Staff Sgt. Thomas G. Collins
500th Military Intelligence Brigade Public Affairs
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — As 2015 comes to a close, members of the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade note the many tasks completed and look to the relationships that have been cultivated, transformations that have taken place, and the excellence that has been achieved.
Throughout the year, the brigade fostered productive relationships and partnerships by visiting and hosting military members from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.
In March, Col. Patrick J. Wempe, commander, 500th MI Bde., and Australian army Brigadier Gavan Reynolds, commander, 6th Combat Support Bde., signed a bilateral training and international engagement plan in Sydney, Australia, to improve interoperability and allow for the leveraging of capabilities inherent to both organizations.
Soldiers with the 205th and 715th MI battalions also traveled to Australia to highlight the capabilities of the Distributed Common Ground System-Army, an intelligence weapons system that will replace the Army’s multiple intelligence ground processing systems currently in the field.
By continuing to collaborate and build relationships with its allies, the brigade strengthened the security in the Pacific theater and the nation as a whole.
At the beginning of 2015, the 500th MI began a transformation process that, once completed, will leave the brigade more streamlined and adaptable in order to provide continuous, multidisciplined intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations to support commanders with timely, predictive and actionable intelligence.
Comprised of five brigades at the start of the year, the brigade transferred authority and command of the 15th MI Bn. (Aerial) to the 116th MI Bde. This transfer grounds the brigade in the Pacific theater and reallocates necessary resources to other theaters across the Army.
Brigade command teams came together twice to discuss how the 500th should restructure itself while continuing its mission and preparing for future uncertainty.
A further transformation came in April, when the brigade prepared to move its headquarters from Quad A to the South Range complex. The new facility allowed the brigade to house scattered elements under one roof.
December marked the end of the move as the brigade dedicated its new headquarters building to the late retired Col. Harry K. Fukuhara, a Military Intelligence Hall of Fame inductee and a key figure in the brigade’s history. Fukuhara was instrumental in re-establishing relationships with post-World War II Japan.
During the dedication, Wempe said that everyone in the brigade “truly walks in the footsteps of giants.” The Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and contractors who are part of the brigade fill those shoes with outstanding accomplishments, he said.
Encompassing that statement, the 301st MI Bn. was recognized with the Army Award for Maintenance Excellence due to its outstanding maintenance practices and leader competencies.
Continuing a culture of excellence, the brigade was recognized as having the Dept. of Defense’s Command Language Program of the year. Moreover, the brigade’s command language program not only maintains linguists at a high level of competency and skill, it also has produced the 2015 U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command’s Linguist of the Year.
So, as 2015 closes, the 500th MI Bde. looks forward to the new year and will continue to strive for excellence, cultivate relationships and embrace future transformations.