The 1st Infantry Division is the oldest continuously serving division in the Regular Army of the United States. Known as “The Big Red One” (BRO) after its shoulder patch, the division is based at Fort Riley in Kansas and has received a significant number of awards and decorations from various wars and conflicts.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the 1st Infantry Division, also known as the “The Bloody First” and “The Big Dead One”. We will highlight the division’s involvement in World War I and World War II, as well as its role in conflicts both during and after the Cold War. Let’s get started.
World War I
The division was founded on 24 May 1917 and first organized on Governors Island in New York on 8 June of that year under the command of Brigadier General William L. Sibert. The division was comprised of Army units in service at various Army posts throughout the country as well as the Mexico-United States border.
The first units from the 1st Infantry Division sailed to Europe in the following weeks. The rest of the division followers over the course of the year, landing in France and England. In the months up to the Armistice on 11 November 1918, the 1st Infantry Division suffered more than 20,000 casualties and played an important role in the Allied victory.
World War II
During the Second World War, the 1st Infantry Division played a central role in the Allied victory, fighting in Europe and North Africa. The division saw 443 days of combat and suffered more than 20,000 casualties, the majority of these in Europe.
One regimental combat team of the 1st Infantry Division was among the first wave of troops to assault the German Army defenses on Omaha Beach on D-Day on 6 June 1944. In total, more than 3,600 soldiers in the 1st Infantry Division were killed in action during WWII, while almost 500 were declared missing in action.
Cold War and Post-Cold War Era
During the Cold War, the 1st Infantry Division served in a number of conflicts and operations. These include the Vietnam War (fighting from 1965 to 1970) and REFORGER (Return of Forces in Germany).
In the Post-Cold War era, it served in the First Gulf War, the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Operation Atlantic Resolve in 2017. This continues to this day in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The United States Army’s 1st Infantry Division
For more than 100 years, the 1st Infantry Division has continuously served the United States. Undoubtedly, it is one of the United State’s most storied divisions and has demonstrated incredible bravery wherever it has gone. We are proud to honor those who have fought, and continue to fight to this day, with the 1st Infantry Division.
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