by: DeAngela McDougald
Over 150 soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division Headquarters returned to Fort Riley Friday evening.
The final welcome home ceremony for the Division Headquarters celebrated the return of the soldiers from a nine month deployment to Iraq where the 1st Infantry Division assumed the role of Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command (CJFLCC) – Operation Inherent Resolve. As part of that role, the Division served in an assist capacity to the Iraqi Security Forces as part of a 23 nation coalition.
Major General Joseph Martin, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley Commanding General, served as the Commanding General of CJFLCC.
The Division was successful in liberating nearly 2 million people in Mosul, Iraq – a city that has been under ISIS control since 2014. Additionally, more than 350,000 children returned to school in Mosul, 320 schools have reopened and nearly 200,000 internally displaced persons have returned to their homes in Mosul.
Brigadier General William “Bill” Turner, 1st ID and Fort Riley Acting Senior Commander, said that it’s a rewarding experience to serve in the First Infantry Division.
“In addition to this deployment, we’ve also had several of our brigades that have been deployed around the globe; we had our 1st Brigade that was deployed over in the Republic of Korea in the Korean peninsula deterring North Korean aggression, we had our Combat Aviation Brigade that was deployed to Afghanistan, and then really topping it off is having the Division Headquarters over in Iraq supporting the Iraqi Security Forces.”
Turner said that it’s “beyond words to express our gratitude” to the soldiers returning from deployment.
“This will be the first time in quite a long time that really most of the Division – all of its brigades, and Headquarters – are back together again on Fort Riley,” said Turner.
There is one aviation battalion that is currently deployed to Korea.
The 1st Infantry Division will continue to celebrate 100 years during Victory Week festivities in August.
To the community members and families of the Big Red One, Turner offers these words of gratitude: “We express our gratitude, our very sincere thanks to the residents of the Flint Hills regional community for all that they’ve done to support our soldiers that have been back here training and preparing more readiness for our nation, as well as supporting all of our soldiers and the families of those that are deployed; [the support has] been phenomenal, this is a great place.”