Originally designated as the First Expeditionary Division, the 1st Infantry Division was officially organized on June 8, 1917, consisting of regular Army troops stationed along the Mexican border and at various posts throughout the country. Over the decades, it has more than lived up to its motto: "No Mission Too Difficult. No Sacrifice Too Great. Duty First!"

The 1st Infantry has the distinctions not only of being the oldest division in the U.S. Army, but also of firing the first American artillery shell and suffering the first U.S. casualties of World War I (volunteers to other armies excluded). It played a significant part in turning back the German Spring Offensive as well as in the Allied counterattacks that followed, achieving the farthest Allied penetration of the war when it reached Sedan. During World War II, the story of the 1st Infantry Division is a microcosm of the action in the European Theater. It hit the beaches in North Africa in Operation Torch, suffered heavy casualties during the battles to liberate Sicily after the landings of Operation Husky, and overcame stiff German resistance at Omaha Beach during Operation Overlord. The 1st also was rushed to the Ardennes in response to the German Watch on the Rhine offensive, or Battle of the Bulge.

July 1965 saw the arrival of the 2nd Brigade in Vietnam; fittingly, this meant the 1st Infantry Division was the Divisional unit to have combat elements deployed there. It stayed and fought in Vietnam for nearly five years, suffering more than 22,000 casualties (with over 6,000 killed) before returning to Fort Riley in April, 1970. The 1st spearheaded the armored assault into Iraq in February, 1991, smashing defenses and cutting off the enemy’s paths of retreat. Since 2003, elements of the 1st Infantry Division have fought in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the most recent deployment taking place in September, 2014 in response to the growing threat from the Islamic State.

The unit, its insignia, and the nickname derived from it (which is a Special Designation in the U.S. Army Center of Military History) were immortalized in the 1980 movie The Big Red One, which recounts the division’s actions in World War II.

Related Items
1st Infantry Division Unit Crest (DUI)
1st Infantry Division Patch (SSI)

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