A brigade combat team and assigned support and fire units known as the 1st Infantry Division is the oldest continuously serving in the regular Army. It has seen continuous service to the United States since its inception in 1917 during World War I. The nickname “The Big Red One” was given for the numeral and hue on the division shoulder patch. Although currently based at Fort Riley, The Big Red One was not always in Kansas.
The 1st Infantry Division was organized on June 8, 1917 at Fort Jay in New York under the command of Brigadier General William L. Sibert. The total number of authorized strength to this division was 18, 919 officers and enlisted men. George S. Patton was one of the first headquarters commandants to arrange movement of the division.
At the beginning of World War II, the 1st Infantry Division was moved to Fort Benning, Georgia on November 19, 1939. The division laid siege in France during World War II during which time sixteen members of the division were awarded the Medal of Honor. The 1st Infantry Division would also be assigned to occupation duty in Germany during the Korean War. In 1955, the division colors left Germany and establishing headquarters in Fort Riley, Kansas.
The 1st Infantry Division fought in the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1970, during which time eleven members of the division were awarded the Medal of Honor. In January 1970, the division announced that they would return to Fort Riley.
The 1st Infantry Division would also participate in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. After this time, in 1996, the division colors were relocated to the German city of Wurzburg until 2006 when they would return to Fort Riley, Kansas.
Since that time, the 1st Infantry Division has deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other places in response to the growing threats around the globe. This division most recently reported that approximately 4,000 soldiers will deploy to Europe as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.