Fort Benning Community
Team, 3rd Infantry Division
The heritage of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division is a unique blend of two proud lineages. The unit traces its roots to the foundation of the 3rd Infantry and to a long-term affiliation with Fort Benning and the Home of the Infantry.
The 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division was organized on Dec. 1, 1917 at Camp Greene, N.C. From there, the brigade deployed to the First World War’s European battlefields and received battle streamers for participation in the following campaigns: Aisne, Champagne-Marne, Aisne- Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Champagne in 1918. The brigade was disbanded on Oct. 12, 1939 at Fort Douglas, Utah. During World War II, each regiment represented in the 3rd Brigade fought as part of the 3rd Infantry Division, where they were known as the Blue and White Devils. It was reconstituted on April 18, 1963, as 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division in Aschaffenburg, Germany, where it served until relocating to Fort Benning in 1996.
The brigade’s special association with Fort Benning began when the 197th Separate Infantry Brigade was organized in September 1962 as a separate brigade to support the Infantry school. The brigade was later assigned a worldwide rapid deployment mission as part of the XVIII Airborne Corps. In October 1990, the 197th deployed to Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm as part of the 24th Infantry Division. The 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division was attached to the 1st Armored Division alongside the 197th and together they spearheaded the coalition attack to the Euphrates River. In June 1991, upon return from the Operation Desert Storm, the 197th was re-designated as the 3rd Brigade, 24th Infantry Division.
In 1996, the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) colors came home from Germany to Fort Stewart, Ga. On April 24, 1996, the Brigade Combat Team at Kelley Hill assumed the proud lineage of the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. In January 2003, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Kuwait in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
v On March 20, 2003, the brigade spearheaded the coalition ground attack into Iraq, leading the 3rd Division’s attack during three major battles. Over 21 days and 600 km of continuous offensive combat operations, 3rd Brigade’s drive culminated in the isolation and seizure of northwest Baghdad, setting the conditions for the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The Sledgehammer Brigade redeployed to Fort Benning in June 2003 and almost immediately began transformation into a Brigade Unit of Action. In January 2005, the 3rd Brigade deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom III. The brigade spent 2005 conducting full spectrum operations in Diyala Province, parts of Sal ad Din Province and in the western city of Rammadi.
In March 2007, the 3rd Brigade deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom V. After three deployments, totaling 42 months deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 3rd Brigade trained and deployed as a Advise and Assist Brigade in 2009. This is the unit’s fourth deployment to Iraq and the Brigade closely partnered with attached Transition Teams and the Iraqi Security Forces during the deployment. The Hammer Brigade is scheduled to return to Fort Benning in late 2010 and receive the latest equipment in preparation for training.