Big Red One: Football to Honor 1st Infantry Division
The FIRST Infantry Division.
The FIRST permanent division in the regular Army.
The FIRST American division to fight in the first World War.
The FIRST to use modern, combined arms operations.
The FIRST to defeat the enemy at the Battle of Cantigny.
No Mission Too Difficult. No Sacrifice Too Great. Duty First!
President Woodrow Wilson promised the Allies he would send “a division” to France immediately, but the Army had no such divisions. The United States quickly ordered four infantry and three artillery regiments from the Mexican border in Texas to Hoboken, N.J., to board transports to France. That group of seven regiments joined together to officially form the "1st Expeditionary Division," later the 1st Infantry Division, under Brigadier General William L. Sibert on June 12, 1917. With more than 28,000 men, the "Big Red One," as the division was later nicknamed from its shoulder sleeve insignia, was twice the size of either the allied or German divisions on the Western Front.
The 1st Division’s 28th Infantry won the first major American victory in World War I at the Battle of Cantigny, a small village north of Paris held by the German Army. Along with the rest of the 1st Division and French Troops, they successfully attacked and defeated the German forces in just 45 minutes, holding the village against repeated counterattacks. Their success raised the Allies’ morale and disproved German propaganda about American combat incapacity. Read More