The 1st Infantry Division is the oldest continuously serving division in the United States Army. The Big Red One (as the Division is commonly known) has had many roles that helped shape the country's history. The First Division was enacted into the U.S. Army as Headquarters, First Expeditionary Division, May 24, 1917. It was organized in May 1917 from Army units then in service on the Mexican border and at various Army posts throughout the United States. It was officially organized June 8, 1917, under the command of Brig. Gen. William L. Sibert. The first units sailed from New York and Hoboken, N.J., June 14, 1917. Upon arrival in France, the Division, less its artillery, was assembled in the First (Gondrecourt) training area, and the artillery was at Le Valdahon. On the 4th of July, the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, paraded through the streets of Paris to bolster the sagging French spirits. At Lafayette's tomb, one of General Pershing's staff uttered the famous words, "Lafayette, we are here!" Two days later, July 6 , the First Expeditionary Division was redesignated as the First Infantry Division. On the morning of Oct. 23, the first American shell of the war was sent screaming toward German lines by a First Division artillery unit. Two days later, the 2nd Bn., 16th Inf., suffered the first American casualties of the war. The last major World War I battle was fought in the Meuse-Argonne Forest. The Division advanced seven kilometers and defeated, in whole or part, eight German divisions. The war was over when the Armistice was signed. The Division was at Sedan, the farthest American penetration of the war. The Division was the first to cross the Rhine into occupied Germany. By the end of the war, the Division had suffered 22,668 casualties and boasted five Medals of Honor winners.

        The 1st Infantry Division entered World War II at Oran, North Africa, as part of the "Torch" Invasion, the first American campaign against Germany. On Nov. 8,1942, following training in the United Kingdom, men of the First Division landed on the coast of Algeria near Oran. The initial lessons of combat were harsh and many men were casualties in the following campaign in Tunisia. On May 9, 1943, the commander of the German "Afrika Korps" surrendered his force of 40,000. The Division then moved on to take Sicily in "Operation Husky." The1st Division stormed ashore at Gela, July 10, 1943, and quickly overpowered the preliminary Italian defenses. On D-Day, June 6,1944, the Big Red One stormed ashore at Omaha Beach. Soon after H-Hour, the Division's 16th Regiment was fighting for its life on a strip of beach near Coleville-sur-Mer. The beach was so congested with the dead and dying, there was no room to land reinforcements. Col. George Taylor, commander of the 16th Infantry Regt., told his men, "Two kinds of people are staying on this beach! The dead and those who are going to die! Now, let's get the hell out of here!" Slowly, the move inland got underway. The Division continued its push into Germany, crossing the Rhine River. On Dec. 16, 24enemy divisions, 10 of which were armored, launched a massive counterattack in the Ardennes sector, resulting in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge. On Jan. 15, 1945, the First Infantry attacked and penetrated the Siegfried line for the second time and occupied the Remagen bridgehead. On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, the Division marched 150 miles to the east of Siegen. On April 8, the Division crossed the Weser river into Czechoslovakia. The war was over May 8, 1945. At the end of World War II, the Division had suffered 21,023 casualties and 43,743 men had served in its ranks. Its soldiers had won a total of 20,752 medals and awards, including 16 Congressional Medals of Honor. Over 100,000 prisoners had been taken. Following the war, the First Divisionremained in Germany as occupation troops, until 1955, when the Division moved to Fort Riley, Kansas.

        In 1965, the First Infantry Division was again selected to be the first division to deploy, when the went to Vietnam. The first unit to go from the Big Red One was the 2nd Brigade. Advanced parties landed at Qui Nhon on June 23, 1965. For nearly five years, the First Infantry Division soldiers battled against an aggressive enemy. The enemy made expert use of the dense jungles and inaccessible countryside. The use of helicopters was one of the best means of countering the jungle and the lack of roads. The experience gained in resupply operations, medical evacuation and the tactics of the air mobile assault has been used in developing basic doctrine in these areas. The First Infantry Division returned to Fort Riley in April 1970. Over 3,000 soldiers of the Big Red One died in action. Eleven Medals of Honor winners were added to the rolls.

        On Aug. 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. This act precipitated U.S. military involvement in the Persian Gulf. The 1st Inf. Div. was put on alert for deployment on Nov. 8, 1990. The division deployed over 12,000 soldiers and 7,000 pieces of equipment to Saudi Arabia over the next two months. On the morning of Feb. 24, 1991, under Maj. Gen. Thomas G. Rhame, the Big Red One spearheaded the armored attack into Iraq, leading the way for the VII Corps. The Division smashed into the Iraqi 26th Inf. Div. by breaking through the enemy lines and taking over 2,500 prisoners. At 8 a.m., Feb. 28, 1991, the war was over when a cease-fire was called. The Big Red One had fought through 260 kilometers of enemy-held territory in 100 hours, destroying 550 enemy tanks, 480 armored, personnel carriers and taking 11,400 prisoners. Eighteen of the Divisions soldiers were killed in the war.

        Three Army divisions were reflagged as the Army restructures from 12 to 10 active divisions. The 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas, was redesignated as the 4th Infantry Div., and the 24th Inf. Div. was redesignated as the 3rd Inf. Div. The 3rd Inf. Div., stationed in Germany, was redesignated as the 1st Inf. Div. The redesignations occured during fiscal 1996. The Army's restructuring plan was announced in December 1994. It called for the inactivation of the headquarters and division support units of the 1st Inf. Div. at Fort Riley, Kan., and the 4th Inf. Div. at Fort Carson, Colo. The redesignation plan ensured that two of the Army's most famous and decorated divisions remain in the active force. The plan designating the divisions to remain was developed by the U.S. Army Center of Military History, which maintains records of Army unit lineage and honors. The center prepared an order-of-precedence list based on unit age, campaign participation, and awards and decorations. Units were then rank-ordered by category, providing a framework for the Army leadership to make its decision.

        1st Infantry Division units played a key role in Bosnia. The 1st ID assumed authority for command and control of Task Force Eagle in a transfer of authority ceremony on Eagle Base on Nov. 10, 1996. The division's mission was to provide a covering force for the 1st AD units returning to Germany, and to continue to implement the military aspects of the General Framework Agreement for Peace. The 1st ID continued to support the Dayton Peace Accord through the transition from the Implementation Force (IFOR) to the Stabilization Force (SFOR), in December 1996. The division drew together with National Guard and Reserve soldiers, members of the Navy, Air Force and Marines, and the soldiers from 12 nations in the area known as Multi-National Division North (MND(N)).

        By mid-October 2002 the 1st Infantry Division’s parent command — the Heidelberg, Germany-based V Corps headquarters — was on its way to Kuwait along with a battalion of Apache helicopters and a corps-level Marine command post. But the 1st Infantry Division faced six months of retraining before the first units would be available for combat deployment against Iraq. The division’s 2nd Brigade task force was wrapping up a six-month tour of duty in Kosovo, and the division’s 3rd Brigade was preparing to relieve these soldiers in November 2002 for their own half-year tour. A key part of the brigade, the division’s 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, was given last-minute orders to remain in Germany. For 1st Infantry Division soldiers to take part in an Iraqi attack, the incoming 3rd Brigade would have to get a last-minute re-tasking for combat duty, or the outgoing 2nd Brigade would have to be put through a crash retraining program.

        The Army model coming off one of these peacekeeping missions is usually about a six-month cycle. For a heavy unit, that gives sufficient time to go through preliminary gunnery training, then to Grafenwöhr for a 45-day window, which takes the troops from the very elementary gunnery tables to company-level live fires. Once the soldiers complete the battalion- and brigade-level maneuver training at Hohenfels in the spring of 2003, that process will be completed. The last time 1st Infantry Division deployed to the Balkans, leaders reported "C-4" unfit-for-combat ratings upon their return, because the peacekeeping operations dulled soldiers’ war-fighting skills.

        On January 30, 2003 Stars & Stripes confirmed that elements of 1st Infantry had received orders to deploy to Turkey in support of a war with Iraq. Roughly 1,800 soldiers were initially deployed, including troops from the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the Division, the 101st Military Intelligence Battalion, the 121st Signal Battalion, the 701st Main Support Battalion and the 601st Aviation Support Battalion.

Big Red One Links

Official Homepage of the1st Infantry Division

1st Infantry Division Aviation Units

Scout Dogs Enemy's Worst Enemy...By SP4 Wain Rubenstein
Danger Forward, The Magazine of the Big Red One

Society of the First Infantry Division

Headquarters and Headquarters Company 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One)

A Troop, 4th Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division

Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Brigade, 1st Infantry Division

1st Infantry Division History

1st Infantry Division

1st Infantry Division History

1st Infantry Division Project, Combat Reports, Histories

16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division Vietnam

15th Field Artillery Regiment Vietnam
Supported the 1st Infantry Division ... November 1969, participating in most of the 1st Infantry Division's major battles ... November 1971, at firebases throughout the Central Highlands of Vietnam

3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division

2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment was alerted for shippment to Vietnam as a part of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division

2/18 Inf 1st Inf Div this is their history March 1966-March 1967 Information from 1st Division Year Book Vol#1 and Memory

1st Aviation Battalion (Airmobile), 1st Infantry Division, Links