CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq Aca,!" The 1st Cavalry Division celebrated its 86th birthday with a cake cutting ceremony and a few words from Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil, Jr., commanding general of the First Team and Multi-National Division-Baghdad at the Pegasus Dining Facility here Sept. 13.

Aca,!A"To all the troopers, the friends and family members of the First Team, I thank you all for your selfless service and sacrifice, and I wish you all a very happy birthday!Aca,!A? Fil told a stand-room-only crowd.

With those words, the cake cutting was underway.

During the birthday celebration, troopers with 1st Cavalry Division enjoyed a cake resembling the large patch they wear so proudly. The 1st Cavalry Division Band was on hand serenading those in attendance with birthday music. Fil chose the youngest Soldier in attendance to help with the ceremonial cutting of the cake. The Soldier, and his father, teamed with Fil to do the honors.

Aca,!A"That was pretty exciting,Aca,!A? said 19-year-old Spc. Thomas Rogers, a native of Jackson, Mo., and an automated logistics specialist with the 35th Engineer Brigade (Corps), a National Guard unit based out of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

Aca,!A"We just got here a couple of weeks ago, and I can see the tradition already,Aca,!A? said RogersAca,!a,,c father, Lt. Col. Andrew Rogers, also with the 35th Engineer Brigade.
The tradition of the First Team ties it to the days of the old west.

The division was formed in 1921. That year, a legacy of tradition, pride and heritage was born with its formal activation at Fort Bliss, Texas Sept. 13.

However, 1st Cavalry Division units have served the nation since 1855. The division was originally set up to patrol the Mexican border. The cavalry, which worked mostly on horseback, was called on to put an end to illegal smuggling along the Mexican border.

Since those early days, the 1st Cavalry Division has seen action in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, a deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina and is currently serving in its second deployment Operation Iraq Freedom.

During the rich history of the division, 37 First Team Soldiers have received the Medal of Honor for their heroic actions in combat.

Maj. Gen. Robert L. Howze served as the first commander of the First Team from 1921-1925.

In 2003, 1st Cavalry Division aviators were part of the main push into Baghdad, and the entire division deployed in 2004, helping to set the stage for national elections in January 2005.

The 1st Cavalry DivisionAca,!a,,cs tenth deployment in its 86 year history is coming to an end, and First Team Soldiers will soon be returning home.