All Classic Video - The Big Picture: First Infantry Division In Vietnam (1971) - Classic Documentary
The Big Picture: First Infantry Division In Vietnam (1971) - Classic Documentary
The 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army is the oldest division in the United States Army. It has seen continuous service since its organization in 1917. It was officially nicknamed the The Big Red One after its shoulder patch and is also nicknamed The Fighting First. However, with typical soldier gallows humor, the division has also received troop monikers of The Big Dead One and The Bloody First as puns on the respective officially-sanctioned nicknames. It is currently based at Fort Riley, Kansas...
The division fought in the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1970. Arriving in July 1965, the division began combat operations within two weeks. By the end of 1965 the division had participated in three major operations: Hump, Bushmaster 1 and Bushmaster II, under the command of MG Jonathan O. Seaman.
In 1966, the division took part in Operation Marauder, Operation Crimp II, and Operation Rolling Stone, all in the early part of the year. In March, MG William E. DePuy took command. In June and July the division took part in the battles of Ap Tau O, Srok Dong and Minh Thanh Road. In November 1966, the division participated in Operation Attleboro.
1967 saw the division in Operation Cedar Falls, Operation Junction City, Operation Manhattan, and Operation Shenandoah II. MG John H. Hay assumed command in February. On 17 October 1967, the 1st I.D suffered heavy casualties at the Battle of Ong Thanh with 58 killed.
The division involved in the Tet Offensive of 1968, securing the massive Tan Son Nhut Air Base. In March, MG Keith L. Ware took command. That same month the division took part in Operation Quyet Thang ("Resolve to Win") and in April the division participated in the largest operation of the Vietnam War, Operation Toan Thang ("Certain Victory"). On 13 September, the division Commander, Maj. Gen. Ware, was killed in action when his command helicopter was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire. MG Orwin C. Talbott moved up from his position of Assistant Division Commander to assume command of the division.
In the first half of 1969, The Big Red One conducted reconnaissance-in-force and ambush operations, including a multi-divisional operation, Atlas Wedge. The last part of the year saw the division take part in Dong Tien ("Progress Together") operations. These operations were intended to assist South Vietnamese forces to take a more active role in combat. In August, MG A. E. Milloy took command of the 1st I.D. while the division took part in battles along National Highway 13, known as "Thunder Road" to the end of the year.
In January 1970 it was announced that the division would return to Fort Riley. 11 members of the division were awarded the Medal of Honor.