"Big Red One" Turns 96 At Fort Riley

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FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Birthday wishes are in order for the Army’s oldest division!

The 1st Infantry Division celebrated its 96th birthday Tuesday at Fort Riley with a cake cutting ceremony at the Big Red One’s headquarters.

Fort Riley also marked the Army’s 238th birthday.

Soldiers with 2nd Brigade Food Services worked for two weeks to create a one-of-a-kind confection as a tribute to their history and heritage.

“To represent the Big Red One and the U.S. Army on their birthdays, it’s an obvious honor. I’m overwhelmed. I think I’m really overwhelmed with the fact that my soldiers did a really good job, just to be nominated to do this,” said Warrant Officer 1 Lakisha Singleton, whose team was tasked with creating the birthday cake.

The cake-cutting ceremony is a part of the “Big Red One’s” Victory Week. The annual Victory Week events serve as a way to honor current and former soldiers of the division and pay tribute to fallen heroes.

“96 years, 238 years- those don’t matter as much as the people standing to your left and right matter. Because the Army is about people,” said Major General Paul Funk, commanding general of Fort Riley and the 1st Infantry Division.

“Victory doesn’t happen without you. It doesn’t happen with committed, determined, brave, responsible people willing to serve their country…The next generation looks up to us and we have a responsibility to live up to their expectations. As you go through life, be somebody’s hero. I’m challenging you to be someone’s hero,” Gen. Funk told soldiers in attendance during the ceremony.

On June 12, the 1st Infantry Division will conduct its annual Victory Park ceremony, held in conjunction with Victory Week. The ceremony honors soldiers who have died in combat while assigned or attached to the 1st Infantry Division. At the ceremony, the “Big Red One” will add 10 more bricks to Victory Park’s existing 541, each honoring a soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The ceremony provides friends and loved ones an opportunity to pay tribute to these fallen warriors.