Four of Fort Stewart’s access gates are now more than just numbers.
They now bear the names of 3rd Infantry Division heroes.
Spanning the division’s history from its founding during World War I to its actions in Operation Iraqi Freedom, gates 2, 4, 7 and 8 will be known as Mendonca, Marshall, McGarr and Barkley gates, respectively. The new names were unveiled Thursday morning at Cashe Garden.
“Today was extremely important to us because it helps memorialize soldiers who have put both the mission and the men first in their service to their nation and specifically the 3rd Infantry Division,” said Lt. Col. George Morris, commander of 2/7 Infantry Battalion.
Sgt. Leroy Mendonca was not even 19 years old when he was killed in action, covering his platoon’s withdrawal under fire from a larger enemy force July 4, 1951, near Chich-on, Korea. Even after he ran out of ammunition, Sgt. Mendonca continued to fight off the attackers, using his bayonet and his rifle as a club until he was mortally wounded.
Sgt. 1st Class John Marshall was a Hinesville resident and the oldest soldier in the 2nd Brigade when he volunteered to go overseas for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Marshall manned a grenade launcher, escorting a badly-needed resupply column for the second “Thunder Run” into Baghdad, when he was struck and killed by enemy fire.
Col. Lionel McGarr was a veteran of combat in North Africa and throughout Europe with the 3rd ID. He commanded the 30th Infantry Regiment in Africa and was assistant division commander of the 3rd ID from December 1944-January 1945.
PFC John Barkley was assigned to the 4th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd ID during the Meuse-Argonne offensive and helped break up German counterattacks on the American line.
“This is a great honor,” said Rosa Crass, Col. McGarr’s daughter. My father would have been so honored and proud that he was being recognized. The 3rd Division and the 30th Infantry of the 3rd Division was very, very close to his heart. He carried that with him all of his career.”
For more, see the December 6 edition of the Courier or return to coastalcourier.com.