The 1st Armored Division is the oldest and most prestigious armored division in the United States Army. From its desert tank battles against Field Marshall Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, beach landing at Anzio to the end of the war in the Italian Alps. Maintaining a forward presence in the cold war in Germany, its stunning victories in the Persian Gulf War to the Global War on terrorism in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. In peace or war, the "Old Ironsides" Division has amassed a proud record of service to America. The current home of the Division is at Fort Bliss, Texas.
The unit motto is"Iron Soldier." This is used in greeting a senior NCO or Officer of the Division.
Unit Insignia: The division was nicknamed "Old Ironsides", by its first commander, Major General Bruce R. Magruder, after he saw a picture of the frigate USS Constitution, which is also nicknamed "Old Ironsides". The large "1" at the top represents the numerical designation of the division, and the insignia is used as a basis for most other sub-unit insignias. The cannon represents fire power, the track represents mobility, and the lighting bolt represents speed and shock force.
The three colors, red, yellow, and blue represent the Artillery, Cavalry, and Infantry Branches respectively, which are the colors of the three original combat arms which, when forged into one, created the field of Armor. This "pyramid of power" was devised by the order of then-Lieutenant Col. George S. Patton, Jr. in Bourg, France in early 1918 during Patton's formation and training of the Tank Corps in support of the American Expeditionary Force under General John J. Pershing.
Commander:MG Orlando Ward He left that post (and was promoted major general) to become the second commander of the U.S. Army's 1st Armored Division. He supervised the deployment of his division across the Atlantic to North Africa, which was brought piecemeal (with a layover in Northern Ireland) as part of Operation Torch and subsequent operations. The failure of 1st Armored to arrive intact and deploy as a single entity would have important consequences in later action against German forces in Tunisia.
Commander:MG Ernest N. Harmon Major-General Harmon had been in Thala on the Algerian border, witnessing the stubborn resistance of the British Nickforce, which held the vital road leading into the Kasserine Pass against the heavy pressure of the German 10th Panzer Division, which was under Rommel's direct command.When the U.S. 9th Infantry Division's attached artillery arrived in Thala after a four-day, 800-mile march, it seemed like a godsend to Harmon. The 9th's artillery did stay, and with its 48 guns raining a whole year's worth of a (peacetime) allotment of shells, stopped the advancing Germans in their tracks. Unable to retreat under the withering fire, the Afrika Corps finally withdrew after dark. With the defeat at Thala, Rommel decided to end his offensive.
Commander:MG Martin E. Dempsey In June 2003, then Brigadier General Dempsey assumed command of 1st Armored Division. Dempsey's command of the 1st Armored Division lasted until July 2005 and included 13 months in Iraq, from June 2003 to July 2004. While in Iraq, 1st Armored Division, in addition to its own brigades, had operational command over the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, numerous Army National Guard units and a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division; the command, called "Task Force Iron" in recognition of the Division's nickname, "Old Ironsides", was the largest division-level command in the history of the United States Army.
It was during this time that the U.S. intervention in Iraq changed dramatically as Fallujah fell to Sunni extremists and supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr built their strength and rose up against American forces. Then Major General Dempsey and his command assumed responsibility for the Area of Operations in Baghdad as the insurgency incubated, grew, and exploded. General Dempsey has been described by Thomas Ricks in his book "Fiasco": "In the capital itself, the 1st Armored Division, after Sanchez assumed control of V Corps, was led by Gen. Martin Dempsey, was generally seen as handling a difficult (and inherited) job well, under the global spotlight of Baghdad." General Dempsey is now serving as the current Joint Chiefs of Staff.
MOH Recipient:Pvt Nicholas Minue Nicholas Minue received the Medal of Honor for military service on behalf of the United States of America in World War II. He received this recognition for charging a group of German soldiers that had a machine-gun position near Medjez El Bab, Tunisia. He died during the charge.
MOH Recipient:2LT Thomas Fowler Thomas Weldon Fowler was a former student of the Texas A&M University, a United States Army officer, and a recipient of America's highest military decoration "the Medal of Honor" for his actions leading a combined armor-infantry attack near Carano in the Anzio Beachhead Italy in World War II.
Silver Star Recipient:T5 Henry Guarnere Henry J. Guarnere, an Army Medic, the brother of the famous Sgt William "Wild Bill" Guarnere of Easy Company, 506th P.I.R., 101st Airborne Division, and a recipient of America's third highest military decoration - the Silver Star. As Army Medical Aidman, he rescued a Soldier during heavy counter battery fire in a gun section that was seriously wounded and unable to reach shelter in Tunisia, Africa during World War II. Tech 5 Henry Guarnere was killed in action on 6th January, 1944 while serving with the 47th Armored Medical Battalion in Northern Italy.
Silver Star Recipient:2LT John P Souther awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with the 1st Armored Division during World War II. He called in division artillery on an exposed position of 500 Germans while under direct fire after his vehicle was knocked out by a German 88mm gun. His actions resulted all of the enemy being killed. He later retired as a LTC in the US Army Reserves and was the President of the 1st Armored Division Association in 1990. He wrote several books on his wartime experiences. He passed away in 2006 in Georgia.
Distinguished Service Cross Recipient:General John Knight Waters , LTC Waters was the son in law of the famous General Patton of II Corps at the time he was taken as a prisoner of war in Tunisia during the battle of of Sidi Bouzid, Feb 1943. He was the commander of the 1st Armored Regiment (light), 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division. 26 March,1945, General Patton set up the controversial Task Force Baum to break him out.The mission was a complete failure.He was later released two weeks later in April 1945 by units of the 14th Armored Division. LTC Waters later retired as a four star general, who served as commander, U.S. Army, Pacific from 1964 to 1966.
The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Task Force (TF) 3-1 Armored Division (AD), deployed from Fort Bliss to eastern Afghanistan from 16 October 2011 to 15 July 2012. The brigade conducted combined, population-centric counterinsurgency operations in Logar, Wardak, and Bamyan provinces, relieving the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. TF 3-1 AD consisted of the brigade headquarters, two infantry battalions, a cavalry squadron, an artillery battalion, a brigade support battalion, and a special troops battalion. The brigade also partnered with a Security Force Advisor Team (SFAT), a Georgia Nation Guard Agribusiness Development Team (ADT), three coalition Provincial Reconstruction Teams, Special Operations Forces, and numerous government agencies such as the US State Department. TF 3-1 AD and partners worked to secure Highway 1, a vital line of communication, neutralize insurgent and criminal networks, increase Afghan National Security Forces security primacy in order to expand the Kabul Security Zone and extend Government Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) influence among the Afghan people. The main effort for Regional Command-East (RC-E), TF 3-1 AD?s leadership, tactical expertise, and operational precision was vital[according to whom?] to securing and expand the Kabul security zone in these provinces.
In mid-October, TF 3-1 AD launched the brigade?s first operation, Operation Shamshir. Planned in support of a RC-East operation to disrupt insurgents from the Haqqani Network across eastern Afghanistan, the operation disrupted and dislodged insurgents from their entrenched positions and forced them into the open. The brigade?s partners, the 4th Brigade, 203rd Afghan National Army (ANA) Corps, worked shoulder-to-shoulder at all echelons through all phases of the operation. A total of fourteen villages in the Kherwar district were cleared and the operation concluded with a Shura, joining the ANA, TF 3-1 AD, and local leaders in Muchkel village, establishing the foundation of an outstanding working relationship between the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and TF 3-1 AD.
As the Afghan winter set in, TF 3-1 AD refused to cede the initiative, continuing to target insurgent supply caches, disrupt support zones, and expand the Afghan government?s authority. The brigade and their Afghan partners continued to push the enemy south, expanding the Kabul security zone, even as ANSF units assumed responsibility of the security of northern Wardak and Logar. As ANSF took the lead, TF 3-1 AD realigned its forces in March, transitioning the brigade?s cavalry squadron to assume responsibility of Laghman province. Further assisting the realignment across the RC-East area of operation (AO), TF 3-1 AD supported the arrival of TF 1-82 in southern Ghazni Province during Operation Ibex. This realignment postured the brigade to successfully engage the enemy upon the return of fighters from Pakistan in the spring. In early April, TF 3-1 AD, partnering with the 4/203rd ANA Brigade, Special Operations Forces, Afghan National Police (ANP), and other Afghan elements, planned and executed Operation Welcome Home, a brigade-level operation attacking the heart of the insurgency throughout Logar and Wardak. Executed over six days, a combined force cleared 12 objectives, removing insurgent leaders, fighters, and weapons from the battlefield and discouraging local citizens from joining or supporting the enemy. Most significantly, TF 3-1 AD?s ANSF partners led throughout the operation, proving their capabilities and the success of the brigade?s partnership efforts.
Following Operation Welcome Home, and based on intelligence gained form that operation, the brigade?s ANA partners launched Operation Maiwand, the first Kandak (battalion) level operation planned and executed without the brigade?s oversight. Continuing through April 15, the operation netted two enemy weapons caches, including seven rocket-propelled grenades, 12 land mines, six rifles, a machine gun, and ammunition. Operation Maiwand was a significant milestone for RC-East, TF 3-1 AD and the 4/203rd ANA Brigade, as the brigade?s partners demonstrated their ability to plan and execute complex missions involving ground and air movement to target multiples objectives.
On April 15, 2012, insurgents launched the opening salvoes of their spring offensive. Coordinated attacks targeting coalition and Afghan military bases and embassies were carried out in Kabul, Paktiya, Kunar, and Logar Provinces. In TF 3-1 AD?s AO, insurgents attacked the Pul-e-Alam Patrol Base, in the district center of the provincial capital. The enemy took firing positions in a nearby building and began shooting small arms and rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) at the patrol base. TF 3-1 AD and Afghan forces at the patrol base immediately reacted, and the brigade coordinated with their Afghan partners to neutralize by providing air weapons teams and close air support to defeat the enemy. In all, 11 insurgents were killed in action, while one US law enforcement professional (LEP) was killed, two US Soldiers wounded, and four Afghan service members were wounded. Most significantly, TF 3-1 AD?s Afghan partners had once again demonstrated the progress made since TF 3-1 AD?s arrival. With the brigade?s Afghan National Army partners consistently demonstrating their increasing capabilities, the brigade planned and resourced Operation Shamshir II. This operation was led by Afghan forces, which provided the majority of the troops involved. In the two-week period of May 6?20, troops from 1st, 3rd, and 6th Kandaks of the 4th Brigade, 203rd ANA Corps, disrupted insurgents in Kherwar, Jaghato, and Chak districts, and cleared weapons caches, thereby demonstrating to the local population their ability to provide security.
In May, the brigade undertook another major realignment of forces to posture their replacements, the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, and their ANA partners to further disrupt the enemy and secure the population. TF 1-13 Cavalry transitioned back into AO 3-1 AD, assuming responsibility for northern Logar Province. The brigade also planned and resourced the movement of two additional ANA Kandaks into the area, increasing ANA capabilities and overall security.
As Relief in Place (RIP) /Transition of Authority(TOA) and redeployment approached, TF 3-1 AD remained focused on its relentless pursuit of the enemy and developing partnership with the ANSF, enabling governance and development throughout Logar, Wardak, and Bamyan provinces. At the brigade?s core was a battle-hardened staff consisting of numerous sections, a team of teams, which enabled the brigade?s achievements through their professionalism, dedication, and outstanding mission support.