FORT RILEY, Kan. — The Honorable Christine Wormuth, the 25th Secretary of the Army, recently met with Soldiers and leadership of the 1st Infantry Division during her first visit to Fort Riley, Kansas, Aug. 30, 2023.
Wormuth toured the installation alongside Maj. Gen. John V. Meyer III, commander of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley, and Senator Jerry Moran, U.S. Senator for Kansas. The group discussed ongoing installation developments and observed a training exercise with Estonian Defense Forces.
“I came out here because the Big Red One has been incredibly busy,” said Wormuth. “You all know that they have been deployed to Europe. We’ve got our combat aviation brigade going out to Europe in just a couple more months and I wanted to hear from our Soldiers and our [noncommissioned officers] about how they’re feeling and how those deployments have been.”
While touring a series of newly renovated barracks rooms, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley leaders discussed the potential that Fort Riley has and the opportunities Soldiers might find should they be assigned to the Big Red One.
The rooms offer junior enlisted and noncommissioned officers modernized living spaces aimed at improving the overall quality of life for Soldiers living on post.
“The appropriation bill that has passed the Senate and the House and was signed by the President provides $15.9 million for design and planning for new barracks, not a renovated barracks but a new barracks,” said Moran.
At several locations on the tour, Wormuth recognized a handful of Soldiers and civilians who were highlighted by their respective leadership for various accomplishments including their professionalism and their commitment to developing their craft.
For several weeks now, the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley has hosted multinational forces, continuing the efforts that were further developed during Winter Strike 22, a training exercise held in Europe designed to improve communication efforts between NATO allies and partners while building readiness of combat credible forces.
In addition to improving methods of communication, these efforts create trust and expose potential problem areas in a training environment.
“Sometimes I think the thought is that we’re in the middle of nowhere but really we are in the middle of the country,” said Moran. “The challenges we face today are both on the east coast and the west coast. [Fort Riley] is positioned to be able to help the military meet the needs of a dangerous world.”
During their tour, Wormuth had the opportunity to observe the exercise as 1st Infantry Division Soldiers worked alongside multinational personnel to solve battle problems in real-time.
“One of the things that really stands out are the incredible training opportunities that are available here at Fort Riley,” said Wormuth. “Because of the sheer space and the terrain that we have is perfect for our armored brigade combat teams to train. There just aren’t that many places in the United States outside of our big training centers like Fort Irwin in California where we can have brigades and even a whole division go out and train.”
This visit provided a first-hand look at the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley’s resources and amenities that enhance the overall quality of life for Soldiers and families. The 1st Infantry Division will continue conducting exercises over the next several months through deliberate training designed to hone warfighting capabilities.