2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division
2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division
Army Evaluation Task Force
"The Iron Brigade"
As part of the reorganization of the 1st Armored Division under the Army's new modular force structure, various elements that had been held at division level, but habitually attached to the Division's brigades were made organic to the new Brigade Combat Teams. As part of this transformation, the reorganized and redesignated 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division gained a cavalry squadron, as well as the field artillery battalion and support battalion that had previously been held at division level, but had habitually supported the Brigade. The Brigade retained 1-6th Infantry and 1-35th Armor, which had been a part of the pre-modular Brgiade.
Prior to the modular transformation, the 2nd Brigade had been one of the most versatile, most deployable, most successful Heavy Brigades in the US Army, as it had proved time and again in places like Algeria, Kasserine Pass, Anzio, Iraq, Macedonia, Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo. The 2nd Brigade stood ready for no-notice deployment to events within the European and Central Commands area of responsibility, with special training and preparation for peace enforcement and other multinational missions.
The 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division was first organized on 5 April 1942 at Fort Knox, Kentucky as Combat Command B. In those days, the soldiers of the Combat Command, their tanks, and other fighting equipment were forged into the the spearhead for the action in World War Two. During Operation Torch, Combat Command B deployed as part of the North African invasion force and was committed in the first armored fight of the war. Blooded during the landing at Algeria and the desert reaches of Bizente, Tunis, and Kasserine Pass, the young unit was forged into the decisive force that defeated Rommel's veteran Afrika Corps. Following victory on the African continent, Combat Command B fought as part of the US Fifth Army's primary strike force in Italy. The fighting was bitter with the opposed beachheads at Anzio, a deadly stalemate at Monte Casino, and the tough defense of the Gothic Line. After the war, the Brigade served briefly in Bavaria and then was inactivated on 9 April 1946 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey with the rest of the 1st Armored Division.
Five years later, in 1951, Combat Command B was reactivated at Fort Hood, Texas. It was inactivated again on 23 December 1957 at Fort Polk, Louisiana. On 3 February 1962 the unit was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, and activated at Fort Hood, Texas. During the period of the Cold War, the 2nd Brigade was used to demonstrate US resolve and capability. The unit deployed during the Cuban Missile Crisis, participating in amphibious exercises in Georgia designed to display US commitment.
With the deployment of the 1st Armored Division back to Germany in 1971, the 2nd Brigade took up Postions in northeast Bavaria. For the next two decades, it remained a key deterrent force against the Communist Bloc threat. On 16 August 1985, the 2nd Brigade took the name "The Iron Brigade." This historical commemoration brought together the legendary fighting spirit of certain Civil War units with the honor and distinctive service record of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division. By the end of the Cold War, new threats challenged the world and the Iron Brigade was once again part of our nations response.
During the Febuary 1991 blitz of Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf conflict, the Iron Brigade took on the toughest of the Iraqi forces. In 89 hours, the 2nd Brigade soldiers defeated the enemy at Al Busayyah, Al Rumaylah Airfield, and Medina Ridge. In post hostility operations, the Iron Brigade provided humanitarian aid to the war torn region.
In May 1995, the Iron Brigade was called upon to monitor and enforce the peace within the Balkans. Task Force 3-12th Infantry conducted Task Force Able Sentry peace keeping operations within Macedonia from May to November 1995, and returned for a second time from October 1997 to March 1998. In October 1995, the 2nd Brigade was alerted for peace enforcement duty in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team (not to be confused with the modular Brigade Combat Team) deployed to the southern sector of Task Force Eagle from December 1995 to December 1996. The Brigade separated the warring factions and compelled Bosnian Seb, Muslim, and Croat compliance with the historic Dayton Peace Accords. Successful Brigade operations spanned the Central Region, from Hungary to the Balkans.
In February 1998, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team was once again called to duty to serve in the Bosnia-Herzovina region as part of Operations Joint Guard and Forge. The Brigade ensured that the Dayton Peace Accord was upheld through October 1998. The 2nd Brigade deployed to Albania in March 1999 to support Task Force Hawk during the air campaign against Serbia. The Brigade ensured stability in the region and security for Allied ground and air assets. In June 1999, the Brigade sent a Company Team forward with elements of the 82nd Airborne Division into Kosovo during Task Force Falcon.
The 1st Armored Division began the year 2000 with a bang as the 1st Brigade Combat Team blasted its way through the rolling fog of Grafenwoehr Training Area in a challenging January gunnery. 2nd Brigade struck hard in validating the Immediate Reaction Force in a frosty-February exercise designed to deploy a highly effective battalion-sized force anywhere in the European Command's theater of operations within 48 hours.
2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division also blistered through a July 2001 gunnery. 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division's preparation for Kosovo became fully realized during Mountain Guardian IV in Ocotober 2001. Lessons learned in Kosovo were applied to make this the most challenging and exciting MRE ever. The 2nd Brigade began deploying at the end of November 2001 and officially took command of Task Force Falcon on 18 December 2001.
In the late 2000s, the 1st Armored Division was a whole began transformation to the US Army's new modular force structure, as well as preparing to depart Germany and returning to the United States. As part of this restructuring, various elements that had previously been held at division level, but habitually attached to the brigades were made organic to the new modular Brigade Combat Teams. In July 2009, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division was inactivated and its personnel reflagged as the 170th Heavy Brigade Combat Team. It subsequently was reactivated at Fort Bliss, Texas. When the reorganized 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division was reactivated, it had gained the 47th Brigade Support Battalion (previously the 47th Forward Support Battalion) and the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery. It had also gained a cavalry squadron. Initially this was 1st Squadron, 13th Cavalry, but later was reflagged as 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry. It also retained the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry and 1st Battalion, 35th Armor that had been assigned to the Brigade before the modular transformation.
In 2010, the 5th Brigade, 1st Armored Division was inactivated. This unit had previously been designated as the US Army's Evaluation Task Force (AETF). The Department of the Army redesignated the Army Capabilities Integration Center's Future Force Integration Directorate, to which 5/1st Armored had been assigned, as the Brigade Modernization Command (BMC) on 7 February 2011. As part of this change, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division was assigned the AETF mission and assigned to BMC.
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