Duty First: 100 Years, Big Red One

Duty First exhibit_WWIIGenAllen
DF exhibit_BRO soldier

Flint Hills Discovery Center exhibit through Jan. 14, 2018

The Big Red One has performed splendidly in its service to the United States Army and military forces, and Visit Manhattan is a proud exhibit sponsor for “Duty First: 100 Years of the Big Red One” at Flint Hills Discovery Center. This collaborative exhibit is produced by Flint Hills Discovery Center staff and Fort Riley Museum Complex and the Center of Military History. Cosponsors include American Legion, American Legion Riders Post 17, Briggs Auto and Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation. Exhibit generously sponsored by Col. Charles Rayl (Ret.) and Merry Rayl.

  • Fighting First so called because the 1st Infantry Division quite frequently has been first “boots on the ground” in combat areas.
  • 1ID is oldest continuously active division in the US Army, and stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas.
  • First organized on June 8, 1917 (constituted as First Expeditionary Division), date recognized as 1ID birthday.
  • Big Red One (BRO) nicknamed derived from shoulder patch insignia with red numeral “1” centered on green shield (1918).
  • Two days after member of Gen. John Pershing’s staff uttered the phrase, “Lafayette we are here!”, FED redesignated 1st Division.
  • Small village of Cantigny, France, represented 1ID’s first action; first American victory of WWI was attributed to the Big Red One. 1ID was the first division to cross the Rhine into occupied Germany, where it remained until Nov. 11, 1918.
  • In October 1918, Big Red One patch officially approved for members of the Division.
  • 1st Infantry Division has participated in World War I, WWII, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Bosnia/Kosovo conflict and Operation Iraqi Freedom. 1ID did not see action in Korea.
  • Division stationed in Germany from 1945 to 1955 as main American military unit to hold the line against potential Soviet invasion into Western Europe.

No mission too difficult.
No sacrifice too great.

Duty First