‘Big Red One’ deploying division headquarters for Europe mission

Spc. Caleb L. Gardner, left, an intelligence analyst assigned to Delta Company, 82nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan., conducts radio checks with other vehicles within a convoy at Zagan, Poland, Jan. 11, 2018.


By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 18, 2018

STUTTGART, Germany — A division-level headquarters from Fort Riley, Kansas will take over the day-to-day command of Army operations along NATO’s eastern flank in March, relieving a 4th Infantry Division team that has carried out the mission for the past three years.

The 1st Infantry Division will deploy 100 troops to Poznan, Poland to head up the Army’s Atlantic Resolve mission command element, U.S. Army Europe said Wednesday.

The headquarters was established to provide USAREUR with a more robust command and control element to execute a growing mission in the region to deter potential Russian aggression.

After Moscow’s 2014 intervention in Ukraine, the U.S. military began rotating larger troop formations to Europe and expanded its exercises on the continent. But USAREUR was short on command and control capabilities to oversee the movement of thousands of vehicles, troops and equipment. The mission command element serves as the intermediate headquarters between the USAREUR and the forces maneuvering through the eight East European countries that make up Atlantic Resolve — the ongoing mission to deter potential Russian aggression, USAEUR said.

When 4th ID began the mission three years ago, it operated out of a headquarters in Germany. Last year, the unit shifted to Poland, which Army leaders have described as the new “center of gravity” in Europe because of its strategic location.

The 1st ID, known as “The Big Red One,” has a long history in Europe, dating back to World War I. From 1996 to 2006, the division was based in Wuerzburg, Germany.

The 1st ID’s Brig. Gen. Richard E. Coffman will lead the mission command element.

Twitter: @john_vandiver

Pvt. Adrianne Castillo, automated logistics specialist with 299th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan., inspects a rope harness while preparing equipment to be sling loaded from a helicopter at Skwierzyna, Poland, on Jan. 4, 2017.