Fort Riley, Kansas



Rooms at Riley’s Conference Center teach history of ‘Big Red One’

By Season Osterfeld | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | October 13, 2017

      No longer will visitors search from room A or B when wandering Riley’s Conference Center. They’ll be looking for rooms named after one of five separate battles or wars the 1st Infantry Division participated in.

     As part of the celebration for the “Big Red One’s” 100th birthday, the five rooms of Riley’s Conference Center were renamed during a presentation at the Fort Riley Town Hall Oct. 3 at Riley’s.

     “In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the ‘Big Red One,’ we have — the museum along with Capt. Robert Cogan, my able assistant — worked with the division and the garrison to name the five conference rooms here and sort of bring to mind the notable and historic history of the ‘Big Red One,’” said Robert Smith, director of Fort Riley Museums Division.

       The rooms received a plaque with their new name. The wars and battled named on the plaques started with Cantigny.

     “Each room has been named after what we believe as an iconic and noteworthy battle,” Smith said. “Cantigny Room, World War I, May of 1918, the division’s first battle – actually, the United States Army’s first battle in the First World War. The Normandy Room, Omaha Beach, the heroic sacrifices made on June 6, 1944, in cracking a very, very tough nut of Hitler’s west front. Operation Junction City, the largest action in the Vietnam War by the 1st Infantry Division. Norfolk Room, the 100-hour war in the first Persian Gulf War and, finally, the Baghdad Room in acknowledgment of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the sacrifices made by our Soldiers there.”

      Christian Bishop, manager at Fort Riley’s Conference Center, said it took some time to get the idea off the ground and it was made possible through a combination of partnerships and cooperation, but one person in particular led the way.

      “It was an idea that had been talked about for a while and (Brig.) Gen. (Patrick D.) Frank (former acting senior commander of the division and Fort Riley), being a big supporter of Riley’s (Conference Center) and the ‘Big Red One,’ came up with this idea.”

      The plaques include information about the battles for visitors to read and gain new insight on the 1st Inf. Div.

      Bishop said she was honored to have her facility be a part of sharing the division’s history. She added she learned a lot from this endeavor.

      “It really highlights the units and brigades that participated in each of the five wars,” Bishop said.


Tag 100th Anniversary