III Corps' colorful history dates from 1918 when the Corps served in World War I, winning battle streamers for the Aisne-Marne, Lorraine, and the Meuse-Argone campaigns.
Inactivated in 1919, the Corps was 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 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.
Inactivated in 1946, III Corps was reactivated in 1951 and served on active duty until 1959. Inactivated that year, it quickly returned to duty at Fort Hood during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. In 1962, III Corps was designated as part of the U.S. Army Strategic Army Corps.
During the Vietnam conflict, III Corps trained and deployed two Field Force Headquarters and many combat and combat service support units totaling more than 100,000 personnel.
In recent years, III Corps forces have fought in and supported operations worldwide, to include Grenada, Panama, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq, and provided humanitarian support for Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. III Corps elements provided support for Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
For many years, the primary focus of the III Corps was the reinforcement of NATO. As the world and the U.S. Army have changed the Corps has also changed and broadened its focus to be ready to deploy anywhere, anytime and win.
HISTORY OF THE III ARMORED CORPS 'CALTROP'
The III Corps was organized in the Regular Army in May 1918 at Mussysur-Seine, France, and in December of that same year, the “caltrop” was approved as its heraldic symbol. The three-pointed design represents the numerical designation of the Corps.
As the heraldic symbol of III Corps, the caltrop brings with it centuries of war fighting. It is a simple yet diabolical device composed of four spikes or points arranged so that in whatever manner it is thrown on the ground, it rests on three and presents the fourth upright. Since ancient times — its use can be traced back to the 53 B.C Battle of Carrhae — it has served to slow the advance of troops, especially horses, chariots, war elephants, camels, and, more recently, land vehicles equipped with pneumatic tires. During the Second World War, large caltrop-shaped objects made from reinforced concrete were used as anti-tank devices. And, during the Korean War, the caltrop was employed effectively by United Nations forces against Chinese infantrymen.
The Corps’ shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI) was approved by the Adjutant General, American Expeditionary Force on December 3, 1919. It was approved by the War Department on June 17, 1922. It currently consists of a blue caltrop with one point up, a white equilateral triangle with one point down in its center, and outlined in green.
The distinctive unit insignia (DUI) consists of a yellow shield on which a blue caltrop with one point up is situated. Within the center of the caltrop is a white equilateral triangle with one point down. Yellow alludes to armor.
The blue and white are the authorized colors used in distinguishing flags to represent III Corps.