The 3rd Armored Division History Foundation - an online archive of the U.S. Army's famous
"Spearhead" Division of WW II, Cold War, and Gulf War I - Desert Storm

Click for: Introduction to the Division

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New 3AD book Spearhead now available
Released in February 2019 and available on - $28.00 hardcover

Book cover & Amazon review:

From Adam Makos, the New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call, comes the riveting true World War II story of an American tank gunner's journey into the heart of the Third Reich, where he will meet destiny in an iconic armor duel - and forge an enduring bond with his enemy.

When Clarence Smoyer is assigned to the gunner's seat of his Sherman tank, his crewmates discover that the gentle giant from Pennsylvania has a hidden talent: He's a natural-born sharp-shooting gunner.

At first, Clarence and his fellow crews in the legendary 3rd Armored "Spearhead" Division thought their tanks were invincible. Then they met the German Panther, with a gun so murderous it could shoot through one Sherman and into the next. Soon a pattern: The lead tank always gets hit.

After Clarence sees his friends cut down breaching the West Wall and holding the line in the Battle of the Bulge, he and his crew are given a weapon with the power to avenge their fallen brothers: the Pershing, a state-of-the-art "super tank," one of only twenty in the European theater.

But with it comes a harrowing new responsibility: Now they will spearhead every attack. That's how Clarence, the corporal from coal country, finds himself leading the U.S. Army into its largest urban battle of the European war, the fight for Cologne, the "Fortress City" of Germany. (cont. >)


Battling through the ruins, Clarence will engage the fearsome Panther in a duel immortalized by an Army movie photographer. And he will square off with Gustav Schaefer, a teenager behind the trigger in a Panzer IV tank, whose crew has been sent on a suicide mission to stop the Americans.

All-era 3rd Armored Division Monument
dedicated at Fort Benning, Georgia

  Fort Benning, GA, November 17, 2018 - Over 200 soldiers, veterans, and friends attended a dedication ceremony for the all-era 3rd Armored Division "Spearhead" Monument at the National Infantry Museum Memorial, Patton Park. Held in conjunction with an annual reunion of the Association of 3d Armored Division Veterans (A3ADV), the dedication was the culmination of a 3-year project by the Association to design, fund, and have built a unique, imposing monument and to include sections for engraved paver stones. The site honors all Spearhead soldiers who served during the Division's famed 50-year history (1941 - 1992) that included WWII in Europe, the Cold War in Europe, and Gulf War I - Operation Desert Storm in Iraq. (Army photo by Markeith Horace of the Ft. Benning Maneuver Center of Excellence)

News of the coming

National Desert Storm & Desert Shield War Memorial

The Memorial and its location has been approved by Congress and President Trump
(March 2017) to be built by 2021 with private funds on the National Mall in DC.

Desert Storm Memorial project - Learn More

Continue to scroll down this page to view
a sampling from the website's collections.


Three memorable newsletters
of the 3rd Armored Division (WWII) Association
available for online viewing

Download and View

... the final three annual issues of the Newsletter (2010, 2011, and 2012)
including coverage of the WWII Association's final national reunion.

UPDATE: Massive 2018 Veterans Day Military Parade - CANCELED

Set for Washington, DC, on Nov. 11, 2018, it was canceled on August 16, 2018, as agreed upon by both President Trump and the Dept. of Defense. An estimated cost approaching $100 million was reportedly the primary reason.

Washington, D.C., June 8, 1991: A battalion-size formation of 3AD troops is shown in the Gulf War Victory Parade that remains to this day the largest and most impressive U.S. military parade since the celebratory aftermath of WWII in 1945. At the lead in this photo is Maj. Gen. Jerry R. Rutherford (third from right) who had taken over command of the 3AD from Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk in Kuwait after Desert Storm. The above Spearhead troops had flown from West Germany for the event and are shown after crossing D.C.'s Memorial Bridge. Over 10,000 marching and riding personnel from all service branches took part in the parade that included marching bands, aircraft flyovers, armored vehicles, missiles, and other military hardware. Search for excellent videos of the parade.

At a WWll 3rd Armored Division Association informal get-together held Aug. 16-20, 2017, in Philadelphia, three Spearhead WWII veterans shared stories and answered questions from friends and families. Each was a tank crewman in the thick of combat in France, Belgium, and into Germany. Left to right: Joe Caserta, age 95; Walt Stitt, 93; and Clarence Smoyer, 94. (Photo by Gary Edmondson)

A Remarkable Tribute to the Spearhead Legacy
The Top Three U.S. Army Generals by rank on January 2012
-- All were veterans of the 3rd Armored Division --

Photo montage by

Left to right:


Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Served as Executive Officer (XO) of 3AD's 3rd Brigade in Operation Desert Storm. Full service in 3AD was 1988-1991, also including XO of 4/67 Armor.

Gen. Raymond Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army:
Served as XO of 3AD's 2nd Bn, 3rd Field Artillery in late Cold War, then as XO of Division Artillery in Operation Desert Storm. During 2008-2010, Odierno was Commanding General of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army:
Served in the 3AD during 1985-88, including 1/33 Armor and as Bn S-3 of the 4-8 Cav where he was considered the behind-the-scene "brains" of Spearhead's historic victory (by D-4-8 Cav) at NATO's 1987 CAT tank gunnery competition. VIDEO SECTIONS

 3AD in World War II   Gulf War I & Desert Storm
 3AD in Cold War   Interviews of WWII Vets

Much anticipated additional book about the 3AD
Yet another unexplained delay of release date! It's now June, 2020.


Written by Bradley Gericke, Phd and military historian, and author of David Petraeus: A Biography, this narrative history of the 3AD covers its activation in 1941 until its flag folded in 1992. Gericke earned a commission in armor from West Point in 1988 and rose to Brig. Gen. before retirement.

The book provides a detailed campaign narrative of the Division in WWll that highlights its accomplishments in the breakout of Normandy, the fighting in northern France and Belgium, and the pursuit across Germany. It explains the historical development of the U.S. armored force as well as artillery and other weapons systems, including tactical nuclear. The book presents interesting leader capsules and vignettes of small unit actions. It includes coverage of the 3AD's preparation, deployment, and battlefield conduct during the Persian Gulf War.

The U.S. Army's Third Armored Division in Battle will be available in hardcover from Amazon. com and others for about $48.00 plus shipping.

3AD Headquarters Change-of-Command ceremony in 1957 at Drake Kaserne in Frankfurt/M, West Germany. Drake served as Spearhead Division Headquarters for 36 years (1956 to 1992). Photo is from a 35mm Kodachrome slide located in 2015 by Jim MacClay of Staff

General Creighton Abrams
(for whom today's Abrams M1 battle tank is named)
3rd Armored Division Commander, 1960-62

"Ready to fight with gunpowder or tactical nukes."
(TIME magazine sub-headline)

  In the long and illustrious career of Gen. Abrams, the 3AD was the only tank division he ever commanded. He was also the Division's assistant commander in 1959-60. Comments by the General about the Cold War and his time with Spearhead appeared in a lengthy Oct. 13, 1961 TIME magazine cover story.

Abrams' career after the 3AD:

Commander, V Corps, Frankfurt, 1963-64

Commander of U.S. Forces in Vietnam, 1968-1972
(succeeding Gen. Wm. Westmoreland)

Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, 1972-1974

Selected excerpts from the Cover Story of October 13, 1961:

  • "Abrams makes no bones about his pride in commanding U.S. soldiers at a critical point in Western defenses. 'If there's going to be trouble,' says Abrams, 'I prefer to be right here and right in this division [the 3rd Armored]. This is the job I want.'"

  • "Abrams: 'We're ready in 'atomics' [tactical nukes], but a lot of things could happen without having to use them. If I thought only in terms of 'atomics,' and I couldn't use them for ten days or so, then, by God, I couldn't get the job done right.'"

  • "Since taking command of the division a year ago, Abrams has weeded out 200 officers and men who did not shape up to his standards."

  • "Says Lieut. General Garrison ('Gar') Davidson, 57, command
    er of the Seventh Army: 'The 3rd Armored will give the Reds their first bloody nose.'"

  • "Abrams [of his WWII experiences with the 4th Armored Div., when he was Gen. George Patton's favorite Third Army battalion commander]: 'I like to be out on the point where there's nothing but me and the goddam Germans and we can fight by ourselves.' and 'There's too much stress on taking prisoners. Our job is to annihilate the enemy.'"

3rd Armored Shermans firing 75mm high-explosive rounds as artillery southeast of Stolberg, Germany, on Nov. 16, 1944. This was the furthest advance into Germany by any Allied force at that point in the war.

3AD Cold War Training in the Defense of Western Europe

Cold War exercise at Hohenfels Training Area, West Germany, in the 1980's. These 3AD soldiers (2 photos above) and their specific unit(s) were unfortunately not identified in available records. Anyone with that information, or other details, please contact the webmaster.

The Major General Maurice Rose
Armed Forces Reserve Center
Middletown, Connecticut

Named for 3rd Armored Division's WWII Commander
Dedication and Ribbon-cuttings was held on December 10, 2011

The Reserve Center main building as seen in November, 2011. Major Gen. Rose, of WWII fame in Europe, was born in Middletown in 1899 to Polish immigrant parents in a building (508 Main St.) that still stands today. (Photo by Vic Damon of staff)

3AD Desert Storm scenes in Iraq in February, 1991

President John F. Kennedy inspects the 3AD at Hanau, West Germany, in 1963
Life Magazine photo

The 280mm Atomic Cannon that was de facto attached to the 3rd Armored in West Germany during much of the late 1950's and early '60's for purposes of the cannon's security and shared artillery field exercises. However it remained under direct operational control by a special V Corps nuclear crew. Pictured above as part of a public weapons display near Frankfurt, the cannon could fire 550-pound nuclear and conventional shells up to 20 miles with great accuracy. The photo, a Kodachrome slide, was located by Jim MacClay of staff in 2016. (Photo copyright by Merritt Nesin)

Sp4 Elvis Presley
One of the Division's Best Singers

Elvis received his draft notice at age 23 in Memphis, TN, and was inducted on March 24, 1958, After 6 months at basic and advanced training at Ft, Hood, TX, he was assigned to the 3rd Armored Division's 1st Battalion, 32nd Armor Regiment, Ray Barracks, Friedberg, West Germany. Elvis served with the Division from 10/1/58 to 3/1/60 with an MOS of 133.60: Armor Intelligence Specialist, or "Scout", and by all accounts he was a first-rate soldier. Shortly before his discharge, he was promoted to Sgt. E-5. (Presley photo montage above © 3rd Armored Division History Foundation)

Much more about Elvis and the 3rd Armored Division is in our "At Ease" section

About this website: Copyright © 2003-2019 by the 3rd Armored Division History Foundation. All rights reserved. This website,, is not associated with the U.S. Department of the Army or the Department of Defense. This site is a private, non-profit, historical project that is supported and maintained on behalf of 3rd Armored Division veterans and their families.

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