The Iron Brigade is a coachable BCT that gets better each day and works to manage transitions, maintains a high tempo in sustaining readiness, advising, assisting, enabling, and emboldening our GCC partners and providing options for the ARCENT Commander.

The Iron Brigade is a coachable BCT that gets better each day and works to manage transitions, maintains a high tempo in sustaining readiness, advising, assisting, enabling, and emboldening our GCC partners and providing options for the ARCENT Commander.

Commander - COL Michael P. Wagner

COL Wagner began his career as an Infantry Officer in 1997 after graduating from the United States Military Academy, and he was assigned to the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry in Vicenza, Italy. There he served as an airborne rifle platoon leader, rifle company executive officer, and maintenance officer.

From 2002-2005, COL Wagner served at Fort Hood, Texas where he was a Current Operations Officer in the III Corps G3 and then as the Brigade Chief of Plans and Commander of A Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry in 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. During this time he deployed to Tikrit, Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom I.

Following command, COL Wagner attended the Fletcher School at Tufts University and earned a master’s degree focusing on International Relations before returning to West Point to teach conflict resolution and negotiation as well as IR theory.

COL Wagner then served as the Battalion Operations Officer for 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry and then the Brigade Combat Team Operations Officer and Executive Officer for 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) from 2010-2013. He deployed to Afghanistan with 3/101 in 2010/11 and again in 2012/13.

From 2013 to 2015 COL Wagner served as the Army Military Aide to the President of the United States and then commanded the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry in the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) from 2015 to 2017. In this period, he participated in NATO reassurance missions and training exercises in 15 allied countries to include Operation Atlantic Resolve in the Baltics and Poland. After War College, COL Wagner served as the G3 Operations Office for the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson before reporting to the 1st Armored Division in the summer of 2019 where served as the Chief of Staff prior to command.

COL Wagner’s military training and education includes Air Assault and Airborne School, Ranger School, Jump Master School, Infantry Officer Basic Course, Infantry Captain’s Career Course, Bradley Leader’s Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Command and General Staff College. He was a U.S. Army War College Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. in 2017/18.

Command Sergeant Major - CSM Michael C. Williams
CSMWilliams.jpg Command Sergeant Major Michael C. Williams entered the Army in April 1990, and attended One Station Unit Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, as an Armored Reconnaissance Specialist. CSM Williams’s assignments include Dismounted Recon Team Leader, 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor, Fort Benning, Georgia; Bradley Commander, 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry, Camp Garry Owen, Korea; Section Sergeant, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, Fort Hood, Texas; Drill Sergeant, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry, and Drill Sergeant Leader at the United States Army Drill Sergeant School, Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Scout Platoon Sergeant, Alpha Troop 1SG, and HHT 1SG, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry, Fort Hood, Texas; Operations SGM, 6th Squadron, 1st Cavalry, Fort Bliss, Texas, Command Sergeant Major, 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry, Fort Bliss, Texas; and Command Sergeant Major, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Irwin, California.

CSM Williams’s military education includes every level of the Noncommissioned Officer Education System, First Sergeants Course, Jungle Operations Course, Drill Sergeant Course, and Levels I and II of the Army Combatives Course. CSM Williams holds a Bachelor of Arts in Management with a concentration in Leadership.

CSM Williams’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Bronze Star Medal (3rd award), the Meritorious Service Medal (4th award), the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, the Army Commendation Medal (5th award), the Army Achievement Medal (9th award), the Army Good Conduct Medal (8th award), the Meritorious Unit Citation, the Army Superior Unit Award, the National Defense Service Ribbon (with Bronze Star), the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal (w/3 BSS), the Iraqi Campaign Medal (w/4 BSS), the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Saudi Arabia and Kuwait Liberation Medal, the Drill Sergeant Badge and the Combat Action Badge. CSM Williams is a member of the Order of Saint George.

2-1 History
Welcome on behalf of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division. We are here today, as part of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division where our successes and failures will echo through the future of our units and the Army. Just as we have a part in influencing the future of the brigade, others have had a role in shaping the history of it. So how did we get to where we are today? Who are the people and events that comprise our Brigade’s illustrious history?

For starters, the 1st Armored Division comes with a history of its own and our insignia provides an excellent background. Its design comes from the triangular coat-of-arms of the World War I Tank Corps. The insignia is drawn in bold colors characterizing the capabilities of the division. These colors, yellow, blue, and red represent the combined arms nature of the division comprised of Armor, Infantry, and Artillery. The insignia also contains a tank track which denotes mobility and armor protection, a gun that represents firepower, and a lightning bolt that exemplifies speed and shock action. These are all important attributes of the Armor Division as firepower, mobility and shock action comprise our division’s foundation. So how did 1AD become nicknamed “Old Ironsides?” History tells us that soon after the activation of the 1st Armored Division in July 1940, the inaugural commander, Major General Bruce R. Magruder, began his search for the division’s appropriate nickname. During his search, he came across a painting of a very famous naval vessel, the U.S.S. Constitution, which was nicknamed “Old Ironsides.” The history of the U.S.S. Constitution is filled with a spirit of daring and durability. Gen. Magruder was inspired by the "Old Ironsides" spirit and with current development and implementation of the tank; he decided that 1st Armored Division should share the "Old Ironsides" nickname to partake in that same spirit of daring and durability.

Prior to the modular transformation, the 2nd Brigade was known as one of the most versatile, most deployable and most successful Heavy Brigades in the U.S. Army. Its experience and training gave the brigade the capability to stand ready for no-notice deployments and has successfully been put to the test in places such as: Algeria, Kasserine Pass, Anzio, Iraq, Macedonia, Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo.

First organized as Combat Command B in April 1942, the 2nd Brigade Soldiers and their tanks were spearheaded into the action of World War II where they deployed as an integral part of the North African Invasion. After shedding blood during the landing at Algeria and the desert reaches of Bizente, Tunisia, and Kasserine Pass, the rookie unit forged itself into the decisive force that defeated Rommel's Afrika Corps. Following victory, the unit pushed north into Italy and fought as part of the U.S. Fifth Army's primary strike force. The battles were bitter, with the opposed beachheads at Anzio, an unrelenting stalemate at Monte Cassino, and the tenacious defense of the Gothic Line.

After the war, the unit’s status changed several times over the course of the next 15 years. In 1962, it was re-designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division and activated at Fort Hood, Texas. When America found itself amongst a Cold War, the brigade deployed during the Cuban Missile Crisis where it participated in amphibious exercises in Georgia to display the United States’s commitment, capability, and resolve. The exercises lasted nearly six weeks. Shortly thereafter, tensions eased and the unit returned to Fort Hood. For the next couple of decades the unit remained a key deterrent against the Communist Bloc threat. It was during this era, on August 16, 1985, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division became known as “The Iron Brigade” joining the legendary fighting spirit of certain Civil War units with the honor and service record of the distinguished 2nd Brigade.

At the close of the Cold War, new threats challenged the world and the Iron Brigade stood by as part of our nation’s response. In more recent history, the 1991 conflict in the Persian Gulf arose and it was here during the blitz of Operation Desert Storm that the Iron Brigade faced the toughest of Iraqi forces. In 89 hours, 2nd Brigade’s Iron Soldiers defeated the enemy at Al Busayyah, Al Rumaylah Airfield, and Medina Ridge. As hostility operations ceased, the unit was then called upon to provide humanitarian aid to the war torn region.

Fast forwarding a couple years, from 1995 to the early 2000’s, 2/1 conducted missions in the Balkan Peninsula. These missions in Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, and Kosovo provided security and stability to their respective regions. It was during these missions that the Iron Brigade showed its versatility by conducting successful peacekeeping operations spanning the Central Region within the Balkan Peninsula.

In April 2008, the Iron Brigade deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. HHC, 2 BCT conducted two Reliefs in Place assuming responsibility for the Mada’in Qada region. Its operational environment covered over 3700 square kilometers and a population of 1.2 million, an area that had previously been occupied by three full brigade combat teams. Throughout the duration of the deployment, the Iron Brigade ensured all sustainment and operational support for over 4300 service members. In 2010, the 5th Brigade, 1st Armored Division was inactivated.

This unit had previously been designated as the U.S. Army's Evaluation Task Force. The Department of the Army redesignated the Army Capabilities Integration Center's Future Force Integration Directorate also known as AETF, to which 5th Brigade had been assigned, as the Brigade Modernization Command in February 2011. As part of this change, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division was assigned the AETF mission and assigned to Brigade Modernization Command.

After joining BMC, the Iron Brigade supported semi-annual Network Integration Evaluations held at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. These exercises led to the fielding of mission command, network and network capability sets of tactical vehicles to seven divisions across the Army. The Iron Brigade served in this role for five years working with the BMC.

In January 2017, the Iron Brigade transitioned from BMC’s AETF to FORSCOM, making it available for operational assignments. The brigade dove right into a rigorous home station gated training strategy which culminated with an August 2017 rotation to the National Training Center where the brigade was deemed mission ready as the Army’s first Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2, equipped armored brigade.

Following its NTC rotation, the brigade deployed in October 2017 to Kuwait and the CENTCOM region as the Operation Spartan Shield maneuver brigade and also in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria. As part of OSS, the brigade participated in nine major theater security cooperation training exercises with host national forces in six different countries, built readiness in support of regional deterrence, and conducted engagements throughout the region which emboldened our partners in the CENTCOM area. Elements of the brigade also served in both combat and advisory roles in both Iraq and Syria in support of OIR.