Document and photo from
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3rd Armored Division Inactivation Ceremony
Fort Knox, Kentucky, 17 October 1992

Remarks by Lt. Gen. Frederick M. Franks, Jr.
Commander, U.S. 7th Corps, 1989-91, including the Gulf War

  Gen. Sullivan, Gen. Joulwan, Gen. Kerwin, LTG Rutherford, MG and Mrs. Funk. Fellow general officers, former division commanders, leaders, and soldiers of Spearhead, members of the Association of the Spearhead Division, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. CSA asked that this ceremony be held here at Fort Knox, the home of cavalry and armor. I am privileged to say a few words.

This is a day filled with emotion. For me and for all those who have been associated with - who have fought with - this division. Proud colors, rolled up and cased, ready to serve again when called. Misty eyes. Proud hearts. Memories rich in service, heroism, and duty to our nation. Soldiers' emotion. Soldiers' emotion driven by a blue-flame pride in knowing here was something special. Something special. That's it.

This splendid 3d Armored Division. This Spearhead Division. A great division with a great history. It is not about M4 tanks or M1A1 tanks. It's about pride and soldiers, and victory in battle. It's about heart and teamwork. Soldiers' heart and teamwork. The spirit of an army and of a great division.

You all know the official history - it's there in the program and many here helped write it. A great history. It's told in the many battle streamers attached to the colors out there. Those pieces of cloth represent the soldiers who lived, trained, fought and died with the Spearhead Division. That's the heart and soul of the 3rd Armored. Great commanders and leaders in this Division, some are here with us today.

But the real heart and soul of this Division - what that flag and those streamers and those soldiers out on that field under BG Larry Jordan represent - are Spearhead soldiers. Soldiers and their leaders whose actions, heart and spirit gave this division its reputation.

The World War II NCO, Sgt Lafayette Pool, named outstanding tank commander in the European Theater as he and his crew destroyed hundreds of enemy vehicles.

The soldiers who kept the peace in the Fulda Gap along the frontiers of freedom throughout the Cold War, training in the mud of Hohenfels or the rain of Grafenwoehr. And who won.

It was my privilege to command elements of this great division in the V Corps cavalry force in the Fulda Gap as the 11ACR Commander during the Cold War, and as Commander VII Corps during Desert Storm. Let me give testimony to what I saw.

During Desert Storm, the Spearhead Division, part of the VII Corps again - the main attack - like they were during World War II - took the fight to the Iraqi Army.

The Republican Guard Tawalkana, the 10th and 12th Iraqi divisions of the Jihad Corps, and elements of several other armored formations. This division drove the spearhead right through the best the Iraqi army had - day and night, in sandstorms and rain. They took the fight to the enemy. When it was over, after 90 hours of intense ground and air mounted combat, they had written another superb chapter in the Division's history.

The Spearhead soldier who said to me, as I was explaining the VII Corps plan on the eve of the Desert Storm ground war, "Don't worry, general, we trust you." That one statement summed up Spearhead training, teamwork, and trust - so important on the battlefield.

During the 90 hours of Desert Storm, the soldiers and leaders, leaders out front, from Division Commander and CSM Joe Hill to the platoon level of this Spearhead Division, attacked over 250 kilometers. They were relentless. In their wake, Spearhead soldiers could count over 1000 turretless tanks and other Iraqi combat vehicles. Magnificent it was fast, but it was not easy. Do not equate swiftness with ease.

And when the war was over, Spearhead soldiers turned their attention to humanitarian assistance in and around the Iraqi town of Safwan. Remaining there until the U.N. assumed control and over 8,400 Iraqi men, women, and children were moved by C130's into Saudi Arabia. Magnificent. Disciplined. Tough American soldiers and leaders.

Soldiers and their NCO's and officer leaders made the Spearhead Division great. The eloquence of their battlefield heroism speaks volumes to us all. Silence is the best testimony to their heroism. It pays tribute to those who aren't here to share the memories - those we remember today and every day, and their families.

Gen. Sullivan, thank you for bringing this ceremony here where those proud and distinguished colors will wait until our nation calls them to service again. I am proud to have served among such heroes.


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