On April 7,1991,
the Spearhead Division bid an emotional farewell to Maj. Gen.
Paul E. Funk, the man who had guided the division to victory
over the Iraqi Republican Guard, and welcomed as its new commander
another veteran of the conflict, Maj. Gen. Jerry R. Rutherford.
[PHOTO at right: Rutherford (on left) assumes command
by accepting the Division's colors from 7 Corps Commander Lt.
Gen. Frederick Franks. (PAO photo)]
Rutherford, who commanded 2nd Armored Division (Forward) during
the war, dons the Spearhead patch for the third time in his distinguished
career. Shortly after earning his commission, Rutherford served
with the 3rd AD in the 503rd Admin. Co. and as aide-de-camp to
the Assistant Division Commander. Nineteen years later he returned
as commander of the "Thundering Third" Brigade. To
date, Rutherford has spent nearly six years commanding Spearhead
To close the circle, 3rd AD Assistant Division Commander for
Maneuver, Brig. Gen. Paul "Gene" Blackwell, has assumed
command of 2nd AD (Forward). Funk, whom 7 Corps Commander Frederick
M. Franks hailed at the change of command ceremony as "a
master of mounted armoured warfare," will place his battle-honed
expertise directly at the service of Pentagon planners as an
Army Deputy Chief of Staff.
Funk's last official act as Spearhead commander was accepting
the Distinguished Service Medal, the nation's second-highest
battle decoration. Franks pinned the medal to the left pocket
of Funk's DCU jacket in recognition of Funk's role in leading
3rd AD to decisive victory over three opposing Iraqi armored
divisions in only four days.
Speaking a few minutes after the Division's colors were passed
at 10:20 a.m. to Rutherford, Funk credited the soldiers of the
Spearhead Division for his award, which he said was earned "through
their hard work and, in fact, blood." Funk reflected on
his role as one of only three wartime Spearhead commanders, and
praised the division's soldiers for performing "as well,
or even better, than their (wartime) predecessors... you've ensured
no right-thinking person will ever again call those bunch of
hooligans from the Republican Guard 'elite.'"
Referring to his often-quoted statement, "Talkin' ain't
Fightin'," Funk told the soldiers assembled for the change
of command ceremony that Spearhead soldiers "can talk proud
now. You've done it, you've earned it" The day, and the
award. Funk said, "belongs to you."
Taking the podium after Funk's speech, Rutherford said he was
proud to take command of a division "whose record speaks
for itself Spearhead soldiers," he said, "(You) should
be very proud of yourselves and of your great achievements here
in Southwest Asia. You have defeated the Iraqi Army. You are
a trained and ready division, that has proven itself victorious
on the battlefield.
"Hold your heads high, Spearheaders," Rutherford urged.
"The world has taken note of your awesome capabilities."
At the same time, Rutherford warned "this is not the time
to relax. It is a time of continued vigilance. The mark of a
great unit is that it never lets itself down." Rutherford
said every soldier should apply the skill and professionalism
that was the division's hallmark in the war "to assure that
you, and your buddy, return home safely to your families."
Following the commanders' remarks, representatives of the Third
Armored Division passed in review. Although only a single platoon
from each battalion rendered salutes, the procession still took
30 minutes, a sample of Spearhead power that drove 233 kilometers
while destroying 853 Iraqi vehicles in only 97 hours.