Medal of Honor Recipients

About the 1st Division

Medal of Honor Recipients


The Medal of Honor is the military’s highest and most prestigious award for combat valor.

When reading a Medal of Honor citation you will often find words like: indomitable spirit, sacrifice, valor, courage, inspiration, intrepidity, sacrifice, and gallantry used to describe the recipient. It is the military’s highest award for combat valor and the most prestigious award a service member can earn. President Harry Truman, a World War I veteran, once told a gathering of World War II recipients, “I’d rather have this medal than be president.” To earn the Medal, which is awarded in the name of Congress, a U.S. service member must distinguish himself conspicuously, by gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, in an action that sets the individual apart from his comrades, in action against an enemy.

Links + Resources

About the 1st Division

World War I


The United States of America entered World War I on April 6th, 1917.

Created in June 1917, the 1st Division was the first American division sent to fight on the Western Front in France with the Allied armies. The first American victory in World War I was won by the 1st Division at the Battle of Cantigny on May 28, 1918. After Cantigny, the 1st Division participated in the major battles of Soissons, St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne.

During those six months of combat for the United States in 1918, the Medal of Honor was awarded to 119 recipients, 33 of whom received the Medal of Honor posthumously. The U.S. Army had 86 recipients, the U.S. Navy had 21 recipients, the U.S. Marine Corps had 8 recipients and the U.S. Army Air Service had 4 recipients. Out of the total 119 Medal of Honors awarded in World War I, 1st Division soldiers received 5, of which one was awarded posthumously.

* Denotes a posthumous award

Recipients

About the 1st Division

World War II


America entered World War II on Dec. 7, 1941.

The first American division sent to Europe, the 1st Infantry Division arrived in Great Britain in July 1942. Led by MG Terry Allen, the Big Red One led the amphibious assault near Oran in French Algeria on Nov. 8, 1942. The 1st Infantry Division fought its way east across North Africa to Tunisia. By 1943, the Big Red One achieved victory at the Battle of El Guettar and helped liberate Tunisia. On July 10, 1943, the 1st Infantry Division participated in its second amphibious assault during the invasion of Sicily. After fierce fighting at the beachhead, the Division then fought across the center of Sicily to confront the German forces at the Battle of Troina.

After the liberation of Sicily, MG Clarence Huebner now led the Division. The 1st Infantry Division returned to Great Britain in 1943. The Division was selected to lead Force O in the invasion of “Omaha Beach” in Normandy, France. On June 6, 1944, the 1st Infantry Division landed on “Omaha Beach” in the face of intense fire from the German defenses. The Division overcame the enemy forces and penetrated the farthest inland of any of the Allied Forces. Then, the Division participated in the rapid Allied advance across Northern Europe against the retreating German Army.

By September 1944, the 1st Infantry Division had reached the German frontier and breached the Siegfried Line. The Division then led the attack against the Germany city of Aachen. After heavy fighting in October, the Division captured Aachen, making it the first German city to fall to the Allied armies. The Division then went on to fight in the Hurtgen Forest, the northern shoulder of the Battle of the Bulge, and the final push across central Germany. By V-E Day on May 8, 1945, the 1st Infantry Division had reached Cheb, Czechoslovakia.

From Dec. 7, 1941 to V-J Day on Sept. 2, 1945, the Medal of Honor was awarded to a total of 434 recipients, 244 of whom received the Medal of Honor posthumously. The U.S. Army had 259 recipients, the U.S. Marine Corps had 81 recipients, the U.S. Navy had 57 recipients, the U.S. Army Air Force had 37 recipients and the U.S. Coast Guard had one recipient. Out of the total 434 Medals of Honor awarded in World War II, 1st Infantry Division soldiers received 17, of which 9 were awarded posthumously.

* Denotes a posthumous award
** In support of the 1st Division

Recipients

About the 1st Division

Vietnam


As part of the buildup of American troops in the Republic of Vietnam, the 1st Infantry Division was one of the first major units sent to South Vietnam in 1965.

For five years, the Big Red One fought against the Communist forces in the jungles north of the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon. Led by six consecutive commanding generals, the Division led the way in the innovative use of helicopters in air mobile operations to counter the difficult jungle terrain. The Big Red One faced an intense combat environment in which the commanding general could be a casualty. On September 13, 1968, MG Keith Ware and his aides were killed in action when their command helicopter was shot down by enemy fire over the jungles near Loc Ninh. By April 1970, the 1st Infantry Division came back to the United States to its previous home at Fort Riley, Kansas.

During the Vietnam War, the United States government awarded the Medal of Honor to 239 recipients, of which 150 were posthumously awarded. The U.S. Army had 155 recipients, the U.S. Marine Corps had 57 recipients, the U.S. Navy had 15 recipients and the U.S. Air Force had 12 recipients. Out of the total 239 Medals of Honor awarded during the Vietnam War, 12 were connected to the 1st Infantry Division, of which 10 were posthumously awarded.

* Denotes a posthumous award
** In support of the 1st Division

Recipients

About the 1st Division

Global War on Terror


The 1st Infantry Division has played a major role in the Global War on Terror, both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In January 2003, Big Red One elements formed Headquarters, Armed Forces-Turkey in order to prepare a route through Turkey into Northern Iraq for the 4th Infantry Division. When Turkey denied access to Iraq, ARFOR-T closed down and the 4th Infantry Division entered Iraq through Kuwait.

In April 2003, Task Force 1-63 Armor was airlifted into Kurdish controlled northern Iraq.TF 1-63 AR secured the northern Iraqi oilfields and assisted the local Kurdish forces. In February 2004, this Big Red One unit returned to Wurzburg, the Division’s headquarters in Germany since 1996.

In September 2003, the 1st Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq. The 1BCT took part in combat operations in the Sunni Triangle, trained Iraqi National Guard forces and provided assistance to civil aid project. This Big Red One unit left Iraq in September 2004.

In February 2004, the 1st Infantry Division arrived in Iraq as Task Force Danger. Composed of Division HQ, three 1ID BCTs and attached units, Task Force Danger conducted combat operations in the Sunni Triangle, along with training friendly forces and supporting civil aid projects. TF Danger returned to Germany in February 2005.

In 2006, the Division’s 2nd BCT deployed from Germany to Iraq. By July 7, 2006, the 1st Infantry Division cased its colors in Wurzburg, Germany and returned to the United States. The Division assumed command of Fort Riley, KS on August 1, 2006.

In early 2007, the 4th IBCT deployed from Fort Riley to Iraq. During its 15 month tour, the 4th IBCT captured more than 200 insurgents, destroyed 15 enemy cells, and suffered 74 soldiers killed in action. The 4th IBCT returned to Fort Riley in April 2008.

The 3rd BCT deployed to eastern Afghanistan in June 2008. There, they engaged in more than 1,000 firefights with the enemy. 400 Purple Heart Medals were awarded to soldiers of the 3rd BCT. In October 2008, the 2nd HBCT deployed to northwest Baghdad, Iraq, to oversee American unit withdrawal from the Iraqi capital.

In 2009, the 1st Infantry Division’s Headquarters & Headquarters Battalion returned to Iraq. As United States Division-South in Basra, the Division’s HHB assumed control of U.S. operations in southern Iraq. At the end of its tour, the 1st Infantry Division’s HHB turned over command to the 36th Infantry Division.

In April 2010, the Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade returned to Iraq. By August 2010, it assumed the role of Enhanced CAB, responsible for air control for all of Iraq.

In 2011, the Division’s Headquarters & Headquarters Battalion, designated Task Force Defender, deployed to Afghanistan. There it assumed control of operations in Regional Command-East. Task Force Defender returned to Fort Riley in March 2013.

During the Global War on Terror, the Medal of Honor was awarded to a total of 11 recipients, of which 7 were awarded posthumously. The U.S. Army had 7 recipients, the U.S. Navy had 2 recipients and the U.S. Marine Corps had 2 recipients. Out of the total 11 Medals of Honor awarded during the Global War on Terror, one of those was awarded to a 1st Infantry Division soldier, posthumously.

* Denotes a posthumous award

Recipients