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U.S. Army Vessel Champagne Marne

June 01, 2010 | Lieutenant Colonel Chris LeCron

Yes, the Army has boats!  We actually call them watercraft - Sail Army!  I have worked in the Army Watercraft field for a long time.  Recently, one of the Army tugboats was re-christened with new nameplates at a ceremony at Kuwait Naval Base.  The U.S. Army Vessel "Champagne Marne" is named for the historic 3rd Infantry Division, motto "Rock of the Marne"


My wife loved driving through the 3rd Infantry Division gate in Savannah, Georgia when the gate guards would salute and say "Rock of the Marne".  I'm a multiple veteran of being a "dog-faced soldier " of the 3rd Infantry Division and have supported their deployments multiple times with Army, Navy, and contracted cargo vessels.  The dog-faced soldier is a name given to members of the 3rd ID in WWII.  We used to sing that song every morning at reveille.


Below highlights from a news story about the USAV (US Army Vessel Champagne Marne).  The Champagne Marne has been active in supporting Iraqi Freedom since 2003.  When  Operation Iraqi Freedom began in 2003, the Champagne Marne helped clear derelict vessels out of the port.

Story link


Every Army vessel is named after a Medal of Honor recipient or famous military battle in American history, including a tugboat recently named for a battle that made 3rd Division one of the most feared in the Army.


In the French Province of Champagne (WWI), along the banks of the Marne River, American forces were fighting off a strong German attack that may have given the German's key strategic strongholds against the Allies.

While other units were retreating all around the newly organized division, 3rd Division maintained its position along the Marne River, against some of the heaviest fighting seen during the war.


The division stood fast, dashing Germany's hope of gaining any further foothold in France and effectively putting Germany on the defensive. For this, the division earned the nickname "Rock of the Marne."


This historic event in America's military history lives on in a tugboat named Champagne-Marne, in honor of that battle.

In a small ceremony at Kuwait Naval Base, a former 3rd Infantry Division commander, Lt. Gen. William Webster, was on hand to help put the new nameplates on the tugboat in a small ceremony, May 6. Webster, now commander of 3rd Army/U.S. Army Central Command, still remembers with pride his years commanding the unit and its history.


The Champagne-Marne was commissioned more than 50 years ago and is one of only two remaining 100-foot tugboats still used by the Army, participating in complex and integrated joint operations with Navy, Coast Guard and Army forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lt. Gen. William Webster, commander of 3rd Army/U.S. Army Central Command, poses with Soldiers and maintainers of the tugboat Champagne-Marne, May 6, 2010 at Kuwait Naval Base. The vessel received new nameplates with the Marne Patch on either side of the name.


Rocky, the mascot for 3rd Infantry Division.  The background is the patch of the 3rd ID.

Description: Upon a blue square three white stripes from heraldic sinister chief to dexter base, the blue background between the white stripes, all within a green border.

Symbolism: The blue stripes represent Infantry, loyalty and the steadfastness of American soldiers. The three diagonal white stripes designate the major operations in which the division took part up until the signing of the Armistice ( the Marne, St. Mihiel, and the Meuse-Argonne), as well as represent the numerical designation of the Division.


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