Movement to Germany
On March 15, 1955, the present history of the Spearhead Division was launched: the 3d Armored Division was reorganized as a combat division capable of fulfilling its assigned role in NATO defense of the Western World.
A few weeks later, the Department of the Army announced that the 3d Armored Division would become a part of the "new look" in the Army: "Operation Gyroscope," a policy of sending entire units, rather than replacements, abroad.
Events quietly but quickly began to shape themselves. Taking a glimpse at this new phase for the Spearheader's, one sees the fragments of the new picture become a part of the whole effort.
On April 15, 1955, Major General John Willems, from a post in Pentagon-level intelligence, assumes command and immediately sets the wheels in motion to begin the processing and training of the new members of the Division.
During early June, the cadre of the Division ready themselves for the mission of training new men as the 3d Armored Division is brought up to full strength in the months to come. Each who has the mission of instruction realizes he must first know his own job and the skills required, before he must pass it on to those about to join him.
On a certain Monday morning-July 17, an air of expectancy hangs over gathered men. Someone shouts: "Here they come!" The hustle and bustle is the arrival of chartered busses bringing in the first group of personnel to the new 3d Armored Division through induction by selective service.
A New York nation-wide radio-television program, August 4, marks the closing phase of the Spearheader's recruiting program. Stage and television star Martha Wright interviews the new Commanding General who appears with the Fort Dix Band and Soldier Chorus, and Fort Knox's ARTC Honor Guard.
To answer the need for increased numbers of men to handle the supply problem, the Division found it necessary to train three classes and set up a supply school to accomplish this. Three hundred and fifty-seven men successfully completed the instruction. The effect of the additional personnel was to better than double the number of qualified men to handle supply matters.
Courses included supply forms; individual clothing equipment; expendable supplies; property transfers; company property books; statement of charges; and procedures for quartermaster, ordnance, signal, medical, chemical, and engineer supply.
Another busy function was the Division Processing Center which was opened on December 6 and through mid-January it had processed more than 1,745 families, and 4,314 dependents. The Medical Section of the center, under the Operation Control of the Division Surgeon's Office, has been busy preparing dependents to meet the medical requirements necessary prior to overseas shipment.
According to 1st Lt. H. E. Sheldon, Officer in Charge of the Medical Section, more than 30,000 immunization shots were administered through mid-January. He stated that at that time, the daily average of shots given amounted to about 1,000, and that no serious complications have arisen as a result of these shots. A large number of families have completed their immunizations and it is expected that immunizations will be complete sometime in March.
Better than 2,000 people have completed passports through mid January and some 1,500 passport applications were completed and transmitted to the Military District of Washington. The same period saw 300 passports sent to the port in New York to await arrival of the dependents concerned. Passports will reach the port in increasing numbers as the days go by.
Two-hundred and twenty 3d Armored Division dependents were made American citizens on January 6 during a special session of the United States District Court in Sadowski Field House, Fort Knox, in another step to prepare them to meet legal requirements as speedily and easily as possible.
Naturalization Examiner Patrick B. McHugh of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service said the class was one of the largest to be naturalized in many years in his area and was the first class to receive citizenship on the Fort Knox military reservation since the years of World War II. The entire class totaled 227 citizen candidates. Presiding over the ceremony was Federal Judge Roy M. Shelbourne. Twenty-two different countries were represented by the citizen candidates.
Classes in naturalization were started soon after the Division was alerted for duty in Germany. These classes were under the direction of the Division Chaplain, Lt. Col. Maury Hundley, Jr., and his staff. According to the Federal Naturalization Examiner, most of the applicants were very well prepared even though many had been in the country only a short time.
The main body of the division which follows the Advance Party by ship will begin to leave Fort Knox for Germany about April 25. Except for the Advance Party and Rear Detachment, the Division will be shipped in three separate increments: Combat Command "A," first; Combat Command "B," second; and Combat Command "C," third. The Division will occupy the area of Hesse in Western Germany. All are expected to be at their destination by June of this year.