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First Army History
First Army – America’s FIRST, oldest and longest-standing field army – was established in France August 10, 1918, under the command of General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing and organized under the American Expeditionary Forces of World War I.

In France, First Army left a legacy of victory in the reduction of the St. Mihiel Salient, the Meuse-Argonne Campaign near Verdun, and the Lorraine Campaign in 1918.

With “The Great War” at an end, First Army deactivated in 1919. When reactivated October 1, 1933, at Fort Jay, New York, First Army had a new mission:  supporting the training and readiness of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.

In 1943, First Army resumed its field army combat role and reconstituted in Bristol, England. On D-Day – June 6, 1944 – with Lt. Gen. Omar Bradley in command, First Army troops landed on Omaha and Utah Beaches in Normandy, France, with First Army commanding all American ground forces during the invasion.

First Army established an impressive record of “firsts” in World War II:  FIRST on the beaches of Normandy; FIRST out of the Normandy beachhead; FIRST into Paris; FIRST to break the Siegfried Line; FIRST to cross the Rhine River; and FIRST to link up with our Soviet allies at the Elbe River.

Following World War II, First Army was established as one of six continental field armies responsible for supervising and training active-duty and Army National Guard units. Beginning in the 1950s and continuing through the 1970s, First Army mobilized and deployed thousands of Soldiers during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, focusing their training efforts on active-component forces.

In 1973, First Army’s mission focus shifted back to the training and readiness of the Reserve Component. In 1990, First Army trained, mobilized and deployed more than 41,000 Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

In the latter 20th century, First Army’s responsibilities expanded to incorporate the Defense Support of Civil Authorities mission. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, First Army provided support during relief efforts. In 2005, First Army supported fellow Americans after the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita along the Gulf Coast. Under First Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Russel HonorĂ©, Joint Task Force Katrina provided relief and security for citizens in areas ravaged by the storm.

Since 2001, First Army has mobilized, trained and deployed more than 1.2 million Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilian interagency personnel for worldwide missions, including Operations Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Freedom’s Sentinel, Spartan Shield, Inherent Resolve, Horn of Africa, Multinational Force and Observers, and the air defense mission in the National Capitol Region.
World War I
World War II
Other Efforts