As part of the third phase of U.S. troop withdrawals announced by President Nixon, the 1st Infantry Division departs Vietnam. One of the most distinguished units in the U.S. Army, the 1st Infantry Division was organized in May 1917 and served with distinction in both World War I and II. It was deployed to the area north of Saigon in October 1965, one of the first Army infantry divisions to arrive in Vietnam. The division consisted of seven battalions of light infantry and two battalions of mechanized infantry. Other combat elements included an armored reconnaissance unit and four battalions of artillery.
The approaches to Saigon and the border regions between Vietnam and Cambodia were the major battlefields for the 1st Infantry Division. It took part in large-scale operations such as Operation Junction City (February-May 1967) and the Tet Offensive of 1968. The division also conducted major operations in conjunction with South Vietnamese forces in the region. It returned to Fort Riley, Kansas, upon its departure from South Vietnam.
The 1st Infantry Division was awarded the Vietnamese Civil Action Medal and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm. Among other individual awards, its soldiers won 11 Medals of Honor, 67 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 905 Silver Stars for bravery. The division suffered 20,770 soldiers killed or wounded in action, slightly more than the 20,659 casualties the division suffered in World War II.