Big Red One Soldiers Reenlist at Chicago Bears Veterans Day game
Soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne Division recite the Oath of Enlistment during the reenlistment ceremony at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, Nov. 13, 2022. The Soldiers conducted the ceremony during halftime of the Chicago Bears Veterans Day game. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Joshua Holladay) (Photo Credit: Pfc. Joshua Holladay) VIEW ORIGINAL

New Year, New Big Red One

Established in 1917, during the height of World War I, the 1st Infantry Division has played a pivotal role in the lethality and advancement of the U.S. Army. The Big Red One, so called for the red numeral that has adorned its shoulder patch since 1918, now sits in the Flint Hills area of Kansas.

The 1st Inf. Div.’s contributions to the nation’s defense not only offer insight into the history of the Army and the United States but through continued readiness and modernization, provide a vision for the future of Soldiers, warfighting mastery, unit deployment capabilities, and community.

2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at the National Training Center
A Soldier assigned to 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, trains on a FGM-148 Javelin while preparing to enter "the box” at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, California, August 4, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Joshua Holladay, 19th Public Affairs Detachment) (Photo Credit: Pfc. Joshua Holladay) VIEW ORIGINAL

During 2022, the division’s mission was no different, as the Big Red One implemented multiple programs and resources to ensure that each Soldier and their family members were mentally and physically fit.

Family First

Implemented in 2020, Operation Victory Wellness is a comprehensive, enduring operation to make every Soldier, Airman, Civilian, and family member more resilient and more robust across the five dimensions of strength: physical, emotional, social, family, and spiritual.

As the division’s highlight campaign for 2022, the Big Red One Year of Family (BYOF) was a year-long campaign within 1st Inf. Div.’s Operation Victory Wellness focused on building the strength and resilience of families, educating families about available resources, and showing appreciation for families' continued support.

“To our families, your actions are vital to the success of the 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley; we simply cannot accomplish our mission without you,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Niave F. Knell, the 1st Inf. Div. deputy commanding general-support. “The military family is one of the most critical assets we have in our Army today. It’s only fitting that we take a minute to pause and recognize them for their actions.”

Every quarter throughout the year, the division hosted a BYOF Recognition Award Ceremony that honored 1st Inf. Div. affiliated families for the hard work, dedication and sacrifices they made to support Soldiers, other families and the local community.

Also each quarter, the division hosted a Volunteer of the Quarter Award Ceremony to recognize Soldiers, military families, retirees, Department of the Army Civilians and military youth. The ceremonies were held to recognize Soldiers and Riley community members who have invested countless hours and resources to the installation and community through volunteering. This year’s volunteer recognition theme was ‘U.S. Army Volunteers: Shining a Light on the People and Causes That Inspire Us to Serve’.

Celebrating Selfless Service: Big Red One hosts Volunteer of the Year Award Ceremony
U.S. Army U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Frank Stanco (left), the acting senior commander of Fort Riley, and U.S. Army Col. William McKannay (right), the Fort Riley Garrison commander, present U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class (Ret.) Cheryl Elligan (center) with a volunteer of the year award April 21, 2022, at Fort Riley, Kansas. Elligan was awarded for her volunteer services as the Liturgical Dance Leader for the Fort Riley Morris Hill Gospel Service. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Alvin Conley, 19th Public Affairs Detachment) (Photo Credit: Spc. Alvin Conley) VIEW ORIGINAL

For both the Family Recognition Award and the Volunteer of the Quarter Award, each recipient was nominated by their respective brigade command team to be considered for the award.

Throughout the 2022 calendar year, the 1st Inf. Div. recognized over 100 volunteers and 56 families (14 families each quarter) during 30+ signature BYOF events. The campaign ended with the installation’s annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Keith L. Ware Parade Field, where families gathered to kick off the winter holiday season.

And It’s ‘Hi, Hi, Hey’

During the year, the Big Red One opened its doors to more community members and welcomed partnerships with new organizations. In return, those new partners opened their doors right back, allowing the division to travel beyond the Flint Hills and influence other communities throughout the Nation through the ‘Meet Your Army’ campaign.

A total force outreach initiative designed to bridge the civilian and military divide, ‘Meet Your Army’ seeks to assist with recruiting efforts by allowing Soldiers more opportunities to connect with the American public, educate community and business leaders, and inspire youth to serve.

The 1st Inf. Div. teamed with both the Kansas City and the Chicago recruiting battalions. The division witnessed as the Kansas City recruiting battalion held an Oath of Enlistment ceremony during the final day of the Kansas City Chief’s football training camp, and worked alongside service members of the Chicago recruiting battalion when the division marched in the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade and participated in a Veterans Day joint service enlistment and reenlistment ceremony at the Chicago Bears v. Detroit Lions home game.

“The ‘Meet Your Army’ campaign is important because it opens up the service to the general public to have a better understanding of what it is that we do,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Christopher Collins, the KC Recruiting Bn. Commander and a former Big Red One Soldier. “It helps us with our mission for recruiting and allows us to be an integral part of the local community.”

Physically fit, and trained to fight and win at a moment’s notice, the division took to showcasing it’s talents to likeminded crowds by frequenting national sporting events. The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team was honored during a Sporting Kansas City soccer match in August for the team’s Military Appreciation Day, where one of the division’s special staff officers, U.S. Army Capt. Lauren McGovern, received special honors for being a member of the U.S. Armed Forces Women’s Soccer team.

“It’s very humbling to be honored like this,” said McGovern. “I think it’s awesome when any organization wants to support the troops. I know the other Soldiers think it’s cool to have the opportunity to walk out onto the field and kind of get the recognition they deserve for their hard work and sacrifice.”

Sporting KC celebrates Big Win with 1ID Soldiers
U.S. Army Capt. Lauren McGovern, the Operation Victory Wellness Chief, 1st Infantry Division – Special Staff, 1st Infantry Division, salutes during the playing of the National Anthem during the opening ceremony of a Sporting Kansas City soccer match in Kansas City, Kansas, August 6, 2022. A member of the U.S. Armed Forces Women’s Soccer team, McGovern was one of approximately 200 1st Inf. Div. Soldiers highlighted during Sporting KC’s Military Appreciation Day. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Alvin Conley, 19th Public Affairs Detachment) (Photo Credit: Spc. Alvin Conley) VIEW ORIGINAL

For its Military Appreciation Day, NASCAR hosted the Big Red One and local recruiting battalions, where over 30 service members participated in a mass reenlistment ceremony during the race.

In July, the 1st Inf. Div. Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard, one of the six remaining horse detachments in the Army, was invited to participate in ‘The Daddy of ‘Em All’, the 126th Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, the World’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration.

Troopers of the CGMCG had the opportunity to participate in opening ceremonies, conduct their signature cavalry charge and cavalry tactics and maneuvers demonstration, and interact with local Cheyenne, Wyoming community members and F.E. Warren Air Force Base service members.

The division also found its way to the eastern side of the states, when it participated in the U.S. Army 10-Miler Race in Washington D.C. and the Great Lakes Grand Prix race in Michigan City, Indiana.

Army 10-Miler Race 2022
Runners cross the start line during the Army 10-Miler race Oct. 9, 2022. The Army Ten-Miler is the second largest ten-mile race in the United States. It is held every October in Arlington, VA and Washington, D.C. Each year tens of thousands of runners and spectators come to Washington, D.C., to join in this race classic. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Dahnyce Baucom) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Dahnyce Baucom) VIEW ORIGINAL

No matter the sport, after every playoff and championship the team always comes home; the Big Red One was no different, as it was welcomed back to continue its long-lasting relationship with the Kansas State Wildcats, where the 1st Inf. Div. was honored at the university’s annual Fort Riley Day celebration in September as well as many other events throughout the year.

Expanding its reach and influence throughout the year, the division looks forward to strengthening its relations with its new partners, and building new ones in other regions of the nation.

A Change of Face

As every service member eventually learns, the start of a new year brings upon five different seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall and change of command.

This year, the 1st Inf. Div. experienced a hefty and healthy change of command season, with at least one member from each of the brigade command teams switching out.

May 11th, the division’s change of command season peaked when U.S. Maj. Gen. John V. Meyer III assumed command of the 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley from then U.S. Army Maj. Gen. D.A. Sims II, who served as the division commanding general for nearly two years.

1st Infantry Division Welcomes New Commanding General
U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Gabriel Buckles (left), an officer assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, presents U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John V. Meyer III, the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley commanding general, with an artillery canister during a division change of command ceremony May 11, 2022, at Fort Riley’s Cavalry Parade Field. Presentation of the canister symbolizes the raising of the flag, therefore signifying Meyer’s first day as the commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Alvin Conley, 19th Public Affairs Detachment) (Photo Credit: Spc. Alvin Conley) VIEW ORIGINAL

“When I drove on to this post for the first time 24 years ago, it had a special feeling, and that feeling remains,” said Meyer, who previously served as a Big Red One Soldier. “It’s very humbling for me to command this division. I accept the responsibility to care for the Soldiers and Family members of the 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley.”

In the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Albert Serrano relinquished responsibility as the 1st CAB command sergeant major.

In the 1st Inf. Div. Artillery, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Rickey Jackson relinquished responsibility of DIVARTY to U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael McLaughlin.

In the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, U.S. Army Col. Bryan Harris assumed command of the brigade from U.S. Army Col. Thomas “Bull” Smith.

In the Fort Riley-Garrison, U.S. Army Col. Michael Foote assumed command from U.S. Army Col. William McKannay, and U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Speichert relinquished responsibility to U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Poulin.

The 1st ABCT honored the division with the opportunity to witness a unique combined change of command ceremony, where the brigade had four battalion changes of command and two battalion relinquishments of responsibility following the brigade’s return to garrison from an 11-month deployment in support of the European Defense Initiative’s Atlantic Resolve mission.

1ABCT, 1ID Hosts Combined Change of Command Ceremony
Units of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, stand at attention during a combined change of command ceremony, July 15, 2022, at the Fort Riley, Kansas, Cavalry Parade Field. Changes of command were held for the 1st ABCT’s 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, the 2nd Battalion 34th Armor Regiment, and the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment. Changes of responsibility also took place for 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt. and 2nd Bn., 34th Armor Regt. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Alvin Conley, 19th Public Affairs Detachment) (Photo Credit: Spc. Alvin Conley) VIEW ORIGINAL

During each ceremony, red and yellow roses are presented to the outgoing and incoming families. In the 1st Inf. Div., red roses being presented to the outgoing family symbolizes the unit’s love and respect for the family’s devotion and loyal support to the Soldiers and the families of the unit. Yellow roses being presented to the incoming family symbolizes the relationship that will grow between the family, the Soldiers and the Family Readiness Group. Although many red rose bouquets were presented this year and are now gone, those who received yellow roses are now and will always be Big Red One.

The Sun Never Sets on 1ID

It’s said that history repeats itself, and that things always come full circle to bring things back to their beginning. 2022 was a prime example of this saying reigning true. As the division was erected and organized for duty in Europe. Big Red One’s birthplace roots run deep as multiple brigades from the division deployed across the Atlantic to reassure the Nation’s NATO allies.

In February, the Division Headquarters and DIVARTY deployed to Europe following the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

Also in February, the 1st CAB hosted an uncasing ceremony in February to mark their return to garrison from a nine-month deployment rotation to various countries in Europe.

1st CAB Returns to Fort Riley from Operation Atlantic Resolve
Soldiers assigned to the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade (1CAB), 1st Infantry Division, host an uncasing ceremony on Fort Riley, Kansas, Feb. 1, 2022. Multiple battalions within the 1st CAB uncased their colors to commemorate returning home from a nine month deployment to Europe. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Steven Johnson, 19th Public Affairs Detachment) (Photo Credit: Pvt. Ellison Schuman) VIEW ORIGINAL

The 1st ABCT held an uncasing ceremony in July to mark the brigade’s return to from an 11-month deployment rotation.

During the year, the 2nd ABCT conducted two rotations to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California in preparation for a deployment to Europe. The brigade held a casing ceremony in November to symbolize the unit’s movement from one theater of operation to another. The Dept. of the Army announced on Sept. 22, 2022, that the 2nd ABCT would replace the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, to support the United States’ commitment to Operation Atlantic Resolve.

“The Army sent the Big Red One over to Europe,” said 40th Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. James C. McConville. “And I had the chance to go over to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland, and what I can tell you is where American Soldiers went, they were welcomed. We often like to say, ‘Where America soldiers, freedom follows’ but what I saw was, ‘Where America soldiered, freedom remained’. That’s the difference these Soldiers are making overseas.”

Fort Riley Sits at the Center of Everything
The 40th Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. James C. McConville promotes Joseph Duncan, a Soldier of the 97th Military Police Battalion, through the 1st Infantry Division, from the rank of Private First Class to Specialist on Fort Riley, Kansas, Aug. 25, 2022. Duncan was recognized for assisting a suicidal Soldier and making sure the Soldier received the resources they needed. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Steven Johnson, 19th Public Affairs Detachment) (Photo Credit: Pfc. Steven Johnson) VIEW ORIGINAL

Home Is Where the Heart Is

No matter if on the road to another U.S. city, or halfway across the globe to assist its NATO allies, when all is said and done, the 1st Inf. Div. returns to the Flint Hills of Kansas welcomed by spouses, children and the local community.

Understanding the adjustment to an environmental change of pace, the Fort Riley-Garrison, Soldier Family Readiness Groups and the local community all come together to show why the Big Red One is not just a military unit, but a family.

Flyovers and Static Displays: K-State honors Fort Riley, 1ID Soldiers
AH-64 Apache Helicopters of the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, conduct a flyover of Kansas State University’s Fort Riley Day, September 17, 2022. KSU holds their Fort Riley Appreciation Day annually, where they honor military service members both at home and overseas. (Courtesy photo) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Dahnyce Baucom) VIEW ORIGINAL

Known as one of the installation’s signature events, the Fall Apple Day Festival is the largest annual festival at Fort Riley with an average of over 7,000 attendees each year. The free open-community festival includes CGMCG demonstrations, interactive static displays, live music and more.

But the close-knit connection of the Flint Hills allows Fort Riley to experience family outside of the installation gates. The division participates in many local events held in the Junction City and Manhattan areas. From festivals, to parades, to community cleanup projects and trail rides, Soldiers and families of the Big Red One participate in monthly local community events.

In September, the state of Kansas honored fallen service members and their families by unveiling a new Gold Star Family monument at the Kansas State Capitol Visitors Center. The 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley Survivors Outreach Services assisted multiple Big Red One affiliated Gold Star Family members with the opportunity to attend the ceremony.

Kansas Unveils New Gold Star Family Memorial Monument
1st Infantry Division Gold Star Families and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Niave Knell, the 1st Infantry Division Deputy Commanding General-Support, visit the newly erected Kansas Gold Star Family memorial monument at the Kansas State Capitol Visitors Center, Sept. 23, 2022. A Gold Star Family is any family member of a person who has lost their life while serving in the United States Armed Forces, and the monument honors over 6,500 Kansan fallen service members. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Alvin Conley) (Photo Credit: Spc. Alvin Conley) VIEW ORIGINAL

“My late husband was a part of the Big Red One, and the division has always done a phenomenal job of honoring their fallen,” said Sierra Herring, the 1st Inf. Div. Artillery Soldier and Family Readiness Group support assistant. “The Big Red One has done a good job about supporting their Gold Star families, keeping us involved, and letting us continue to be a part of the tradition here.”

As the Army’s oldest and most historic division, the 1st Inf. Div. continues to ensure that no mission is too difficult, no sacrifice is too great, and that they place duty first and people always.