Big Red One
No mission too difficult, no sacrifice too great Duty First! For a century, from the Western Front of World War I to the wars of the 21st century, this motto has spurred the soldiers who wear the shoulder patch bearing the Big Red One. In this comprehensive history of America's 1st Infantry Division, James Scott Wheeler chronicles its major combat engagements and peacetime duties during its legendary service to the nation. The Centennial Edition adds new chapters on peacekeeping missions in the Balkans (19952004) and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (20012017), along with a new introduction and conclusion.The oldest continuously serving division in the U.S. Army, the Fighting First has consistently played a crucial role in Americas foreign wars. It was the first American division to see combat and achieve victory in World War I. One of the few intact divisions between the wars, it was the first army unit to train for amphibious warfare. During World War II, the First Division spearheaded the invasions of North Africa and Sicily before leading the Normandy invasion at Omaha Beach and fighting on deep into Germany. By war's end, it had developed successful combined-arms, regimental combat teams and made advances in night operations.Wheeler describes the First Divisions critical role in postwar Germany and as the only combat division in Europe during the early Cold War. The division fought valiantly in Vietnam for five trying years while pioneering "air-mobile" operations. It led the liberation of Kuwait in Desert Storm. Along the way, Wheeler illuminates the division's organizational evolution, its consistently remarkable commanders and leaders, and its equally remarkable soldiers.Meticulously detailed and engagingly written, The Big Red One nimbly combines historical narrative with astute analysis of the unit's successes and failures, so that its story reflects the larger chronicle of Americas military experience over the past century.Published in collaboration with the Cantigny First Division Foundation and the Cantigny Military History Series, edited by Paul H. Herbert.
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