FORT HOOD — III Corps is celebrating 100 years as "America's Hammer." It was back in World War I when the III Corps soldiers were first activated to serve in Europe.
But III Corps was not always at Fort Hood. The Corps arrived in the 1950s, was then deactivated, and then reactivated back in 1961.
Retired Lieutenant General Paul "Butch" Funk II and Retired Command Sergeant Major Donlie McMullin both arrived to Fort Hood back in 1962, serving in divisions under III Corps.
"This Corps has made a great impact on foreign policy that the United States has enacted over the last 100 years," McMullin said.
Retired Command Sergeant Major Donlie McMullin has been back and forth serving in divisions under III Corps 8 times with the 1st Armored Division and 2nd Armored Division. He and Funk have been lifelong friends since they first met more than 50 years ago.
"All of it was World War II wood. Motor pools were gravel, sort of semi, and a lot of mud when it rained," said Funk, the former III Corps, and Fort Hood Commander, remembering what it was like back when he first started working on post.
Back in the 1990s after Desert Storm in the Gulf, when General Funk led III Corps, the Corps saw its peak numbers at about 49,000 soldiers. Funk said the III Corps represents mighty power.
"If you moved in a column of brigades in combat, the front at Fort Hood, the rear would be in Austin," Funk said, just referring to the massive size of the 1st Cavalry Division alone.
McMullin would agree.
"You know Teddy Roosevelt said 'speak softly and carry a big stick'. This is the big stick," he said, referring to III Corps.
But looking ahead, both General Funk and McMullin say III Corps needs more combat power.
I hope that we get more troops at Fort Hood because Fort Hood and III Corps is the best place to train and the best place to have soldiers. And I hope it comes back to 2 division level like it used to be," said McMullin.
And Funk said robots might be the key to the next 50 years for "America's Hammer."
"Our notion was let's put the robots in place of the soldiers that are in greatest danger. That would be scouts, it would be combat engineers, people like that. It would be tankers. It would be attack helicopters or scout pilots," he explained.
III Corps will be holding a big celebration at III Corps headquarters Wednesday morning at 10 at the flagpole outside. The celebration will include a cake cutting ceremony with Major General J.T. Thomson, deputy commanding general for maneuvers, Command Sergeant Major Maurice Jackson, former III Corps commanders and the oldest and youngest soldiers in III Corps. Visitors are also invited to walk through the headquarters and experience some of the III Corps history first hand.