HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - A steady drizzle fell on the small crowd gathered at the entrance road to the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport Feb. 25 to watch leaders and sponsors cut the ceremonial ribbon to the 3rd Infantry Division's newly erected sign, built high on an adjacent berm.

"This [sign] is a symbol of our friendship and the community spirit we share with the Coastal Empire," said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, deputy commanding general, 3rd Infantry Division. "We live and work together to support each other."

The sign is also an expression of pride and gratitude toward Soldiers, said Mark Grainger, president of Grainger Honda and the Savannah Automobile Dealers Association, the primary sponsor of the $10,000 sign. Other contributors include Levy Jewelers and Doug Bean Signs.

"They walk among us," said Grainger about Soldiers of the 3rd ID, "They put their lives on the line for us daily; they're the reason we can lay our heads down safely at night."

The 20 by 60-foot sign, erected by Doug Bean Signs, displays the words "3rd Infantry Division" along with the Rocky patch. Because of its size, the large sign is also visible from the air, along with those of Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., Georgia South University, Savannah Morning News and others.

The 3rd ID sign is one of many other signs created and erected in the Savannah area by the sign company, but it has special meaning for its owner and founder, Doug Bean.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to show my gratitude and to produce a sign that honors Soldiers for all they do," said Bean, adding that his work was a "small piece" of what he feels about the military segment of this community who serve our nation. "Nobody needs to thank me."

Brigadier General Phillips said the military community was thankful and pleased that the sign is completed. He believes it's a symbol of caring and support for 3rd ID Soldiers to see as they travel the airport road.

"It's a gift of fellowship that shows the community's support," he said. "It's been a vision of the past four generations of commanders."