CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq - Combat patches are a status symbol in Army life, a visual indicator that a Soldier has done his or her time in a war environment and lived to tell about it.

That status was bestowed upon a small group of Task Force Marne Soldiers during a patching ceremony, March 27.

The 3rd Infantry Division patch carries with it history dating back to World War I and most recently four tours in Iraq - the most of any division in the Army.

This history bears great significance for those who wear the patch.

"I am proud to wear this patch and be in the 3rd ID," said Pfc. Carlos Diaz, a communications specialist with 3rd Signal Company, Division Special Troops Battalion, 3rd ID.

"I hope to one day live up to the legacy of the division and the Soldiers who have served with it before."

Major General Tony Cucolo, the TF Marne and 3rd ID commander, made sure that everyone in attendance at the ceremony knew at least the key points in the history of the famed blue and white striped patch.

"With this patch on your uniform, you are a walking story," said Maj. Gen. Cucolo. "You are the living legacy of this division, from the stand on the Marne to North Africa, Anzio, the Colmar Pocket and Hitler's lair. From covering the withdrawal at Hungnam and not giving up Outpost Harry in Korea, to crossing the berm in Iraq and coming back two, three, now four times - more than any other division - that is now you.

"You're a walking, talking representative example of 92 years of service and sacrifice ... you have to feel like you should stand a little taller, be better at your duties, and be prepared to put the mission first, never accept defeat, never quit, never leave a fallen comrade. You have to feel like your muscles are wrapped in every battle streamer on those division colors and everyone who went before you. Thousands of Dog Face Soldiers, living and dead have their eyes on you 24/7 and expect you to dominate an enemy the way they did, and never let them or their memory down. So put on that patch today, and take this on. Continue the incredible tradition of this outfit thru your exceptional personal behavior."

Following the formal ceremony, other servicemembers from the division and attached units, who had not yet received their combat patch, were given the opportunity to have their patch placed on their uniform by Maj. Gen. Cucolo, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrews or the person of their choice.