This 1971 episode of the U.S. Army’s The Big Picture television series (TV 822) describes the value of materiel readiness in today's Army and gives viewers a look at the incredibly complex logistical operations of maintaining “materiel readiness” of the 1st Infantry Mechanized. The episode opens with footage of soldiers firing artillery and moving across terrain. Illustrations depict the early weapons and transportation operations during the beginning of American military history. World War I photographs show the beginning of the major changes to the materials and logistics of warfare (02:21). This is followed by footage from World War II: tanks move across a field; soldiers fire machine guns, artillery guns, and rocket batteries. An aerial view shows a harbor in South Vietnam (03:43). Supplies are loaded off shipping barges. Tanks and troops move across an open field in Vietnam; Bell UH-1 Iroquois and Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters fly through the air. Solders maintain their rifles and artillery guns. Army infantry ride in an armored personal carrier (06:02). M-60 Patton tanks and M-60A1 tanks fire on targets. Army Engineers use a vehicle launch bridge (07:10) to move supplies. Fort Riley, Kansas (07:52) is home to the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, aka “The Big Red One.” There are shots of the base’s expansive motor pool. Soldiers train to use and maintain weapons (08:28). There is a good shot of the required tools used for maintaining an M-113 armored personnel carrier (09:15). Officers stand around a jeep to learn the vehicle’s mechanics (10:05). A soldier works on a truck’s engine (10:42). Footage shows a maintenance battalion repairing machines and equipment. Men repair a tank engine (11:27), and a driver checks the oil on his personnel carrier (12:38). At the infirmary, medics stock supplies (14:29). A mechanized battalion performs a field test of their armored personal carriers (15:00), testing materiel readiness under the watch of a commander. At Fort Riley’s Summerall Hall (16:05), a general meets with his brigade commanders. A major goes over a unit readiness report (16:45). Men enter data into high-speed data processing machines (17:45). A man climbs out of a division’s mobile data center. A man feeds cards into a computer at the Division Data Center (20:18). Soldiers sign out their weapons from the armory (22:43) and then participate in a battalion training operation (23:14). The film then takes viewers to a NATO base in West Germany (24:00) where NATO machines, identical to what is at the Big Red One base in the U.S., are stored. The mirroring of equipment allows the U.S. Army to quickly deploy the 1st Infantry Division to Europe without needing to transport all the vehicles and equipment. A montage of footage runs, similar to the topics covered earlier in film, with various officers, soldiers, and specialists, in meetings, participating in training, doing inventory, managing logistics, maintaining equipment. The film then briefly touches on the containerization of cargo (26:08). Jeeps transport boxes of cargo; a new giant Lockheed C-5 Galaxy transport plane takes off (26:42). The film concludes by featuring illustrations of future containerization elements, including a cargo carrying heavy-lift helicopter (it appears to be a rendering of a Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe).
The 1st Infantry Division is a combined arms division of the United States Army, and is the oldest continuously serving in the Regular Army. It has seen continuous service since its organization in 1917 during World War I. It was officially nicknamed "The Big Red One" (abbreviated "BRO") after its shoulder patch and is also nicknamed "The Fighting First". However, the division has also received troop monikers of "The Big Dead One" and "The Bloody First" as puns on the respective officially sanctioned nicknames. It is currently based at Fort Riley, Kansas.
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