The 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army (nicknamed The Big Red One after its shoulder patch and The Fighting First) is the oldest division in the United States Army. It has seen continuous service since its organization in 1917.
The First Expeditionary Division, later designated the 1st Infantry Division, was constituted on May 24, 1917 in the Regular Army, and was organized on June 8, 1917 at Fort Jay, on Governors Island in New York harbor under the command of Brigadier General William L. Sibert, from Army units then in service on the U.S.-Mexico border and at various Army posts throughout the United States. The original Table of Organization and Equipment included two organic infantry brigades of two infantry regiments each, one engineer battalion; one signal battalion; one trench mortar battery; one field artillery brigade of three field artillery regiments; one air squadron; and a full division train. The total authorized strength of this TO&E was 18,919 officers and enlisted men. George S. Patton, who served as the first Headquarters commandant for the American Expeditionary Force oversaw much of the arrangements for the movement of the 1st Division to France, and their organization in-country.
The first units sailed from New York City and Hoboken, New Jersey on June 14, 1917. Throughout the remainder of the year, the rest of the division followed, landing at St. Nazaire, France, and Liverpool, England. After a brief stay in rest camps, the troops in England proceeded to France, landing at Le Havre. The last unit arrived in St. Nazaire December 22. 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(Independence Day in the United States)July 4,the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry (2/16), paraded through the streets of Paris to bolster the sagging French spirits. At Lafayette's tomb, one of General John J. Pershing's staff uttered the famous words, "Lafayette, we are here!" Two days later, July 6, Headquarters, First Expeditionary Division was redesignated as Headquarters, First Division.
On August 8, 1917, the 1st Division adopted the Square Table of organization and Equipment, which included two organic infantry brigades of two infantry regiments each; one engineer regiment; one signal battalion; one machine gun battalion; one field artillery brigade of three field artillery regiments, and a complete division train. The total authorized strength of this new TO&E was 27,120 officers and enlisted men.
On the morning of October 23, the first American shell of the war was sent screaming toward German lines by a First Division artillery unit. Two days later, the 2-16th Infantry suffered the first American casualties of the war.
By April 1918, the Germans had pushed to within 40 miles (64 km) of Paris. In reaction to this thrust, the Big Red One moved into the Picardy Sector to bolster the exhausted French First Army. To the division's front lay the small village of Cantigny, situated on the high ground overlooking a forested countryside. The 28th Infantry Regiment attacked the town, and within 45 minutes captured it along with 250 German soldiers. It was the first American victory of the war. The 28th was thereafter named the "Black Lions of Cantigny".
Soissons was taken by the First Division in July 1918. The Soissons victory was costly—700 men were killed or wounded. (One of them, Private Francis Lupo of Cincinnati, was missing in action for 85 years, until his remains were discovered on the former battlefield in 2003). The First Infantry helped to clear the St. Mihiel salient by fighting continuously from September 11–13, 1918. 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 Medal of Honor recipients.
The division's famous dog-mascot was a cairn terrier known as Rags. Rags was adopted by the division in 1918 and remained its mascot until his death in 1936. Rags achieved great notoriety and achieved celebrity war dog fame, after saving many lives in the crucial Argonne Campaign by delivering a vital message despite being bombed and gassed.
The 1st Division returned to the Continental U.S. in September 1919, demobilized its war-time TO&E at Camp Zachary Taylor at Louisville, Kentucky, and then returned to New York, with its headquarters located at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn.
On October 7, 1920, the 1st Division organized under the peacetime TO&E, which included two organic infantry brigades of two infantry regiments each, one engineer regiment; one observation squadron; one field artillery brigade of two Field Artillery Regiments; one Medical Regiment; one Division Quartermaster Train; and a Special Troops Command replacing the remainder of the division Train. The total authorized strength of this TO&E was 19,385. 1st Division was one of three Infantry Divisions and one Cavalry Division that was authorized to remain at full peacetime strength, and it was the only Regular Army division assigned to the Second Corps Area, which also included the 27th Infantry Division of the New York National Guard; the 44th Infantry Division of the New Jersey, New York, and Delaware National Guards; the 21st Cavalry Division of the New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and New Jersey National Guards; and the 77th, 78th, and 98th Infantry Divisions and the 61st Cavalry Division of the Organized Reserves. This was the organization that existed in the Second Corps Area for the duration of the peace period.
1st Division adopted a new peacetime TO&E in preparation for war on January 8, 1940, which included three infantry regiments, one military police company, one engineer battalion, one signal company, one Light Field Artillery Regiment of three Field Artillery Battalions and one Medium Field Artillery Regiment of two Field Artillery Battalions, one Medical Battalion, and one Quartermaster Battalion. The authorized strength of this TO&E was 9,057 officers and enlisted men. 1st Infantry Division reorganized again on November 1, 1940 to a new TO&E, which added a Reconnaissance Troop, and organized the two Field Artillery Regiments into a Division Artillery Command, and beefed up the strength to a total Authorized Strength of 15,245 officers and enlisted men.
The 1st Division started preparing for World War II by moving to Fort Benning, Georgia on November 19, 1939, and ran its personnel through the Infantry School. It then moved to the Sabine Parish, Louisiana area on May 11, 1940 to participate in the Louisiana Maneuvers. They then returned to Fort Hamilton on June 5, 1940 then to Fort Devens, Massachusetts on February 4, 1941. The Division was sent to both Carolina Maneuvres of October and November 1941 then moved to Samarcand, North Carolina. On December 6, 1941, the 1st Division returned to Fort Devens, Massachusetts and was later transferred to Camp Blanding, Florida on February 21, 1942 where it was re-designated 1st Infantry Division on May 15, 1942. The 1/ID moved then to Fort Benning, Georgia on May 22, 1942, and to Indian Town Gap Mil Reservation on Jun 21, 1942. The Division departed New York Port of Embarkation on August 1, 1942, arrived in (Beaminster) Dorset England on August 7, 1942 and assaulted in North Africa on November 2, 1942.
1st Infantry Division – Casualties
Killed in Action : 3616
Wounded in Action : 15208
Died of Wounds : 664
1st Infantry Division – Commanders :
Maj Gen Norman Cota : Mar 1941 - Jun 1942
Maj Gen Donald C. Cubbison : Jun 1942 – Jul 1942
Maj Gen Terry de la Mesa Allen : Jun 1942 – Jul 1943
Maj Gen Clarence R. Huebner : Jul 1943 – Dec 1944
Maj Gen Clift Andrus : Dec 1944 – VE Day
1st Infantry Division – Order of Battle 1944-1945
HQs & HQs Co 1st Infantry Division
HQs & HQs Battery Division Artillery
Headquarters Special Troops
Military Police Platoon
1st Cav Recon Squadron
1st CIC Detachment
1st Engineer Combat Battalion
1st Medical Battalion
1st Quartermaster Company
1st Signal Corps Company
5th Field Artillery Battalion (155-MM)
7th Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM)
16th Infantry Regiment
18th Infantry Regiment
26th Infantry Regiment
32nd Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM)
33rd Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM)
701st OD Light Maint Company
745th Tank Battalion – at : 06-06-1944 – 08-05-1945
634th Tank Destroyer Battalion – at : 01-08-1944 – 02-05-1945
635th Tank Destroyer Battalion – at : 07-06-1944 – 30-09-1944
703rd Tank Destroyer Battalion – at : 18-12-1944 – 31-12-1944
103rd AAAA-W Battalion – at : 16-06-1944 – 07-02-1945
103rd AAAA-W Battalion – at : 24-02-1945 – 08-05-1945
In World War II, the division landed in Oran, Algeria on November 8, 1942, as part of Operation Torch. Elements then took part in combat at Maktar, Tebourba, Medjez el Bab, Kasserine Pass, Gafsa, El Guettar, Béja, and Mateur, from January 21, 1943 – May 9, 1943, helping secure Tunisia.
In July 1943, it took part in Operation Husky in Sicily under the command of Major General Terry de la Mesa Allen. It was assigned to the II Corps. It was in Sicily that the 1st saw heavy action when making amphibious landings on Gela, the most fortified German beach head positions. The 1st then moved up through the center of Sicily, slogging it out through the mountains along with the 45th Infantry Division. In these mountains, the division saw some of the heaviest fighting in the entire Sicilian campaign at Troina; some units losing more than half their strength in assaulting the mountain town. On August 7, 1943, command was assumed by Major General Clarence R. Huebner.
When that campaign was over, the division returned to England to prepare for the Normandy invasion. It was one of the two divisions that stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day , with some of the division's units suffering 30 percent casualties in the first hour of the assault, and secured Formigny and Caumont in the beachhead by the end of the day. The division followed up the Saint-Lô break-through with an attack on Marigny, July 27, 1944, and then drove across France in a continuous offensive, reaching the German border at Aachen in September. The division laid siege to Aachen, taking the city after a direct assault on October 21, 1944. The First then attacked east of Aachen through Hurtgen Forest, driving to the Roer, and moved to a rest area December 7, 1944 for its first real rest in 6 months' combat, when the Wacht Am Rhein offensive (commonly called the Battle of the Bulge) suddenly broke loose on December 16, 1944. The division raced to the Ardennes, and fighting continuously from December 17, 1944 to January 28, 1945, helped blunt and turn back the German offensive. Thereupon, the division attacked and again breached the Siegfried Line, fought across the Roer, February 23, 1945, and drove on to the Rhine, crossing at the Remagen bridgehead, March 15–16. The division broke out of the bridgehead, took part in the encirclement of the Ruhr Pocket, captured Paderborn, pushed through the Harz Mountains, and was in Czechoslovakia, fighting at Kinsperk, Sangerberg, and Mnichov when the war in Europe ended. Sixteen members of the division were awarded the Medal of Honor.
During the Korean War, the Big Red One was assigned to occupation duty in Germany, while acting as a strategic deterrent against Soviet designs on Europe. 1st Infantry Division troops secured the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials and later transported seven convicted Nazi war criminals to Spandau Prison in Berlin.
Following its return from Germany, 1st Infantry Division established headquarters at Ft. Riley, Kansas. Its troops reorganized and trained for war at Ft. Riley and at other posts such as Ft. Irwin, California, Little Creek, Virginia, and Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. In 1962 and 1963, four 1st Infantry Division Pentomic Battle Groups (2nd Battle Group, 12th Infantry; 1st Battle Group, 13th Infantry; 1st Battle Group, 28th Infantry; & 2nd Battle Group, 26th Infantry) rotated, in turn, to West Berlin, Germany to augment U.S. Berlin Brigade during an international crisis initiated by construction of the Berlin Wall. These "Long Thrust Operations" were the most significant deployments conducted by 1st Infantry Division troops during the Cold War; placing Big Red One troops in confrontation with hostile communist forces.The 3rd Brigade was stationed in the Stuttgart region of Germany consisting of C Troop 1/4th Cavalry,1 Battalion 16th Infantry Reg.,elements of the 26th Infantry Reg.,4/73rd Armor Regiment 1 of the 33rd field artillery contributing to winning the Cold War.
Arriving in July 1965, the division began combat operations within two weeks. By the end of 1965 the division had participated in three major operations: Hump, Bushmaster I and Bushmaster II, under the command of MG Jonathan O. Seaman.
In 1966, the division took part in Operation Marauder, Operation Crimp II, and Operation Rolling Stone, all in the early part of the year. In March, MG William E. DePuy took command. In June and July the division took part in the battles of Ap Tau O, Srok Dong and Minh Thanh Road. In November 1966, the division participated in Operation Attleboro.
1967 saw the 1st I.D. in Operation Cedar Falls, Operation Junction City, Operation Manhattan, and Operation Shenandoah II. MG John H. Hay assumed command in February. On October 17, 1967, the 1st I.D suffered heavy casualties at the Battle of Ong Thanh with 58 KIA.
1968 would see the division involved in the Tet Offensive, securing the massive Tan Son Nhut Air Base. In March, MG Keith L. Ware took command. That same month the division took part in Operation Quyet Thang (Resolve to Win), April would see the division participate in the largest operation in the Vietnam conflict, Operation Toan Thang (Certain Victory). On September 13, the division Commander, Maj. Gen. Ware, was killed in action when his command helicopter was shot down by hostile fire. MG Orwin C. Talbott moved up from his position of Assistant Division Commander to assume command of the division.
In the first half of 1969, The Big Red One conducted reconnaissance-in-force and ambush operations, including a multi-divisional operation, Atlas Wedge, and participated in the Battle of An Lộc. The last part of the year saw the division take part in "Dong Tien" (Progress Together) operations. These operations were intended to assist South Vietnamese forces to take a more active role in combat. In August, MG A. E. Milloy took command of the 1st I.D. while the division took part in battles along National Highway 13, known as "Thunder Road" to the end of the year.
The division, commanded by Major General Thomas G. Rhame, also participated in Operation Desert Storm. The division's two maneuver brigades from Ft. Riley were rounded out by the addition of two tank battalions (2-66 and 3-66 AR), an infantry battalion (1-41 IN), and a field artillery battalion (4-3 FA) from 2nd Armored Division (Forward) in Germany. It was responsible for the initial breach of the Iraqi defenses, consequently rolling over the Iraqi 26th Infantry Division and taking 2,600 prisoners of war. The Big Red One continued with the subsequent 260 kilometer assault on enemy-held territory over 100 hours, engaging eleven Iraqi divisions, destroying 550 enemy tanks, 480 armored personnel carriers and taking 11,400 prisoners. By the early morning of February 28, 1991, the division had taken position along the Highway of Death, preventing any Iraqi retreat. The division's First squadron, fourth cavalry regiment, (1/4 CAV) was then tasked with securing town of Safwan, and the airfield there where the Iraqis were later forced to sign the surrender agreement. Iraq, which was to be the site for the permanent cease-fire negotioations.
There was also the "bulldozer assault", wherein the 1st & 2nd brigades from the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) used anti-mine plows mounted on tanks and combat earthmovers to bury Iraqi soldiers defending the fortified "Saddam Line." While approximately 2,000 of the troops surrendered, escaping burial, one newspaper story reported that the U.S. commanders estimated thousands of Iraqi soldiers had been buried alive during the two-day assault February 24–25, 1991.
In 1996 the division colors were relocated to the German city of Würzburg.
2nd (Dagger) Brigade Combat Team deployed to Bosnia as part of IFOR2 / SFOR1 from October 1996 to April 1997. 2nd Brigade was replaced by element from 3rd Brigade and the division's aviation brigade.
Units from the 1st (Devil) Brigade Combat Team also deployed to Bosnia as part of SFOR6 (Operation Joint Forge) from August 1999 to April 2000.
Elements of the division, to include personnel and units from the 2nd, 3rd and aviation brigades, served in Kosovo. During the Kosovo War three soldiers were captured by Serbian forces but were later released after peace talks.
Units of the 1st Infantry Division served in Kosovo for KFOR 1A and KFOR 1B from June 1999 to June 2000, then again for KFOR 4A and 4B from May 2002 to July 2003.
One battalion of the 1st (Devil) Brigade, 1-63 Armor, deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq from their base in Rose Barracks, Germany, during the first-ever deployment of the USAREUR (United States Army Europe) Immediate Ready Task Force (IRTF) in March 2003, in support of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. The battalion redeployed to Europe with the 173rd in March 2004.
The 1st (Devil) Brigade, 1st Infantry Division deployed from Fort Riley, Kansas in September 2003 to provide support to the 82nd Airborne Division in the city of Ramadi, Iraq. In February 2004, the Division deployed to Iraq, where it conducted a relief in place of the 4th Infantry Division, primarily in Salah ad-Din and Diyala provinces, with the Division headquarters being located on Forward Operating Base Danger, near Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. Task Force Danger, as the Division was called during OIF2, also had a light infantry brigade from the 25th Infantry Division, another brigade the 30th Armored Brigade (Enhanced) (Separate) "Old Hickory" of the North Carolina National Guard, and the 264th Engineer Group of the Wisconsin Army National Guard. In September 2004, the 1st Brigade was replaced by elements from the 2nd Infantry Division in Ramadi and redeployed to Ft. Riley. In February 2005, the division was replaced by the 42d Infantry Division, New York National Guard, and elements of the 3rd Infantry Division and returned to its home in Germany.
In July 2006 the division was withdrawn from Germany back to Fort Riley in CONUS, leaving only 2nd (Dagger) Brigade in Schweinfurt, Germany until March 28, 2008 when the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division reflagged as the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. So now three brigades are based at Fort Riley, Kan., with one brigade based out of Ft Hood, Texas.
The 2nd "Dagger" Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq from mid-August 2006 to late November 2007. 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment was the first to embark and was sent to the Adhamiya district of Baghdad to assist in suppressing the widespread sectarian violence. The 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment was deployed to Ramadi and the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment was sent to Forward Operating Base Falcon in the Rasheed district of southwest Baghdad. HQ and HQ Company 2BCT, 1st ID, 9th Engineer BN, 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 299th Support Battalion, and 57th Signal Company were all (Dagger) units occupying Camp Liberty, a sprawling encampment of 30,000+ military and DoD civilians located just east of Baghdad International Airport (BIAP).
Elements from Fort Riley's 1st (Devil) Brigade deployed in the fall of 2006 to other area of operations in Iraq. Units include companies from the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry; 1st Battalion, 34th Armor; 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery; 1st Engineer Battalion; and D Troop, 4th Cavalry.
State-side training for the Military Transition Teams (MiTTs) is located at Fort Riley, Kansas. Training began June 1, 2006. Some of the units such as the 18th Infantry Regiment, the 26th Infantry Regiment, and the 16th Infantry Regiment have already gone into Afghanistan along with some reconnaissance units. Those units have been in the Kunar Province since mid 2006. As of fall 2009 the transition team training mission has moved to Fort Polk, and the 1st Brigade has transitioned into a combat ready force with possible plans to deploy in the next few years.
In February 2007, the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team deployed to southern Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. A Battalion, 2/16 Infantry, was dispatched to FOB Rustimayah (East Baghdad). This Battalion was initially placed under operational control of 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. This Light Infantry Battalion fought the Mahdi Militia as a part of the "Surge" for the New Baghdad Security Plan. Under the command of Multinational Division-Baghdad, the rest of the "Dragon Brigade" operated out of Forward Operating Base Falcon for 15 months before returning to Fort Riley, Kan., in April 2008.
In the fall of 2007, the Combat Aviation Brigade (Demon Brigade), 1st Infantry Division deployed to Iraq and was placed under the command of Multinational Division - North located at COB Spiecher. The majority of the CAB is stationed at COB Spiecher, with the 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment and some supporting elements stationed at FOB Warrior.
In June and July 2008, 3rd Brigade deployed to Eastern Afghanistan under the command of CJTF-101, relieving the 173rd Airborne Brigade and taking control of the Kunar, Nuristan, Nangarhar, and Laghman provinces. One of the brigades infantry battalions, 2-2, was tasked out down South in the Kandahar province outside of the brigade command. Main focuses of the brigade and PRT was to protect population centers such as Jalalabad and Asadabad and help develop the local economy through the construction of roads, and provide security while doing so. The brigade returned to Ft. Hood, Texas in July 2008 after a year of combat in which they recorded over 1000 firefights, over 1000 enemy killed, over 500 bombs dropped, 26,000 rounds of artillery fire and over 400 purple hearts awarded, giving them the highest casualty rate of any Army or Marine Corps unit during their year-long tour.
In October 2008, the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team deployed to northwest baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During this deployment soldiers of the 1st CAB 18th Infantry Regiment were located on FOB justice, The 1st CAB 63rd Armor was located in Mah-Muh-Diyah, and the 1st Battalion 7th Field Artillery was located on Prosperity. The most notable events which occurred during this time were the Iraqi elections, the SOFA (status of forces agreement) and "Bloody Wednesday" 19 August 2009 coordinated bombing of the finance ministry and the foreign ministry, with rocket attacks in the green zone. The bombings resulted in 101 dead and over 560 wounded.
The insignia of the 1st Infantry Division originated in World War I. There are two theories as to how the idea of the patch came about.
The first theory states that the 1st Division supply trucks were manufactured in England. To make sure the 1st Division's trucks were not confused with other allies, the drivers would paint a huge "1" on the side of each truck. Later, the division engineers would go even farther and put a red number one on their sleeves.
A second theory also exists. In this theory, a general of the division decided the unit should have a shoulder insignia. He decided to cut a red numeral "1" from his flannel underwear. When he showed his prototype to his men, one lieutenant said, "the general's underwear is showing!" Offended, the general challenged the young lieutenant to come up with something better. So, the young officer cut a piece of gray cloth from the uniform of a captured soldier, and placed the red "1" on top.
1st Infantry Division consists of the following elements: