III Corps celebrates 100 years
By LYNETTE SOWELL
On Wednesday morning, a gathering 100 years in the making took place at the III Corps Headquarters on Fort Hood as the division celebrated its centennial, with military and area dignitaries and civic leaders attending.
The event featured a historical montage of soldiers dressed in period uniforms, with each of them sharing about different eras of III Corps history, starting in 1918 in France during World War I, through the present-day III Corps soldier battling ISIS and protecting freedom around the globe.
Maj. Gen. John “JT” Thomson III, deputy commanding general of III Corps, served as the keynote speaker prior to a cake cutting.
“My name is Thomson, and I am a Phantom Warrior,” Thomson said, who was standing in for the deployed Lt. Gen. Paul Funk II. “One hundred years ago today, on May 16, 1918, III Corps was organized in France as part of the American expeditionary force to fight World War I.”
Thomson talked about the legacy and sacrifice of the Phantom Warriors who came before, such as Sgt. Joseph Sadwoski, after whom III Corps’ Sadowski Field is named. During World War II, Sadowski returned back to a burning tank to attempt to rescue a fellow soldier trapped inside.
After Thomson’s remarks, he received a proclamation signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and the Operation Phantom Salute logo was unveiled, and the centennial cake was cut.
Among the leaders who helped cut the cake with a saber were retired Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, father of the present commander. Several of the other III Corps former leaders included Ret. Lt. Gen Pete Taylor, Ret. CSM Dennis Webster, Ret. CSM Joe Gainey.
Funk called being a III Corps leader a responsibility, not a right or a privilege.
“We just represent everybody else. The thing about rank is, it doesn’t have its privileges, it has its responsibilities,” said Funk.
On the other side of the world in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Funk II also held a cake cutting.
One Covite who served in III Corps, Copperas Cove city councilman Marc Payne, attended the celebration and reflected on his days in III Corps and at Fort Hood, particularly back in the late 1970s.
“I was in Alpha Company, 163rd MI, and Bravo 4th MI, and was one of the first to use the battle simulation center and assisted with the first computer-assisted First Cav gams on Fort Hood back in the late 70’s.”
The III Corps centennial festivities will continue throughout 2018, with the Operation Phantom Warrior Salute taking place October 7-20, to include Fishing For Freedom, the Army 10-mile Shadow Run, the Warrior Open Golf Tournament, and culminating with the Operation Phantom Warrior Salute Concert with Gary Sinise and the Lt Dan Band.