504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade
504th Military Intelligence Brigade (Corps)
The 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, located on West Fort Hood, had the mission of deploying and conducting intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations in support of III Corps or another designated Task Force. The intelligence mission included collecting, processing, and analyzing Human Intelligence (HUMINT), Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), and conducting reconnaissance and surveillance operations.
Prior to the modular transformation, the 504th Military Intelligence Brigade had provided III Corps with ground-based and airborne SIGINT and electornic warfare (EW), close and deep HUMINT collection, and links to national and theater intelligence systems. The Brigade could provide Intelligence and Electronic Warfare (IEW) assets to subordinate commands to weight the main effort. The Corps military intelligence Brigade normally had 3 battalions: operations, tactical exploitation, and aerial exploitation.
The 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade traces its lineage to the early days of World War II. It was first constituted on 7 February 1942 in the Army of the United States as the 137th Signal Radio Intelligence Company, Aviation and was activated on 20 February 1942 at Mitchel Field, New York. It was reorganized and redesignated on 25 February 1944 as the 137th Signal Radio Intelligence Company. During the Second World War, the unit received battle streamers for 3 campaigns: Northern France, Central Europe and the Rhineland. After the Second World War the unit was inactivated on 12 December 1945 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
The unit was reorganized and redesignated a number of times in the years following World War II. The unit had a variety of missions which affiliated it, for a time, with the National Broadcasting Company and the Army Security Agency. The unit was converted and redesignated on 15 November 1948 as the 406th Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company and allotted to the Organized Reserve Corps. it was activated on 23 November 1948 at New York, New York and inactivated there on 24 October 1950.
The unit was redesignated on 17 July 1951 as the 504th Communication Reconnaissance Group. The Organized Reserve Corps as a whole was redesignated on 9 July 1952 as the Army Reserve, to which the unit became assigned. The unit was redesignated on 21 April 1955 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 504th Communication Reconnaissance Group and concurrently withdrawn from the Army Reserve and allotted to the Regular Army. It was activated on 16 May 1955 at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. The unit was redesignated on 1 July 1956 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 504th Army Security Agency Group and inactivated on 18 December 1957 at Camp Wolters, Texas.
The Group was reactivated on 1 July 1974 at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 21 April 1978 as Headquarters and Operations Company, 504th Military Intelligence Group (Corps). The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 16 April 1982 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 504th Military Intelligence Group (Corps), the Army's first corps level intelligence support unit under the Combat Electronic Warfare Intelligence (CEWI) concept.
On 16 September 1985, the unit was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade (Corps) at Fort Hood, Texas, in order to support the intelligence requirements of the III Corps. Upon redesignation, the Brigade recieved a complete Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Exploitation), thus reestablishing a long term affiliation and complimenting the intelligence efforts of the 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion (Tactical Exploitation), the 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion (Operations), and Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment (HHD). The unit activated as the 15th Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Exploitation), the "Night Hawks."
In November 2007, the Brigade became a Battlefield Surveillance Brigade as part of the transformation of the US Army to the modular force structure. With the transformation, the 15th Military Intelligence Battalion was detached from the Brigade, being reassigned to the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade. The remaining 2 military intelligence battalions assumed identical missions as intelligence collection battalions.
The Brigade also activated 3 separate companies, a Network Operations Company, the 268th Signal Company; a Forward Support Company, the 509th Support Company; and a Long Range Surveillance Troop, B Troop (Long Range Surveillance) (Airborne), 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment. This was done while restructuring the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachement into a Headquarters and Headquarters Company, expanding its missions. The 268th Signal Company (Network Operations) provided the Brigade long-range, secure communications. The 509th Support Company (Forward) provided logistic and maintenance support to the Brigade. B/38th Cavalry (LRS) (Airbrone) provided reconnaissance and surveillance to a designated Task Force. In garrison, the 268th Signal Company and 509th Support Company were attached to the 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion and B/38th Cavalry was attached to the 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion. The Brigade's transformation plan called for the reorganization and redesignation of the B/38th Cavalry as an element of a full reconnaissance and surveillance squadron, 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry.
The 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq on 2 occasions prior to 2009, including in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom OIF 06-08, and provided Soldiers in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on multiple occasions by that time. The Brigade was at the forefront of the transformation of the US Army and had some of the most state-of-the-art collection equipment.
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