Friday, March 7, 2008
First Infantry Division
In 1917, the U.S. military formed the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) and prepared for combat in World War I. Under the leadership of General John "Black Jack" Pershing, the AEF produced the First Infantry Division which became the AEF's best-trained fighting force. "Big Red One"--so named for the patch on their uniforms--saw action in France beginning in October 1917.
The First Infantry Division has seen action in every major war and police action since its inception: World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the First Gulf War, Bosnia/Kosovo, and current operations in Iraq.
This memorial to the American Expeditionary Force is located on the grounds of the White House across from the Old Executive Office Building (17th and E Streets NW). It was erected in 1924 and sculpted by Daniel Chester French--the same sculptor who did Lincoln's statue at the Lincoln Memorial. Around the base of the memorial are the names of those of the First Infantry Division who died in World War I. To the west of the memorial is a panel to those who died in World War II. On the east side are the names of the dead from Vietnam, as well the names of the 27 members of the division who died in the First Gulf War, including the first woman and a civilian.
Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 10/07