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3rd ID celebrates its history, with all its troops back
3rd ID celebrates its history, with all its troops back
Two Blackhawks, an Apache and a Chinook helicopter roar over Cottrell Field as part of the festivities for the 3rd Infantry Division’s “Twilight Tattoo,” held Monday evening. The playing of a tattoo dates back more than 300 years and in today’s military either signals the last duty bugle call of the day before “Taps” or an evening of entertainment. Photo by Pat Donahue

By Pat Donahue, Coastal Courier.

For the 3rd Infantry Division’s annual Twilight Tattoo, the crowd in attendance at Cottrell Field got to see quite a show – and it was also perhaps its biggest crowd.

The division’s soldiers are all at home – for now – as the 3rd ID headquarters, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Division Artillery and Sustainment Brigade have finished their nine-month deployment across eastern Europe. The 1st Brigade is gearing up for a rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

But before they head west, thousands of soldiers and family members watched as the division celebrated its history, complete with a helicopter flyover, enlisted new soldiers and re-enlisted dozens more.

“The Marne Tattoo is what currently connects those who are serving in the 3rd Infantry Division with our history and our heritage,” said Col. Ethan Diven, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team commander.

The division invited back many veterans, and several former division commanders and command sergeants major were on hand for the event.

“We’ve invited back veterans from previous conflicts,” Col. Diven said. “It’s about professional development but also connecting us to generations of dogfaced soldiers past and present.”

To that end, soldiers dressed in the field garb of the division throughout its history, stretching back to its formation in 1917 and its service in World War I, were part of the event.

Having the division’s soldiers back at Fort Stewart and Hunter does make this year’s tattoo more special, Col. Diven acknowledged.

“It’s like the family back together again,” he said. “We can lean on each other. The load hasn’t changed. The Army expects us to be the hammer of the XVIII Corps. We have modernized and we are always ready to answer the nation’s call. But now you’ve got the entire Fort Stewart community, that’s ready to go, back together again.”

The surrounding local community is invited to be a part of the tattoo as well. For Col. Diven, now in his second assignment to Fort Stewart, Monday evening’s event was the fourth Twilight Tattoo of the Marne Division for him.

“The crowd is bigger than I can remember,” he said. “And it’s a family event too. It’s a pretty amazing event and a great environment. It just speaks to the culture and climate of the Marne Division.”

Col. Diven also expressed his appreciation for the soldiers and their families for the recent mission in eastern Europe. His brigade, along with the division headquarters, DIVARTY, sustainment brigade and the division’s aviation brigade trained with NATO forces in other countries, conducting a number of exercises and live-fire events across the European continent, Col. Diven pointed out.

“I could not be more proud of the Spartan Brigade and the entire division, truly bolstering readiness but also deterring, which was one of the reasons we were over there,” he said.

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