem, "If."
He was writing to his son during World War II. He said, "I
have used one principle in these operations, and that is to fill
the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run.
That is the whole art of war. And when you get to be a general,
remember that." That's what these boys and girls did. The
great Spearhead Division on the move ... massive ... majestic.
The world's greatest Command Sergeant Major Joe T. Hill and
I, flying the column, looking at them as they cross the line
of departure awesome. Is the battle tank dead? My God, it is
not dead, and it will not be dead for a long time on any battlefield
... not with what we can do and not with the soldiers we have.
Great voices of the Spearhead commanders here today -- many
of them -- all of them that came today. Bob Higgins, the only
one of the colonels who couldn't make it here today. All of them
... calm ... cool ... professional ... in charge ... at the Iraqi
border. The Spearhead band playing right there "In the Mood,"
"Pennsylvania 6-5000," and then "Charge."
Then the mighty roar of the M1A1's.
The faces ... the faces ... God bless them as they're going
forward. Tough ... resolute ... absolutely unbeatable.
And then the wounded ... Lieutenant Vassiloti of the 4-7 Cav,
about this tall, a baby, but what a fighter. Staff Sergeant Wimpy
Meyers tried to get out of his bed at the hospital when the Sergeant
Major and I went to visit him. Private First Class McClure, Silver
Star winner, in the 4-18 Infantry ... Private First Class Bradish,
Silver Star winner and scout in the 4-32nd armor, on national
television from the hospital, as he's being recognized after
he was shot through both legs, saying, "The call of duty
doesn't say it ends when you're wounded. The call of duty ends
when you're dead." Where do we get them?
Chief Warrant Officers Zowie and Hatch represent all the great
medics. Joe Hatch, with an Iraqi baby in his arms, thinking she's
going to die ... General Franks and I standing there, and the
medic is crying.
And our dead in World War II and in Desert Storm, God bless
them, every one ... over 2,000 Spearhead soldiers.
And a Norwegian soldier, a Norwegian citizen, who, when I
asked him why he was in the U.S. Army, said, "I knew I had
to serve in an army, but I wanted to serve in the best army in
The greatest colonels ... and they were great because they
were team players. That's what made them great. Jerry Smith,
Mike Burke, John Michitsch, Danny Eby, John Morris, Bill Nash,
Bob Higgins, Rob Goth ... battalion commanders like John Brown
and Mike Deegan the world's greatest Command Sergeant Major,
as I've already said, and my friend Joe T. Hill, who came back
today just for this.
Also here today, our other great Command Sergeant Majors Sergeant
Major Davis of the 1st brigade and Sergeant Major Carr, now of
the III Corps, but then of our Div. Arty The absolutely best
assistant division commanders in the world ... Gene Blackwell,
a Major General now, and Walt Yates, also a Major General ...
and, of course, the wives, the families God bless them. They
had it tougher than we did. My own wife Danny, who sent her son,
her son-in-law, and, of course, me off to war. I carry her gift
that she gave me (but I can never open it) in my left pocket,
over my heart, like I did in the war; she represents all the
I guess I can best describe it by stealing somebody else's
words. Winston Churchill, when he was talking about the 8th Army,
the desert army of the British Army in World War II, and I'll
paraphrase it ... "When this war is over, and the question
comes to you as to where you served, it'll be enough to say,
'I marched and fought with the 3rd Armored Division in the deserts
Yes, we're resting the colors today, but this division will
never be forgotten as long as fighting units are studied, as
long as those great colors, and the magnificent soldiers they
flew over, will be remembered.
Finally, to the members of the most elite fraternity in the
world, the fraternity of combat soldiers, and all our honored
dead ... Rudyard Kipling's words: "I have eaten your bread
and salt. I have drunk your water and wine. The deaths you've
died I watched beside, and the lives you've lived are mine."
God bless the Spearhead Division ... God bless everybody here.