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Military

New 902nd MI complex dedicated at ribbon cutting

April 26, 2012

By Tina Miles

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (April 26, 2012) -- The 902nd Military Intelligence Group conducted a ribbon cutting ceremony and building dedication for its new headquarters and Army Counterintelligence Center complex on April 19.

The new headquarters, named after and dedicated to Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ann M. McDonough, was a project planned for several years that finally broke ground in April 2008.

The complex replaces the 902nd MI's previous headquarters destroyed by fire in 2006.

After a process that solicited input from the entire 902nd MI, the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command historian and the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence historian, it was decided to name the new building after McDonough, who is considered a legend in the counterintelligence community.

"Ann would be most grateful for this honor," said her nephew Thomas McDonough, guest speaker for the event.

In addition to the eight family members who attended the dedication, distinguished guests included Air Force Maj. Gen. Jim Keffer, deputy chief, Central Security Service, National Security Agency; Gerri Turnbow, director, Army G2; fellow command teams from the Intelligence and Security Command, Fort Meade and intelligence community; and senior staff from Army G2 and Army Intelligence and Security Command.

Also in attendance were congressional staffers from the offices of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland's 1st Congressional District, Sen. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland's 2nd Congressional District and Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland's 3rd Congressional District.

During his speech, McDonough recounted his aunt's service, which started in World War II as an air raid warden in Waterbury, Conn.

"I have heard many stories of those times about my determined, strong-willed aunt banging on doors in her neighborhood that had left their shades up," he said.

Ann McDonough began her career in 1942, when she entered the civil service and later joined the Women's Army Corps. She broke the gender barrier several times during her career, as the first woman assigned to the Counterintelligence Corps and the first female enlisted student in the Counterintelligence Corps Basic Agents Course.

She was also the first female special agent assigned overseas when she served in the 66th Military Intelligence Group, and later became the first woman to attend the Polygraph School.

"My aunt's accomplishments in her distinguished military career were a result of her ability and her belief that she could do whatever she set her mind to," McDonough said. "Being first in her field was merely another challenge, not a permanent obstruction."

This year, the Military Intelligence Branch celebrates its 50th anniversary and the Military Intelligence Corps celebrates its 25th anniversary.

"I am proud to say the 902nd MI Group is starting the next chapter of our rich MI history this same year as we move into McDonough Hall," said Col. Andrea Thompson, commander, 902nd MI Group, in her speech during the ceremony. "This headquarters represents not only the legacy of the 902nd, but perhaps more so, the future of the 902nd."

Harold Payne, production manager, Army Counterintelligence Center, also spoke. A Department of the Army civilian within the 902nd MI, Payne is a retired lieutenant colonel who also served in the 902nd during his military career.

"This is more than just a pretty brick building. ... Today, for the first time since its inception, the members of the Army Counterintelligence Center will be located together, under one roof," Payne said. "It has always been my belief that if we could just get everybody together, the yearning for collaboration and the spirit of professionalism would be contagious."

That's the promise the CW3 Ann McDonough Hall brings to the 902nd MI -- "increased opportunities for collaboration and the success that comes from highly effective teamwork," he said.

Payne spoke passionately about the 902nd MI's legacy, bringing the audience to a standing ovation.

"As we read the proud name that watches over our guard station, we will be motivated and reminded that we are a part of a very proud legacy," he said, "charged with the responsibility of protecting the Army's classified information and technologies."



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