The US Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team celebrated the latest chapter of their mutual history with a patch-changing ceremony at Fort Stewart’s Marne Gardens September 16, 2016.
“We have had a great partnership in the past,” said Maj. Gen Jim Rainey, commanding general of the 3rd ID during his address to the Soldiers. “We have trained together, fought together and sadly, we have bled together.”
Brigadier General Joe Jarrard, The Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard also noted the long history of partnership between the 3rd ID and the Georgia Guard.
“This formalizes a great relationship,” said Jarrard. “This is going to make us better and it will make the division better as well.”
During the ceremony, the Georgia Guardsmen replaced the patch which has symbolized the 48th Brigade for more than 40 years with the historic patch of the 3rd ID.
“It is bittersweet,” said Col. Reginald Neal, commander of the 48th IBCT. “I’ve worn a lightning bolt patch for over 20 years, but putting on the 3rd ID patch means we are part of the team. There is no distinction between a 48th Soldier and a 3rd ID Soldier. It is a very significant day for the National Guard.”
The ceremony reunited the two storied combat units whose predecessors fought together near the waters of the Marne River in 1918 and the Tigris in 2005.
In March 2016, the U.S. Army announced the Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th IBCT, and 3rd ID would be the first units to enter into an associated unit relationship. Nationwide, 27 National Guard and Army units are participating in the associated unit pilot.
As part of the associated unit pilot, Task Force 1-28, an Army infantry battalion based at Fort Benning, Ga., is associated with the 48th IBCT. The 3rd ID provides training guidance to the 48th IBCT while the training program for TF 1-28 is provided by the 48th IBCT.
Since March of this year, the 3rd ID, 48th IBCT and TF 1-28 have integrated operations and training. In addition to exchanging personnel, the units have planned and conducted training exercises.
“This is about readiness,” said Maj. Gen. Rainey. “This is about going to war.
The patch ceremony is the latest evidence of the growing interoperability between the 3rd ID and the Georgia Guard. In August, the 3rd ID Main Command Post Operational Detachment activated at Fort Stewart. The MCPOD is a Georgia Army National Guard unit which will augment the 3rd Infantry Division staff during contingency operations.
The 3rd ID and 48th IBCT have storied histories. Elements of the 48th IBCT predate the American Revolution. During World War I, the 3rd ID fought at the Second Battle of the Marne where it earned its nickname “Rock of the Marne”. In that same battle were Georgia Guardsmen of the 151st Machine Gun Battalion, whose companies carry on today in the 121st Infantry Regiment of the 48th IBCT.
The 3rd ID, and units of the 48th IBCT, served during World War II and both have completed multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. During its 2005 deployment to Iraq, the 48th IBCT served with the 3rd ID. Some of those Guardsmen now proudly wear the 3rd ID patch on both shoulders, a testament to the long interconnected history between the Georgia-based units.