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1st Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Exploitation)
"The Flying Eye Battalion"

In January 2008, after the inactivation of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Explotation) was reassigned to the 66th Military Intelligence Group (later redesignated as the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade). The mission of the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Exploitation) had previously been to conduct aerial signals intelligence operations in support of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade and V Corps, and rapidly deploy tailored intelligence packages to support stability and conventional operations. B Company, the aerial electronic warfare company, provided signals intelligence collection, analysis, processing and reporting using Guardrail systems. The Headquarters, Headquarters and Service Company provided command and control of assigned and attached elements. It also provided consolidated logistics support for the battalion.

The 1st Military Intelligence Battalion traces its history to the period of rapid expansion of U.S. Army Aviation. The 1st Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Explotation) was first constituted on 14 December 1956 in the Regular Army as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 1st Air Reconnaissance Support Battalion. The unit was activated on 1 February 1957 at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

The 205th Signal Company was reorganized and redesignated 1 May 1959 as Company A, 1st Air Reconnaissance Support Battalion. The 205th Signal Company had been first constituted on 24 January 1945 in the Army of the United States as the 205th Signal Repair Company and activated on 1 February 1945 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. It was allotted on 16 May 1949 to the Regular Army and reorganized and redesignated on 15 April 1954 as the 205th Signal Company. The unit was inactivated 28 May 1955 in Korea. It was reactivated on 1 February 1956 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before becoming part of the 1st Air Reconnaissance Support Battalion in 1959.

196th Aerial Photo Interpretation Detachment was redesignated on 15 April 1959 as Company B, , 1st Air Reconnaissance Support Battalion and allotted to the Regular Army. The 196th Aerial Photo Interpretation Detachment was first constituted on 16 June 1945 in the Army of the United States as the 196th Photo Interpreter Team and activated on 10 July 1945 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. It was reorganized and redesignated on 18 May 1950 as the 196th Aerial Photo Interpretation Detachment and inactivated on 15 November 1953 at Governors Island, New York. The unit was reactivated on 1 May 1959 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before becoming part of the 1st Air Reconnaissance Support Battalion in 1959, being formally activated on 1 May 1959 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The Battalion was converted and redesignated on 20 March 1962 as the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion. It was subsequently deployed to the Republic of Vietnam on 1 December 1965 and was in continuous combat service until 30 April 1972. During this time, the unit received 5 Meritorious Unit Citations and the Presidential Unit Citation.

The Battalion was inactivated on 15 July 1982 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The 1st Military Intelligence Battalion began a phased reactivation in 1983 in an attached status to VII Corps. The Battalion was formally activated on 16 January 1984 in Germany. Its separate companies moved from VII to V Corps between 1983 and 1986. The 1st Military Intelligence Battalion became V Corps' Aerial Exploitation Battalion on 16 June 1986.

On 15 January 1991, elements of the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion deployed to southwest Asia as part of the multinational force conducting first Operation Desert Shield and subsequently Operation Desert Storm, returning on 10 April 1991.

The unit received the Army Superior Unit Award for its support to Operation Joint Endeavor in December 1995, as part of Task Force Eagle to Taszar, Hungary. There it began flying missions over Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina only 3 days after arriving.

In March 1999, the Battalion redeployed its operational elements from Hungary to Italy in support of Operation Allied Force. In December 1999, the Battalion once again reconfigured itself by redeploying the Integrated Processing Facility (IPF) back to Mainz-Finthen, Germany. 1st Military Intelligence Battalion continued to support Task Force Falcon in Operation Joint Guardian until February 2003. There it received its second Army Superior Unit Award.

On 17 August 2003, elements of the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion deployed again to southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, returning on 3 August 2004 to their home station at Wiesbaden Army Airfield in Germany.

On 4 June 2005, elements of the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion returned once more to southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They redeployed back to Wiesbaden on 29 May 2006. For combat service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation.

As of 2007, the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion was conducting Capabilities Based Rotations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In January 2008, the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade was inactivated as part of the draw down of US forces in Eurooe. As a result, the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Explotation) was reassigned to the 66th Military Intelligence Group (later redesignated as the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade).




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