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525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (Airborne)
525th Military Intelligence Brigade (Airborne)
"Lightning Brigade"

The mission of the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (Airborne) is to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations to answer supported commander's information requirements. The 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade is a unique combination of military intelligence, cavalry and long range surveillance capabilities.

The 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (Airborne) was first constituted on 21 June 1944 in the Army of the United States as the 218th Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment and activated on 1 July 1944 at Fort DuPont, Delaware. The Detachment was inactivated on 15 October 1945 at Camp Campbell, Kentucky. During the Second World War, the Detachment participated in 3 campaigns: Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe.

The Detachment was redesignated on 17 September 1947 as the 249th Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment and allotted to the Organized Reserves. It was activated on 6 October 1947 at New York, New York. The Organized Reserves were redesignated on 25 March 1948 as the Organized Reserve Corps, to which the unit remained assigned. It was inactivated on 31 December 1950 at New York, New York. It was redesignated on 18 April 1952 as the 218th Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment. It was concurrently withdrawn from the Organized Reserve Corps and allotted to the Regular Army. The Detachment was activated on 30 April 1952 at Fort Holabird, Maryland. It was reorganized and redesignated on 25 January 1958 as the 218th Military Intelligence Detachment. The Detachment was inactivated on 15 September 1978 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The lineage and honors of the 218th Military Intelligence Detachment were consolidated on 16 June 1979 with that of the 525th Military Intelligence Group. The 525th Military Intelligence Group was first constituted on 18 April 1946 in the Army of the United States as the 525th Interrogation Team and activated on 1 May 1946 in Germany. The Team was inactivated on 6 November 1946 in Germany. The Team was redesignated on 6 February 1948 as the 525th Headquarters Intelligence Detachment and activated on 21 February 1948 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Detachment was allotted on 5 May 1949 to the Regular Army. The Detachment was reorganized and redesignated on 23 May 1949 as Headquarters, 525th Military Intelligence Platoon, on 4 August 1949 as the 525th Military Intelligence Service Company, on 1 December 1950 as the 525th Military Intelligence Service Group and on 31 December 1953 as the 525th Military Intelligence Group.

The 525th Military Intelligence Group subsequently deployed to Vietnam. There the Group provided advisor and intelligence support to include: aerial reconnaissance and surveillance, counterintelligence, interrogation, technical intelligence, and area intelligence. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 25 September 1969 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 525th Military Intelligence Group. After returning from Vietnam, the Group was inactivated on 6 March 1973 at Oakland, California. The 525th Military Intelligence Group had participated in 16 campaigns during the Conflict in Vietnam: Defense, Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase II, Counteroffensive Phase III, Tet Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase IV, Counteroffensive Phase V, Counteroffensive Phase VI, Tet 69/Counteroffensive, Summer-Fall 1969, Winter-Spring 1970, Sanctuary Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase VII, Consolidation I, Consolidation II, and Cease-Fire. The Group was redesignated on 1 July 1974 as the 525th Military Intelligence Group and activated at the Presidio of San Francisco, California. It was inactivated on 1 January 1978 at the Presidio of San Francisco, California, before being consolidated with the 218th Military Intelligence Detachment in 1979. The consolidated unit was redesignated as Headquarters and Operations Company, 525th Military Intelligence Group and concurrently activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, North Carolina. There it became an airborne Military Intelligence Group assigned to XVIII Corps.

The Group was reorganized and redesignated on 16 April 1982 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 525th Military Intelligence Group and again on 16 August 1985 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 525th Military Intelligence Brigade. In December 1989, the Brigade participated in a rapid deployment operation, providing critical intelligence support to Joint Task Force (JTF) during Operation Just Cause in Panama. Brigade soldiers interrogated key Panamanian Defense Force members, screened documents, and served as the nucleus of the JTF Panama J2. The soldiers who served with JTF Panama, J2, received the Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation award.

Operation Desert Shield deployments began in early August 1990. The 525th Military Intelligence Brigade sent over 1,600 soldiers in support of XVIII Corps. The Brigade also participated in the subsequent Operation Desert Storm. Missions included all source analysis to Corps Headquarters and subordinate units, interrogating over 5,000 enemy prisoners of war, flying over 550 combat intelligence collection missions, collecting signals intelligence, providing communications jamming support, conducting long range surveillance operations, and augmenting the 6th French Light Armored Division.

The Brigade deployed to Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy in 1994. The Brigade task force conducted split-based operations, which provided signals intelligence and direct support teams to the maneuver brigades. The Brigade also provided imagery support, intelligence analysis support, signals intelligence analysis, and national imagery support to the headquarters of both Joint Task Forces (JTF) 180 and 190. The task force also utilized its counter-intelligence/human intelligence teams and established and ran the joint detainee facility in support of JTF-190.

By 2000, the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade (Airborne) provided intelligence analysis and collection support to XVIII Corps. The mission of the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade was to provide rapidly deployable all-source predictive intelligence, electronic warfare intelligence, communications support, reconnaissance and surveillance, target acquisition, battle damage assessment, and command and control warfare support to the XVIII Corps in support of world-wide contingency operations. The 525th Military Intelligence Brigade (Airborne) was the only rapidly deployable Military Intelligence Brigade in the United States Army, able to deploy soldiers, along with equipment, to anywhere in the world in 18 hours.

The Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company and 2 Battalions, the 319th Military Intelligence Battalion (Operations) (Airborne) and the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion (Tactical Exploitation) (Airborne), were stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. A third, the 224th Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Exploitation), was at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. The 325th Military Intelligence Battalion, US Army Reserve, was headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut, and was "wartraced" to the Brigade.

The Brigade's capabilities included a full range of advanced intelligence analysis and intelligence collection that includes Counterintelligence, Long Range Surveillance, Aerial Signals Intelligence, and Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP). It's soldiers come from across the range of Military Occupational Specialties in the Army to include Military Intelligence disciplines, Infantry, Aviation, Signal, and the full range of critical Combat Support and Combat Service Support experts.

In 2006, the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade began its transformation into a modular Battlefield Surveillance Brigade by reorganizing its operations and tactical exploitation battalions into multifunctional intelligence collection organizations and by adding brigade signal and support companies. The 224th Military Intelligence Battalion was reassigned to the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade.

In 2008, this organization demonstrated the power of the Battlefield Surveillance Brigade concept by executing Operation Defeat Al Qaeda in the North in Iraq's Jazeera Dessert. In 2009, the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade completed its transformation into the Army's first Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, by converting its Military Intelligence Brigade headquarters into a modular headquarters capable of full spectrum operations and by activating the 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment.




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