THE FIRST INFANTRY DIVISION
The first infantry division
also known as the, “Big red one” began in 1917 when General John “Blackjack” Pershing arrived in France
with the First American Expeditionary Force. During World War II the first Infantry Division
was the first to reach England, the first to fight the enemy in North
Africa and Sicily, the first on the beaches of Normandy in D-Day and the first to capture
a major German City- Aachen.
“The First Expeditionary Division was constituted in May 1917 from Army units then in service on the Mexican
border and at various Army posts throughout the United States. On June 8, 1917 it was officially organized in New York, New
York. This date is the 1st Infantry Division's official birthday. The first units sailed from New York and Hoboken, N.J.,
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 on Dec. 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 the 4th of July, the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, paraded through the streets
of Paris to bolster the sagging French spirits. At Lafayette's tomb, one of General Pershing's staff uttered the famous words,
"Lafayette, we are here!" Two days later, July 6, the First Expeditionary Division
was redesignated the First Infantry Division. On the morning of Oct. 23, the first American
shell of the war was sent screaming toward German lines by Battery C, 6th Field Artillery.
Two days later, the 2nd Bn., 16th Inf., suffered the first American casualties of the war.
By April 1918, the Germans had pushed to within
40 miles 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. It was the 28th Infantry, who attacked the town, and within 45 minutes captured it along with 250 German soldiers,
thus earning the special designation “Lions of Cantigny" for the regiment. The first American victory of the war
was a First Division victory.
The First Division took Soissons in July 1918.
The Soissons victory was costly - more than 7000 men were killed or wounded. The First Infantry
Division then helped to clear the St. Mihiel salient by fighting continuously from Sept. 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. This action cost the 1st Division over 7600
casualties. In October 1918, the Big Red One patch as it is now known was officially approved for wear by members of the Division.”
“Two legends have
emerged in answer to the question about the origins of the Big Red One shoulder patch.
The first story says that during World War I, First Division supply trucks were of English Manufacture, so the drivers
painted a huge figure "1" on each truck to distinguish their vehicles from those of the other Allies. Later, First Division Engineers carried this measure a step further by sewing a red patch on their sleeves
on which was placed the number "1."
The second, more-often quoted
tale involves a general and a lieutenant. According to this version, during the build-up and training days of 1917, a general officer decided that the Division needed a suitable shoulder sleeve insignia. He proceeded
to cut a crude numeral "1" from a ragged suit of his flannel underwear. When a brash young lieutenant saw the red
numeral, he shouted, "the general's underwear is showing!" The general shouted back, "all right young man,
if you're so smart, come up with something better." The lieutenant produced a prototype of today's patch, using a piece
of cloth (probably grey) from a captured soldier's uniform on which he placed the red "1".”
big red one still is an active group of solders in which that has made there past very much so present and they have
a facebook ,twitter and other modern Internet social websites . they also have