U.S. ARMY CSIB, III CORPS

Organized in France a little over a year after the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917, the III Corps of the American Expeditionary Force was given command of U.S. forces that were at the time training with the French Seventh Army. In the Aisne-Marne Campaign, it commanded the five American divisions that had previously been under French control. As part of the First United States Army along with III and V Corps, it played a critical role in the Meuse-Argonne offensive that pushed the Germans back and eventually led to the signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918.

After the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, III Corps was initially tasked with defense of the California coastline and then the training of troops for combat. September 1944 saw its arrival in the European Theater of Operations. The Corps’ most decisive actions took place in December when it rushed northward to assist the 101st Airborne Division that was isolate at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. Along the way, III Corps liberated over 100 towns and was pivotal in blunting and eventually turning back the German offensive. Advancing through Germany in 1945, the Corps established the bridgehead over the Roer River that directly enabled the capture of the bridge at Remagen, used to convey six U.S. Army divisions and numerous tanks and artillery pieces across the Rhine before it eventually collapsed. It was the unit's performance in WWII that earned it the nickname "Phantom Corps" because it so often hit the enemy in areas that were least expected.

During the Cold War and Vietnam period, III Corps’ focus was on training, either for rapid deployment to Europe in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion or for the jungle fighting in Vietnam. While it trained some 40,000 soldiers deployed to Vietnam (100,000 total), its bigger role was a “trainer of the trainers” by supervising the training of the staff of I and II Field Forces.

As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, III Corps deployed to Iraq in 2004, where it took on the role of Headquarters Multi-National Corps Iraq (it assumed this duty again in 2007). 2010 saw the unit assume the mantle of United States Forces – Iraq with the responsibility of supervising the move toward stability operations. The Corps arrived in Afghanistan in April, 2013, assuming the mission of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Joint Command to oversee all daily operations throughout the country.


The design of III Corps' Combat Service Identification Badge, or CSIB, is elegant in its simplicity. The three points of the triangular figure (called a "caltrop") stand for the numerical designation of the unit, while blue and white are the official colors chosen to identify flags representing Corps. The caltrop is carried over into the Corps' Unit Crest (Distinctive Unit Insignia).

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