717th MI Battalion changes commander
July 18, 2013
Underlining its designation as "Alamo Station," the 717th Military Intelligence Battalion conducted its change of command July 10 on the grounds of the Alamo.
In the traditional passing of the colors, Lt. Col. Jay Haley succeeded Lt. Col. Joseph Kushner as commander of the 470th MI Brigade's signals intelligence (SIGINT) battalion. The brigade's commander, Col. Pierre Gervais, served as presiding officer for the ceremony.
"Lieutenant Colonel Kushner's master of mission command and ability to think asymmetrically created an agile intelligence unit," said Gervais. "Through his superb leadership, unparalleled dedication and unrelenting tenacity, he routinely and effectively identified, trained, deployed and reintegrated highly specialized individuals and small teams in direct support of special operations and conventional forces with zero loss or incident."
In describing the incoming commander, Gervais said Haley came "well prepared and exceptionally qualified for this command."
"He has served in several key and developmental positions, to include at higher-level headquarters," Gervais noted. "Most recently he served as the SIGINT officer for Army South G2 [intelligence staff] and was tasked with the revision of SIGINT policy as it applied to expansion of SIGINT military-to-military relationships with partner nations."
More than 400 Soldiers are assigned to the 717th MI Battalion, making it the largest battalion within the 470th MI Brigade, whose headquarters are located at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. The 717th MI Battalion executes its SIGINT mission at various sites but maintains its Soldiers' barracks at JBSA-Lackland's Medina Annex, where the unit operated until last year.
The unit, which traces its lineage to World War II, relocated from Vint Hill Farms Station, Va., to San Antonio as the 317th MI Battalion in 1974, at which time it requested and received permission from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, for the "Alamo Station" designation.