Colonel Lou Kangas is a native of LaGrange, New York, and graduated from the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry.
Colonel Kangas was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, as a Rifle Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer. Upon deployment in March 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom I, he served as a Company Executive Officer during the initial invasion of Iraq as part of the 101st Airborne Division and later as a Battalion Logistics Officer in Mosul, Iraq.
After completing the Maneuver Captains Career Course, Colonel Kangas returned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to command Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, where he deployed to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. After command, he was selected for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Internship. He served in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff, Plans and Policy Directorate, working on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy and later Capitol Hill, Washington D.C., as a legislative liaison for the United States Army.
Colonel Kangas was assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, where he deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, as part of the ISAF Joint Command Commander's Initiatives Group. Upon return from deployment, he continued in the I Corps Commander's Initiatives Group, working on issues related to the rebalance to the Pacific. His follow-on assignments included Battalion Executive Officer and Battalion Operations Officer, where he deployed on the first Pacific Pathways. He then served as the Brigade Operations Officer of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Colonel Kangas was then assigned to United States Army, Pacific, where he served as a planner and later Aide-de-camp to the Commanding General at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Colonel Kangas commanded the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, where he deployed to Pacific Pathways. Following Battalion Command, he was assigned to the Pentagon as a Military Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Colonel Kangas' civilian education includes a Bachelor of Science in Economics from USMA and a Master's in Policy Management from Georgetown University. He completed an Army War College Fellowship at the Near East South Asia Center for Security Studies located at the National Defense University. His military education includes the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Ranger School, Airborne School, Air Assault School, Jungle School, Maneuver Captain's Career Course, Command and General Staff Officer's College, and the Joint and Combined Warfighting School. His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star with 2 OLC, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with 4 OLC, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with 2 OLC, Army Achievement Medal, NATO Service Medal, Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals, Office of the Secretary of Defense Badge, Joint Staff Identification Badge, Army Staff Identification Badge, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge.