First Army was originally created as the First Army of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) on 10 August 1918. With its creation, General John “Blackjack” Pershing would have command of a force independent of British and French control, the first of three field armies of the AEF (one of which only saw occupation duty following the war). First Army took part in three campaigns that not only sealed the Allied Victory, but left a lasting impression on European commanders of what American Soldiers could achieve when called to the service of their country.

During World War II, the Headquarters of First Army was not activated until January 1944. After the D-Day landings, First Army played a pivotal role in the breakout of the Allied invasion forces with the liberation of Cherbourg, then in March 1945 one of its subordinate units found the bridges at Remagen intact, leading to First and Ninth Army pouring troops across the Rhine and trapping thousands of Germans. In total, First Army was credited with participation in five campaigns in the European theater, earning an Arrowhead for the assault landing at Normandy.

The First Army Distinctive Unit insignia pays homage to the unit’s service in both World Wars. A fleur-de-lis interlaced with a shield is a nod to the organization of the Army at La Ferté-sous-Jouarre in August 1918, and the three stars at the top of the shield stand for the three World War I campaigns First Army fought. Five stars at the bottom represent the First Army’s World War II actions, with the red arrowhead at the bottom a symbol of the D-Day landings. The motto “First In Deed” is an attestation to the Army’s pride of place as the first Army organized to fight in World War I, as well as a reference to the unit’s numerical designation.

First United States Army was redesignated as First Army on 3 October 2006.

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