1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized)
In 2006 with the repositioning and force structure transformation of the 1st Infantry Division, the 1st Brigade recieved 2 new missions. Firstly, the 1st Brigade was charged with supporting the Army's Transition Team training mission where Brigade Soldiers would train thousands of service members from across the Army, Air Force and Navy to become Iraqi and Afghan military advisors. Secondly, the 1st Brigade would provide deployable security force elements that could move anywhere the Army wanted them to be. Previously the mission of the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) was to, on order deploy, with or without equipment, build combat power, conduct military operations in support of the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized), and redeploy.
Two US Army Europe brigades, known as round out brigades, were not located in Europe. 3rd Brigade, 1st Armor Division and 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) were required to bring the 2 US Army Europe divisions to full strength. Each brigade was to consist of a 1x2 brigade set (one armor battalion and 2 mechanized infantry battalions). However, the actual authorization and equipment configuration for the pre-positioned brigade sets in central region was 2 2x1 brigade sets (2 brigades each consisting of 2 armor battalions and one mechanized infantry battalion).
The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized), was one of the Army's 2 oldest divisional brigades. It was first organized on 24 May 1917 as the 1st Infantry Brigade under the newly formed First Expeditionary force, which soon evolved to become the 1st Infantry Division (the Big Red One). The Brigade fought valiantly during a host of campaigns during World War I: Lorraine, Picardy, Montdidier-Noyon, St. Mihiel, Aisne-Marne, and Meuse-Argonne. After garrison duty in the US during the 1920s and the 1930s it was inactivated in 1939, when the Army discontinued its brigade-based divisional structure.
The 1st Brigade was reactivated in July 1958 at Fort Benning, Georgia, as the 1st Infantry Brigade. In 1964, it rejoined the 1st Infantry Division, this time at Fort Riley, Kansas, and was redesignated as the 1st Brigade ("Devil Brigade") of the Big Red One.
The 1st brigade deployed with the Division to the Republic of Vietnam in 1965. For nearly 5 years, the 1st Infantry Division soldiers battled against an aggressive enemy. The 1st Infantry Division returned to Fort Riley in April 1970. Over 3,000 soldiers of the Big Red One died in action. Eleven Medals of Honor winners were added to the rolls. The 1st Brigade served in 10 campaigns encompassing 24 battles.
In 1990, it deployed with the Big Red One to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Leading the breach of Iraqi defenses on 24 February 1991, the Brigade actively fought and destroyed the enemy in the 3 campaigns involving the Defense of Saudi Arabia and the Liberation of Kuwait. In recognition of their contributions, each of the Brigade's battalions received the Valorous Unit Citation.
The 1st and 2nd Brigades of the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) were the only 2 divisional brigades in the US Army authorized their own distinctive unit insignia. Since 1999 the 1st Brigade had grown into a dual-based, stand-alone structure consisting of 6 battalions and 3 company-sized units. It was subordinate to the Commanding General of Fort Riley, Kansas, for training, readiness, and deployability. Under this direction, the Brigade prepared, among other things, for the eventuality of possible future operations with its parent division, then headquartered in Wuerzburg, Germany. The Brigade's presence at Fort Riley continued, in reduced fashion, the long-standing relationship of the Big Red One to Fort Riley.
On 23 July 2003, US Army Forces Command alerted the 1st Brigade for deployment to the Iraq Theater of Operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Brigade deployed its main body starting on 2 September 2003, closing in Kuwait by 11 September 2003. Initially attached to the 82nd Airborne Division, the Brigade occupied Area of Operations Topeka and conducted Transition of Authority with the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment on 26 September 2003.
On 20 March 2004, Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CJTF-7) attached 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) to the 1st Marine Division to continue its offensive operations in the Topeka Area of Operations. For 12 months, the Brigade's offensive operations killed 541 insurgents, wounded 101 more, and detained over 2,081 enemy fighters, including the capture of 18 High Value Targets and 20 foreign fighters. The Brigade withstood hundreds of small arms and RPG engagements, as well as over 550 IED attacks. Disrupting the enemy's ability to conduct operations, the Brigade's cache searches and exploitations captured 41 heavy machine guns, 175 RPG launchers, 3,134 mortar and artillery rounds, 1,781 rockets, and 17 surface-to-air missiles. In addition to combat operations, the Brigade formed and trained the 60th Iraqi National Guard Brigade, including the 500th, 501st, and 502nd ING Battalions. 1st Brigade also sponsored over 23.8 million dollars in civil projects in the Al Anbar province. The Brigade returned to Fort Riley from 14-26 September 2004.
In January 2005 the 1st Brigade was again called upon to prepare for deployment for OIF. The Brigade spent the majority of 2005 refitting and training for deployment in fall 2005. This training culminated with the Brigade's deployment to the Joint Readiness Training Center in August and September 2005. In January 2006 the 1st Brigade received a mission change and began restructuring in order to better train Military Transition Teams for their deployment. The 1st Brigade was also tasked with providing deployable security force elements that could move anywhere the Army might wanted them to be. Approximately 2,000 Soldiers from the Brigade deployed fall 2006 as SECFOR companies.
In the summer of 2009, as part of the Brigade Combat Team's modular transformation, 1st Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment was inactivated and its personnel reflagged as 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment.
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