The 181st Infantry Brigade is an infantry brigade of the United States Army based at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. As an Active Component/Reserve Component (AC/RC) brigade, the unit serves primarily in a training role for other units of the US armed forces. The brigade is subordinate to the First United States Army, headquartered at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. It has six prime components.
The unit is responsible for training selected United States Army Reserve and Army National Guard units in the Central-Northern United States. The unit was formerly designated as 2nd Brigade, 85th Division. The brigade was redesignated and re-missioned several times: such as in 1999, when the 181st was merged with the 2nd Brigade, 85th Division and carried that name and lineage. The 181st Infantry Brigade currently falls under the 1st Army's Division West, headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas.
During World War I, the 181st Infantry Brigade was constituted 5 August 1917 in the National Army at Camp Lewis, Washington as a subordinate unit of the 91st Infantry Division. The Brigade was composed of 8,134 personnel organized in a Headquarters Detachment with 5 Officers and 18 Enlisted Soldiers, the 361st and 362nd Infantry Regiments each with 3,755 Officers and Enlisted Soldiers, and the 347th Machine Gun Battalion with 581 Officers and Enlisted Soldiers. The 181st Infantry Brigade trained for 10 months at Camp Lewis prior to being deployed to France in August 1918. After the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and the liberation of France, the Brigade was sent to assist the British with quelling the German Army’s final gasps at Ypres-Lys until the signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918, which ended World War I. After four months of peacekeeping operations in liberated Belgium, the Brigade returned to the United States and arrived at the port of New York on 2 April 1919 on the U.S.S. Orizaba.
The Brigade was transferred on 2 April 1919 to Camp Merritt, New Jersey. It proceeded to Camp Kearny, California, where it was demobilized on 19 April 1919. The Brigade was reconstituted in the Organized Reserve on 24 June 1921, still assigned to the 91st Division, and allotted to the Ninth Corps Area. The Brigade was redesignated Headquarters & Headquarters Company (HHC), 181st Brigade on 23 March 1925 and again redesignated HHC, 181st Infantry Brigade on 24 August 1936. The unit conducted summer training most years at Del Monte, California, from 1922–40. Subordinate regiments conducted training for the Citizens Military Training Camp (CMTC) at the Presidio of San Francisco, the Presidio of Monterey and at Del Monte; often with assistance from the 30th Infantry Regiment.
The 91st Reconnaissance Troop participated in the Rome-Arno (22 Jan 44 - 9 Sep 44), North Apennines (10 Sep 44 - 4 April 45), and Po Valley (5 Apr 45 - 8 May 45) campaigns. In July 1944, during the Arno Campaign of the Second World War, the 91st Reconnaissance Troop spearheaded Task Force Williamson under the command of Brigadier General E.S. Williamson, Assistant Division Commander for the 91st Division. The 2nd Platoon of the 91st Reconnaissance Troop and the 1st Battalion, 363rd Infantry were the first to enter Leghorn (Livorno) on its way to liberating Pisa.The Troops was composed of:
Enlisted Soldiers: 149
M8 Greyhound: 13
M3 Half-track: 5
1/4 Ton Jeep: 24
M3 submachine gun: 30
M1 carbine: 99
M1 Garand: 26
M2 Browning: 3
M1919 Browning machine gun: 13
M9 Rocket Launcher: 5
M2 mortar: 9
After VE day, the Brigade was deactivated and reconstituted several times through 1945 as a headquarters and headquarters company and a reconnaissance troop. It was reactivated in 1947 as a mechanized cavalry reconnaissance troop; redesignated in 1949 as the 91st Reconnaissance Company and reconstituted in 1963 as a headquarters and headquarters company.
The 181st Infantry Brigade was reactivated at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin in December 2006, the brigade trains soldiers, sailors and airmen to support contingency operations in the Global War on Terror.
* Description: On a background equally divided horizontally white and red, 3¼ inches high and 2½ inches wide at base and 2⅛ inches wide at top, a black block letter "A", 2¾ inches high, 2 inches wide at base and 1⅝ inches wide at top, all members 7/16 inch wide, all enclosed within a 1/8 inch Army Green border.Symbolism:
- The red and white of the background are the colors used in flags for Armies.
- The letter "A" represents "Army" and is also the first letter of the alphabet suggesting "First Army."
- A black letter "A" was approved as the authorized insignia by the Commanding General, American Expedition Force, on 16 November 1918 and approved by the War Department on 5 May 1922.
- The background was added on 17 November 1950.
* Description/Blazon: A Silver color metal and enamel device 1 1/8 inches (2.86 cm) in height overall blazoned as follows: Per bend Argent and Azure, in chief a clevis (key) bendwise Or, wards upward and inward and on a base of the first, a rifle, muzzle upward and a saber, grip to base in saltire of the third. Attached below the device a red scroll inscribed "DOCERE BELLUM ET PAX PACIS" in Silver.Symbolism: The diagonal separation of colors denotes a line not crossed. The clevis (key) symbolizes the unit's long history and knowledge as being a key to winning the battle. The crossed rifle and saber allude to the Brigade's mission during World War II as the 91st Reconnaissance Cavalry Company. The motto translates to "To Win War and Peace."
Background: The distinctive unit insignia was approved on 14 August 2007.