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163rd Military Intelligence Battalion (Collection)
163rd Military Intelligence Battalion (Tactical Exploitation)
"Blue Watch"

The mission of the 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion, "Blue Watch," is to, on order, deploys and conduct human intelligence (HUMINT), ground-based signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection, tactical site exploitation, and force protection operations in support of a Joint Task Force Commander.

The 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion was first constituted on 5 April 1945 as the 163rd Language Detachment and was activated on 23 April 1945 on Luzon in the Philippine Islands. There it served as part of American Forces under General Douglas MacArthur, as they liberated the archipelago from the Japanese.

On 25 September 1949, the unit was reorganized and redesignated as the 163rd Military Intelligence Service Detachment. It was allotted on 19 December 1950 to the Regular Army. 9 months later, the North Korean People's Army launched a surprise attack across the 38th parallel, signalling the start of the Korean War. The Detachment served throughout the conflict, including from within the Pusan Perimeter, during the counterattack to the Yalu River, the subsequent retreat, and the resulting stalemate along the 38th parallel. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 1 September 1952 as the 163rd Military Intelligence Service Platoon. It was reorganized and redesignated again on 28 March 1954 as the 163rd Military Intelligence Platoon, before being inactivated on 15 November 1954 in Korea.

The unit was reactivated on 26 December 1955 in Livorno, Italy. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 20 September 1957 as the 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion and inactivated on 25 April 1964 in Italy.

The Battalion was redesignated on 1 October 1969 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion, and activated at Fort Hood, Texas, with Company A concurrently constituted and activated. Company A was reorganized and redesignated on 21 April 1978 as Company B. The 529th Military Intelligence Company (Interrogation) with concurrently reorganized and redesignated as Company A. The 529th Military Intelligence Company had been first constituted on 14 July 1945 in the Army of the United States as the 255th Interrogation Prisoner of War Team and activated in Germany and inactivated there on 30 November 1946. It was redesignated on 1 October 1948 as the 529th Interrogation Team and allotted to the Regular Army. It was activated on 15 October 1948 at Fort Riley, Kansas and inactivated on 10 February 1949 at Fort Riley, Kansas. it was redesignated on 17 March 1965 as the 529th Military Intelligence Company and activated on 19 March 1965 at Fort Hood, Texas, before being redesignated as an element of the 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion

During the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the Battalion performed a myriad of missions in support of the US Army, US Army Military Intelligence, and III Corps. It provided support to every echelon through intelligence during both critical and standard training events, real world deployment augmentation, and the foundation blocks for the world class Opposing Forces (OPFOR) at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California. The Battalion was inactivated on 15 September 1997 at Fort Hood, Texas.

On 16 January 2006, the Battalion was reactivated as part of the transformation of the US Army to the modular force structure. The 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion served as the Army model for future military intelligence battalions set to activate and provided commanders with integrated intelligence assets that would allow them to know the enemy through SIGINT, counter-intelligence (CI), and HUMINT. The transformed battalion served as the first step toward the 504th Military Intelligence Brigade's transformation to a Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.

On 11 August 2006, the Battalion deploted to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08. There the 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion supported III Corps and its subordinate formations by conducting HUMINT collection and ground surveillance operations in order to support kinetic and non-kinetic operations through the theater of operations. The Battalion was also tasked to provide HUMINT collection teams in support of Operation Enduring Freedom elsewhere during the deployment.

On 17 October 2006, the Battalion reorganized and recieved 2 Long Range Surveillance Datachments as part of the transformation of the 504th Military Intelligence Brigade. These Detachments were activated at Fort Hood, Texas and were immediately scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 08-10. On 29 October 2007, the Battalion redeployed to Fort Hood, Texas from Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08.

On 18 February 2008, the Battalion was reorganized, with the 2 Long Range Surveillance Detachments removed from its control. They were reorganized becoming B Troop, 38th Cavalry Regiment. This unit as planned to become the first element of a full reconnaissance and surveillance squadron, an element of the transformation of the 504th Military Intelligence Brigade. B/38th Cavalry remained attached to the Battalion while in garrison. The Battalion also readied itself during the same period for a rotation to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom 09-11.

On 10 November 2008, for the second time in only 12 months, the Battalion deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 09-11. On 2 November 2009, the Battalion redeployed to Fort Hood, Texas.




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