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3rd Armored Division Inactivation Ceremony
Fort Knox, Kentucky, 17 October 1992

Remarks by Major General Paul E. Funk
3AD Commander, 1989-91, including the Gulf War


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 world."

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 Spearhead families.

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 of Mesopotamia.'"

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.


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