National Archives and Records Administration ARC Identifier 2569722 / Local Identifier 111-TV-465 Big Picture: The Army's First It was in 1917 that the American Expeditionary Force under General John J. Pershing poured ashore in France, expecting to fight as a separate Army. However, it was not until July, 1918, that Pershing was able to create the First United States Army under his command. On film this episode becomes a chronological history of the First Army from World War I to 1960. It is an extraordinary documentary of the First Army's 23rd Division that wrote a chapter of history unexcelled in accomplishment, unsurpassed in courage. Many men and many outfits captured the imagination of the American people. There was Sergeant Alvin York of the 83rd Division, Wild Bill Donovan's Fighting 69th, Major Charles Whittlesey's Lost Battalion, General Douglas MacArthur of the 42nd Division, and the glamorous "Hat in the Ring" Flying Squadron of Major Eddie Rickenbacker. Inactivated in 1919, First Army seemed for a few years a part of the past. But the complacency of the twenties soon gave way to European unrest and in 1933, Chief of Staff Douglas MacArthur recreated First Army as part of a broad Army reorganization.
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