Though its Special Designation, or official nickname, is "Spearhead," the 3rd Armored Division is also known by the wonderfully consonant sobriquet "Third Herd." Classified as a "heavy" armored division and activated on September 15, 1941, the unit entered the European Theater of Operations nearly a month after D-Day, and spent most of its time assigned to the First Army. Notable engagements in which the 3rd Armored fought include the Battle of St. Lo, the reduction of the Falaise Pocket, the Battle of Hurtgen Forest (the longest-fought single battle in U.S. Army history), Battle of the Bulge, and the Battle of Dessau, the last major major contest of the war for American troops.
From the mid-1950s until the early 1990s, the 3rd Armored Division was stationed in Germany as a bulwark against possible invasion by the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact forces, in particular advances that might come through the Fulda Gap. In addition to taking part in annual training exercises, the Third Herd received quite a bit of attention when Elvis Presley was assigned to the unit in 1958 (the movie G.I. Blues is loosely on Presley’s stint with the division).  
The end of the Cold War and the reunification of East and West Germany led to the decision for elements within the 3rd Armored Division to begin standing down, but the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent plans for a coalition-based force to repel the invaders led to the unit’s deployment for participation in Operation Desert Storm. Augmented by units from Army Reserve and various National Guards, the division increased in size to more than 20,000 troops. Over the course of the 100-hour conflict, the Spearhead division—engaging in the types of tank battles American forces had not seen in nearly 50 years—obliterated hundreds of Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles and captured upwards of 2500 Iraqi prisoners.
After rotating out of the front lines to serve as a protective force for the rebuilding taking place in Kuwait and less than a year after the fighting of Desert Storm, the unit ceased official operations in Germany and was officially retired in October, 1992.
The 3rd Armored Division’s Combat Service Identification Badge, which features a design identical to that of its Distinctive Unit Insignia (unit crest), is based upon the three colors of the forces comprised by the division. Yellow stands for cavalry; blue is for infantry; and red represents artillery. The graphics of a tank tread, gun barrel, and a lightning bolt stand for mobility, firepower, and speed, respectively. The "pyramid of power" shape is taken from a Tank Corps insignia approved in World War I by an officer whose name would become legendary among not only armored divisions, but also the entire U.S. military: George S. Patton.

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3rd Armored Division Patch (SSI)
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