FORT RILEY, Kan. - For the first time since the 1st Infantry Division returned to Kansas from Germany, all members of the command group are now at Fort Riley - a key step as the division headquarters prepares to deploy to Iraq early next year. The "Big Red One" welcomed Col. Randal Dragon Aug. 14 as one of two deputy commanding officers, completing the team known as "Victory 5."
Maj. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commanding general of the 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley, expressed excitement for the day's events, namely that the Victory Five command group was finally together once more.
"With their arrival, the Victory Five is now complete," said Brooks. "The command group has formed in its entirety... We will stand as a group of five, and this will be the group of five that will lead our division headquarters as we deploy here in the next few months."
Dragon, who deployed to Iraq and Kosovo as commander of the division's 2nd Brigade, joins fellow deputy commanding officer Col. Ricky Gibbs, chief of staff Col. Richard Piscal and Division Command Sgt. Maj. Jim Champagne.
Since the 1st Inf. Div. returned home to Fort Riley in August 2006, one of the division's two deputy commanding generals has been deployed and "dual-hatted" as commander of the Iraq Assistance Group - which oversaw the transition team mission in Iraq. The IAG has since been disbanded and in September, the transition team training mission will transfer from 1st Brigade, 1st Inf. Div., to the 162nd Infantry Brigade at Fort Polk, La.
The 1st Inf. Div. headquarters is slated to deploy to Iraq in early 2010. It expects to replace the 34th Infantry Division as the command and control headquarters of Multi-National Division-South. The last time the "Big Red One" headquarters deployed was in 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.