The First Infantry Division and the U.S. Army Transformed: Road to Victory in Desert Storm, 1970-1991 (American Military Experience) (Hardcover)

The First Infantry Division and the U.S. Army Transformed: Road to Victory in Desert Storm, 1970-1991 (American Military Experience) By Gregory Fontenot Cover Image

The First Infantry Division and the U.S. Army Transformed: Road to Victory in Desert Storm, 1970-1991 (American Military Experience) (Hardcover)


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This fast-paced and compelling read closes a significant gap in the historiography of the late Cold War U.S. Army and is crucial for understanding the current situation in the Middle East.

From the author's introduction:
“My purpose is a narrative history of the 1st Infantry Division from 1970 through the Operation Desert Storm celebration held 4th of July 1991. This story is an account of the revolutionary changes in the late Cold War. The Army that overran Saddam Hussein’s Legions in four days was the product of important changes stimulated both by social changes and institutional reform. The 1st Infantry Division reflected benefits of those changes, despite its low priority for troops and material. The Division was not an elite formation, but rather excelled in the context of the Army as an institution.”

This book begins with a preface by Gordon R. Sullivan, General, USA, Retired. In twelve chapters, author Gregory Fontenot explains the history of the 1st infantry Division from 1970 to 1991. In doing so, his fast-paced narrative includes elements to expand the knowledge of non-military readers. These elements include a glossary, a key to abbreviations, maps, nearly two dozen photographs, and thorough bibliography.

The First infantry Division and the U.S. Army Transformed: Road to Victory in Desert Storm is published with support from the First Division Museum at Cantigny.
For twenty-eight years, Colonel Gregory Fontenot served the United States Army in armor assignments in Iraq, Europe, Africa, and the United States. He commanded a tank battalion based at Fort Riley and Southwest Asia, and an armor brigade in Germany and Bosnia.

Colonel Fontenot served on plans and operations assignments at the Brigade, Division and major command levels. As an educator and trainer, he taught history at West Point and then served as Director of the School of Advanced Military Studies. He later commanded the Army’s Battle Command Training Program.

Following his retirement from the Army in 1999, Fontenot focused on training and experimentation for the U.S. Army, first as a contractor working with Army Research Institute, Army Research Laboratory, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), the Defense Advanced Research Programs Activity, and other agencies. From July 2002 through July 2004 he served as Director of Wargaming. From July 2004 through June 2013 he served as Director of the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies with the Deputy Chief of Staff, an assignment that supported campaign plan assessments in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Fontenot left civil service in June 2013 to focus on writing and to serve as a consultant on threat emulation for Army experimentation.

Colonel Fontenot was a member of the editorial board of Military Review from 2006-2013. Publications include articles in Army, Army History, The Infantry Journal and Military Review. Colonel Fontenot has written book reviews for Army, Armor, The Journal of Military History, Military Review, and Parameters. Colonel Fontenot authored a chapter in Martial Metropolis, edited by Roger Lotchin (Praeger, 1985) and served as lead author of On Point (CGSC Press, 2004).

Papers and presentations include: Annual seminar on the Balkans for the Marshall Foundation Marshall Awards Program (1997-2001), On Point: The US Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom presented at the 2004 Association of the United States Army authors symposium, presentations on Stability Operations in Urban Environments at TRADOC-Rand, Santa Monica Seminar 2000, McCormick Foundation, 2003, and JFCOM-IDF Joint Symposium 2006. Other papers include a presentation on Contemporary Military History in 2006 for the USMA Military History Symposium, “Mapping the Foreign” the American Literary Translation Association in 2008 and in 2015 “Dayton after Twenty Years” at the Watson Institute, Brown University.
Product Details ISBN: 9780826221186
ISBN-10: 0826221181
Publisher: University of Missouri
Publication Date: May 31st, 2017
Pages: 560
Language: English
Series: American Military Experience
“A fine and comprehensive portrait of a division in combat during the last American war of the 20th century.”—Rick Atkinson, author of The Guns at Last Light

The First infantry Division and the U.S. Army Transformed sheds fresh light and understanding on the combat experiences of soldiers and units in the 1991 Gulf War. Greg Fontenot, an accomplished soldier and historian as well as a veteran of that war, explains how that lopsided victory was rooted in the Army's Renaissance after the Vietnam War. In his expert telling, Fontenot makes clear that understanding the experience of the First Infantry Division in Desert Storm is clearly relevant to preparing for future armed conflict.”—H. R. McMaster, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

“Fontenot’s work reawakens a long-dormant Desert Storm historiography. While previous works offer insightful glimpses at the individual or operational level, Fontenot’s book represents the first detailed examination of how U.S. soldiers collectively experienced that conflict. The writer doesn’t skew events to highlight his contributions or add to his stature. In all, The 1st Infantry Division and the US Army Transformed has earned a place on the chief of staff of the Army’s professional reading list as well as your own bookshelves.”—Association of the U.S. Army

The First Infantry Division and the U.S. Army Transformed grounds a unique account of the experience of Army’s First Infantry Division (Mech) in the Persian Gulf War on a clear narrative of the complex institutional changes that transformed the shambles of the post-Vietnam Army into the world’s preeminent combat force. Colonel (Ret) Greg Fontenot is uniquely suited to tell this story. He was commissioned in 1971 as an armor officer, advanced through the frustrating years of rebuilding, retraining, indeed rethinking the Army, to emerge as both a respected combat commander and one of the Army’s premier trainers and educators. He trained and led a battalion task force of the 1st Division in the Gulf War then, half a decade later, he led the first U.S. Army heavy brigade across the Sava River into Bosnia. In between, he was Director of the Army’s School of Advance Military Studies and afterwards led the Army’s Battle Command Training Program. He understands both intimately and conceptually the challenges of preparing Army forces for war, the unforgiving nature of combat, and the burden of command in battle. This account of the Gulf War experience of the Big Red 1, reflects all three.”—Richard M. Swain, author of “Lucky War: Third Army in Desert Storm

“A splendid book honoring the selfless service, intrepid courage, and sacrifice of Soldiers, leaders, and Families of the Big Red One. Superbly told and clearly written by one of their own, Greg Fontenot, tank battalion task force commander 1st Infantry Division, VII Corps Desert Storm; gifted military historian, and strategic military thinker. A must-read history, impeccably researched and candidly related by Greg Fontenot through those who lived and fought the battles and engagements, and with honor and respect to those who gave that last full measure and their families.”—Fred Franks, General, US Army (retired)

“This is a book that has been sorely needed for several decades. Fontenot has crafted a book that fills or assists in filling many gaps in our understanding of several areas. In particular, these include the transformation of the Army following the Vietnam War and the 1ID’s role in the Persian Gulf War. This is a book that is passionate and informative, one that honors a division with a proud and celebrated history. Unquestionably well worth reading.”—Military Review

“Provides a comprehensive story of the Desert Storm campaign. This book should be in any library dedicated to modern warfare.”—Charles Bogart in The Journal of America’s Military Past

“Fontenot’s wartime study is a substantial work that incorporates an impressive depth and breadth of research."—On Point: The Journal of Army History