FORT IRWIN, California — Anyone who’s been here has seen it: the field of brightly painted boulders surrounding a small mountain of rocks that symbolizes unit pride at the Army’s National Training Center.
For nearly four decades, combat units have painted their insignias on boulders near the road into this post. It’s known as Painted Rocks.
“It’s a big tradition,” said NTC Command Sgt. Major Matthew Lowe. “The higher you go, the older they are. If you are out there and you look toward the top, you can see the old acorn for the 24th Infantry Division with a big three on there; that unit has probably been deactivated since 1994.”
Lowe was close; the 24th was inactivated in 1996, but the unit’s painting is still old.