‘Big Red One’ ready for Afghanistan
Soldiers, Family members and veterans with the 1st Inf. Div. render honors during the playing of the national anthem at the division casing ceremony March 7.
Mollie Miller | 1st Inf. Div.
1st ID casing ceremony_9695.JPG
Story by: Stephanie Hoff
1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
A little more than a year after being unfurled following a deployment to Iraq, the colors of the 1st Infantry Division were again cased March 7 during a ceremony at Fort Riley's Cavalry Parade Field.
The ceremony symbolized one of the unit's final steps in preparation for its upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. The first of about 700 1st Inf. Div. staff members and Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion Soldiers slated to deploy are set to depart by the end of the month.
"We knew this (deployment) was coming, and we knew we had a certain amount of time to get ready," said Maj. Gen. William Mayville, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley commanding general. "I'm confident that our Soldiers are trained and ready to go. I'm confident in the organization. I think we got everything we need to accomplish the mission."
While this will be the unit's first deployment to Afghanistan, it is the second time the 1st Inf. Div.'s headquarters will deploy as a modular headquarters, separate from the units it commands. The division's headquarters departed for a yearlong tour to Iraq in late 2009 without its subordinate brigades.
Upon arrival in Afghanistan, Soldiers will assume the role of a regional command headquarters in Eastern Afghanistan. The primary mission for the Soldiers will be to work with Afghan nationals and their security forces to enable them to take charge of their country and be in charge permanently, Mayville said. Transitioning Afghan nationals to full sovereignty will be on the forefront of the unit's tasks, the general added.
"We know we have a tough mission in front of us as we prepare to assume command of Regional Command-East," Mayville said. "But our Soldiers are trained, skilled, and they are themselves seasoned combat veterans. They are ready. We are ready."
The division's headquarters team will be joined by a few familiar faces later this spring, when the "Big Red One's" 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team arrives in Eastern Afghanistan. The "Dragon" Brigade is scheduled to serve under the division's headquarters for a nine-month deployment.