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 Christopher R. Kohunsky
Command Sergeant Major Christopher R. Kohunsky completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, in September 1997, and was awarded the Military Occupational Specialty 19D, Cavalry Scout.
CSM Kohunsky’s assignments include the 3rd Infantry Division, 2nd Infantry Division, 1st Armored Division, United States Army Armor School, 1st Armored Training Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, US Embassy- Laos, and the 4th Infantry Division. He has served overseas tours in Korea and Laos, along with several deployments to CENTCOM and EUCOM.
His military education includes the Scout Leader Course, Drill Sergeant School, Joint Military Attaché School, and the Sergeants Major Course (Class 65). His civilian education includes a Bachelor of Science from Southeast Missouri State University and a master’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso.
CSM Kohunsky’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Combat Action Badge.
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