Rocky the Bulldog is the symbol of the 3rd Infantry Division. He was created by Walt Disney himself in 1965. The 3rd Infantry Division gained the right to display Rocky through an exchange of letters between Disney Productions and the 3ID commander at the time, MG Albert O. Connor.
“For many years,” wrote the general, “the 3rd ID has been seeking a trademark based on the symbol of the dogface soldier.
“Our search has been for a symbol with would have wide appreciation as a trademark to supplement the well-known and distinctive blue and white Marne patch, and which mirror the qualities of the Dogface Soldiers; heroic, but humble, fierce, but gentle, quick-witted and wise; with a confidence and dignity that comes from having proved himself” (27 September 1971).
So what IS a Dogface Soldier?
Before the cartoon was drawn, the Marne Division Glee Club wrote this about what a Dogface Soldier was:
The Story of the Dogface Soldier
- Lt. Ken Hart & Sgt. Bert Gold
The trouble with “honest” soldier songs is that they are generally unprintable parodies of other songs, while the trouble with “official” soldier songs is that they are generally phony-sounding, slick productions which completely lack spontaneity. At the beginning of World War II there was a need for a soldier song which could be accepted by the mud-slogging foot soldiers as well as civilian concert audiences – a song in the happy medium between “honest” and “official”.
Early in 1942 Hart and I set about to fill this need by concocting a simple song with would reflect the honest pride of the fighting man, spontaneous-sounding as though the guy marching behind you just made it up, and free of the propaganda slogans of Pentagon public relations. We tried our hand with something so uncommercial that – barring a miracle – it might never have been heard at all.
But the miracle happed. A GI I trained with, a happy-go-lucky guy with a guitar, carried the song overseas and joined the 3rd Infantry Division. “The Dogface Soldiers” was always part of his repertoire as he entertained, and it came to the notice of General Lucian K. Truscott, the commander of the 3ID. General Truscott and his Marnemen adopted “The Dogface Soldier” as their own. The guys liked it, marched to it, and danced to it. Even the Italian civilians enjoyed it.
“The Dogface Soldier” was first heard by the American public as theme music in the Audie Murphy picture “To Hell and Back”. This impressed public bought 300,000 copies of the recording. “The Dogface Solder” thus became the only genuine soldier song of World War II to take its place in the history of American military music.
View Rocky's historical documents from the 3ID Museum.