The 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, is one of the most versatile, deployable and successful brigades in the U.S. Army. The brigade fought across multiple theaters in its over 75-year history and earned victories that range from North Africa to Iraq.
First organized as Combat Command B in April 1942, the brigade spearheaded allied efforts in North Africa during World War II. After seizing the port city of Oran during Operation Torch, 2nd Brigade engaged Axis powers at Bizente, Tunisia, and Kasserine Pass. Through the rigors of combat, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, transformed into a veteran force that helped defeat the infamous Afrika Corps commanded by Erwin Rommel. Following the conclusion of the campaign, 2nd Brigade and 1st Armored Division reorganized and deployed to Italy.
In the spring of 1944, 2nd Brigade reinforced U.S. Army’s VI Corps at the Anzio beachhead in Italy. After penetrating the German coastal defense, 1st Armored Division combated entrenched positions at Monte Cassino, before ultimately breaching the Axis’ final defensive front, code named Gothic Line.
After World War II, 2nd Brigade’s status changed several times. In 1962, the U.S. Army activated 2nd Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, re-designating the unit from Combat Command B to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
In the fall of 1962, the brigade mobilized to Fort Stewart, Georgia, in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The unit participated in a six-week amphibious exercise along the Georgia-Florida coastline. President John F. Kennedy personally visited 2nd Brigade and thanked them for their “present actions,” amid the face of adversity, further stating that “freedom and [their] work [were] intimately intertwined.”
In 1971, 2nd Brigade relocated to Baumholder, Germany, in order to defend Western Europe against the threat of Soviet invasion. In 1985, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, adopted the moniker “The Iron Brigade,” in honor of the Civil War brigade of the same name, whose iron resolve proved instrumental at the battles of Bull Run, South Mountain and Gettysburg.
At the close of the Cold War, new threats arose and 2nd Brigade deployed once more, this time as a response to the 1990 Persian Gulf conflict. After the culmination of Operation Desert Storm’s air campaign in 1991, 2nd Brigade flanked into Southern Iraq with U.S. Army’s VII Corps.
The 2nd Brigade, alongside 3rd Armored Division, engaged and destroyed remnants of Iraq’s Tawalzalaa, and Adnan Divisions east of Al Busayyah. After advancing to attack the Iraqi’s western flank, 2nd Brigade received artillery fire from Iraq’s Madina Division and counter attacked. The 2nd Brigade destroyed the artillery batteries and continued their assault, ultimately destroying an additional 61 tanks and 34 armored personnel carriers in less than one hour.
After Desert Storm, 2nd Brigade conducted security operations in response to conflict in the Balkans. From 1995 to 2000, the brigade increased stability in Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, and Kosovo. After successful bridging operations, peace negotiations and a transition of responsibility, the brigade redeployed and prepared for future operations.
In April 2003, 2nd Brigade deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where the unit was responsible for two of Baghdad’s 11 districts, an area that included both sides of the Tigris River and was home to about 700,000 people. The brigade supported Iraq’s transition from the Ba'athist regime to a democratic government.
The 2nd Brigade returned to Iraq in 2005, operating in the city of Ramadi. Soldiers assisted Iraqi Security Forces in their battle against Al Qaeda during the Iraq Insurgency. The brigade also conducted security operations and provided support to the local populace before redeployment.
After three years, the brigade deployed to Iraq once more, this time responsible for Southern Baghdad. The 2nd Brigade conducted two relief in places and redeployed, bringing the unit’s total time in Iraq to over 42 months.
In 2011, the United States Army entrusted 2nd Brigade to evaluate and field emerging technology as part of the Network Integration Evaluation program and 2nd Brigade relocated from Germany to Fort Bliss, Texas, to support the mission. Soldiers of 2nd Brigade influenced procurement and fielding decisions at the national level while exercising combat scenarios at White Sands, New Mexicon and Fort Bliss.
In January 2017, the brigade realigned under FORSCOM, and once more assumed the duties associated with a brigade combat team. Since the transition, 2nd Brigade has supported CENTCOM regional missions including Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria.
Today, the Soldiers of 2nd Brigade stand ready to deploy, engage and destroy the enemies of the United States in close combat. As America’s premiere armored brigade combat team, 2nd Brigade takes pride in its past and remains focused on the future.
The 2nd Brigade accolades include:
CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION CREDIT
World War II:
- Algeria-French Morocco (with arrowhead)
- North Apennines
- Po Valley
- Defense of Saudi Arabia
- Liberation and Defense of Kuwait
War on Terrorism:
- Global War on Terrorism
- Presidential Unit Citation, Desert Storm, 1991
- Valorous Unit Award, Desert Storm, 1991
- Army Superior Unit Award, Balkans, 1995-1996
- Meritorious Unit Commendation, South West Asia, 2005-2006
- Meritorious Unit Commendation, Iraq, 2008-2009
- Meritorious Unit Commendation, Operation Inherent Resolve, 2017-2018