By Sgt. Laurissa Hodges.
The 3rd Infantry Division conducted a gate dedication, renaming Fort Stewart, Georgia, Gates 1, 3 and 5 in honor of Capt. Jesse Wooldridge, Capt. Maurice Britt and Cpl. Hiroshi Miyamura during a ceremony on the installation, Nov. 18.
The 3rd ID officials hosted the ceremony to honor the legacy of the Dogface Soldiers in ways that will mark their memory and selfless service for the current soldiers and community. The distinguished Dogface Soldiers are from three distinct periods of the 3rd ID history.
“Capt. Jesse Wooldridge is a World War I Distinguished Service Cross recipient for extraordinary heroism in action while serving as the commander of Golf Company, with 38th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division, at Chateau-Thierry, France, on July 15, 1918,” said Maj. Gen. Charles D. Costanza the commanding general of the 3rd ID. “A hero during the very conflict to which the Division owes its motto ‘Rock of the Marne,’ Capt. Wooldridge led a counterattack of 189 men against a German force of five times his own numbers.”
While only 51 men returned unhurt, his company conquered or took prisoner approximately 1,000 German soldiers. Wooldridge’s success was not without personal sacrifice as he completed his mission having been shot in the chest and back as well as overcoming a bayonet wound to the neck.
“Capt. Maurice ‘Footsie’ Britt is a Medal of Honor recipient from World War II as a member of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd ID,” said Costanza. “On October 29, 1943, he received the Silver Star for his actions at Acerno, Italy, as well as the Medal of Honor and a battlefield promotion for his extraordinary actions against the enemy at Mignano, Italy.”
During that event, while disdaining enemy hand grenades and close-range machine pistol, machine gun and rifle fire, Britt inspired and led a handful of his men in repelling a counterattack of approximately 100 Germans against his company positions north of Mignano, Italy, on Nov. 10, 1943. His actions resulted in the capture of four Germans and enabled several captured Americans to escape. He later earned a Bronze Star Medal and became the first infantry soldier to be awarded the top combat decorations for valor in a single war.
"Take what you’ve learned here because you never know when it’s going to stick to a kid who grew up going to all the Medal of Honor events from age five to about age 14 in the 80s and 90s," said Christopher Britt, grandson of Capt. Britt. "I take what he taught me then and what I saw all of these other men exemplify and have brought that through to my life and I hope that I can pass that along to my children and grandchildren, other people that I meet and other people that I work with."
“As a son of Japanese immigrant parents, Cpl. Hiroshi H. ‘Hershey’ Miyamura is a Medal of Honor recipient from the Korean War,” said Costanza. “While serving with Company H, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd ID at Taejon-Ni, Korea, on April 24, 1951, the enemy attacked, threatening to overrun their defensive position. Cpl. Miyamura unhesitatingly jumped from his shelter, wielding his bayonet in close hand-to-hand combat, subduing approximately ten enemy soldiers.”
Following the attack, he administered first-aid to the wounded and directed evacuation, continued to deliver fire until his ammunition was expended, while ordering his squad to withdraw and stayed behind to bayonet his way through infiltrated enemy soldiers, killing more than 50 of the enemy before he was severely wounded.
"In the future, as you drive in Wooldridge, Britt or Miyamura Gates, take some time to remember these three incredible Dogface Soldiers," Costanza said. "Think about what selfless service is truly all about and what service to our nation means."
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