Story by SSG Shameeka Stanley on 01/07/2019SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HAWAII 2018 has been another remarkable year for the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade-Theater (MIB-T). The brigade's combined multi-discipline intelligence capabilities and interoperability has consistently strengthened its partnerships with U.S. allies throughout the Pacific Theater.
Most notably, Soldiers throughout the brigade have participated in more than a dozen training operations in support of U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC). The brigade also continued to deploy Military Intelligence (MI) systems to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (PACOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR) in support of "Fight Tonight" and "Set the Theater" readiness requirements, with appropriate intelligence oversight.
Readiness remains a top priority for the command. Whether it's supporting subordinate units within the brigade, training along-side a Joint Task Force or other armed forces, the 500th MIB-T is adaptable and equipped to provide commanders with the capabilities they need, using intelligence processing systems, to accomplish the mission.
The brigade hosted its annual Best Warrior competition in March. One Soldier and one Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) from each battalion competed for the title of Brigade Soldier and NCO of the year. The winners of the competition went on to Fort Belvoir, Virginia to compete against other Soldiers and NCOs throughout the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM).
March also marked a significant change in the brigade's history and legacy for the years to come. The 441st MI Battalion, located in Camp Zama, Japan, was re-designated as the 311th MI Battalion. Prior to this change, the 441st MI Battalion was provisional. Since its activation, the 311th MI Battalion is now fully operational and equipped to continue to provide support and train alongside U.S. Army Japan (USARJ) partner units, and Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) coalition partners.
Soldiers from the 301st MI Battalion, located in Phoenix, Arizona, conducted its mission readiness exercise "Panther Strike" in June. This training exercise enabled the unit to perform collective training and evaluation of its intelligence assets.
In July, the 500th MIB-T welcomed its new commander Col. David Elsen, and bid farewell to Col. William "Doug" Conner during a change of command ceremony on Weyand Field.
That same month, the brigade held its annual Language Games with competitors not only throughout the brigade, but also from the U.S. Air Force 324th Intelligence Squadron and the U.S. Marine Corps 3rd Radio Battalion. The 500th MIB-T Language Games are designed to showcase and challenge the linguists' language skills and cultural knowledge in Mandarin, Korean, and Tagalog. Participation by Joint service members further built esprit de corps and enhanced comradery through a healthy competition.
The 500th MIB-T also welcomed three new battalion command teams this year. The 205th MI Battalion bid farewell to Lt. Col. James Cogbill and welcomed Lt. Col. Wayne Prince. The 311th MI Battalion also welcomed its new command team, Lt. Col. Bradley Isler and Command Sgt. Maj. Laura Day. 715th MI Battalion bid farewell to Lt. Col. Andrew Hierstetter and Command Sgt. Maj. David Roman, and welcomed Lt. Col. Andrea Rosales and Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Crawford.
D Company, 715th MI Battalion, provided strategic intelligence assets during "Lightning Forge", an annual validation exercise conducted by 25th Infantry Division to maintain combat readiness. During the training exercise, Delta Company used a range of equipment to provide increased terrestrial-based intelligence collection and increased interoperability between 500th MIB-T strategic assets and maneuver elements.
In October, the brigade hosted a National Hispanic Heritage Month observance ceremony. Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. During this celebration, the U.S. Army commemorates and celebrates the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the nation, society and culture. This year's theme was "Hispanics: One Endless Voice to Enhance our Traditions."
A team of Soldiers assigned to the 205th MI Battalion traveled to Australia to participate in Exercise Vigilant Pacific 2018 (VP18) from Nov. 2 - 17. VP18 is a reoccurring Counterintelligence (CI) and Human Intelligence (HUMINT) exercise focused on enhancing interoperability amongst CI and HUMINT professionals from the U.S., United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, in support of combined future contingency operations within the Indo-Pacific AOR.
As the year came to a close, the 500th MIB-T command team, Col. David P. Elsen and Command Sgt. Maj. Tammy M. Everette, hosted members from the Philippine Army Intelligence Regiment during a Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) at the brigade headquarters Dec. 3 - 6. This was the last of the many SMEEs that the command team engaged in throughout the year, to foster productive partnerships with other military members in the Pacific.
As one year ends and another one begins, the 500th MIB-T looks forward to continuing accomplishing its mission, training Soldiers and fostering leaders of character and resilience.