Fort Hood leadership, soldiers and friends gathered at the III Corps Headquarters’ West Atrium Tuesday morning to celebrate the Corps’ 99th birthday.
“Today kicks off the campaign for the 100th Anniversary of III Corps,” said Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood during the ceremony.
Funk spoke briefly of the III Corps’ history which began in 1918 when the Corps served in World War I, winning battle streamers for the Aisne-Marne, Lorraine and the Meuse-Argone campaigns.
The Corps was inactivated in 1919, and later reactivated in 1940 to train combat divisions. During World War II, the Corps was deployed to The European Theater of Operations and earned the name “Phantom Corps” by hitting the enemy when and least expected. It won campaign streamers in Northern and Central Europe and established the Remagen Bridgehead, enabling the Allies to secure a foothold in Germany.
Although the Corps was inactivated a few times since then, it returned each time and has seen victory in operations worldwide.
“III Corps continues to serve the nation,” said Funk. “As we enter our 100th year, we honor those who’ve gone before us. And it is up to us to tell the story of why we are America’s Hammer.”
Today, III Corps’ major units are the 1st Cavalry Division, 4th Infantry Division, ; as well as the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the 3rd Armored Corps Artillery and the 13th Corps Support Command and spread out over Fort Hood, Fort Bliss, Fort Riley, Kansas, Fort Sill, Oklahoma and Fort Carson, Colorado.
As Funk continued, he recognized that although the Corps is a symbol of the nation’s tenacity, freedom and peace isn’t accomplished alone; but with the help of our nation’s allies.
As a tradition during in every birthday, there must be cake.
As part of the ceremony, Funk, Comm. Sgt. Maj. Alonzo J. Smith, as well as the oldest and youngest soldiers in the Corps cut, the cake together.
With only 11 months in the Army, Pfc. Emmanuel Staples-Bloom, with Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, III Corps, stated he was glad to be a part of such a pride-filled unit and hopes to continue that standard.
When asked how he felt about being around so much leadership, Staples-Bloom stated he felt honored to be invited to the event.
“I like to think of myself as a sponge and try to learn from those around me,” he said.
In the future, the Maryland native stated he hopes to open a cybersecurity firm and with the leadership experience from the Army, he is confident he’ll be able to achieve it.