500th MI Bde welcomes home 205th MI Bn MFT
1st Lt. Sean Pezzini, left, and fellow Soldiers of the Multi-Functional Team 2051, 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade, are welcomed home at a ceremony at Takata Field, Fort Shafter, June 15

FORTAca,!E+SHAFTER, Hi. - Twelve Soldiers from the 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade, were welcomed home at a ceremony on Takata Field, here, June 15.

The Soldiers, who were deployed to Afghanistan for a year, operated on a multi-functional team, or MFT, providing intelligence support to the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

MFT 2051 was formed from two battalions and three different companies in February 2009 in response to a request for forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The MFT supported the 5th SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div., during the critical surge of forces in response to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

Leaving Hawaii in July 2009, the team traveled to Kuwait and then on to its assignment in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

During its tour, the MFT performed various tactical human intelligence, also known as HUMINT, and counter-intelligence support missions, as well as low level voice intercept missions.

The team's success in frequently less-than-ideal conditions was recognized during the welcome home ceremony.

"A rapid train-up, new equipment, changes in personnel at the last minute before deploying and once in theater you were split up, receiving constantly changing missions and locations, and you adapted and overcame as American Soldiers do," said Lt. Col. Timothy Parker, commander, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde.

"In your hearts, you know you served honorably and well, and we are one step closer in this war because of your efforts," Parker said.

One of the difficulties of being attached as an intelligence team was that there was never a tasking for all 12 team members to conduct an operation together; the team was continually split up.

"Keeping track of my guys was a huge challenge when we were so spread out, and I was living in poppy fields with no electricity, except for what I could get from the Strykers," said 1st Lt. Sean Pezzini, MFT officer in charge. "We made it work, though.

"You keep going because you have to. There's no going back, and no going home early, unless something bad has happened," Pezzini added. "You just do what you have to do. Everyone keeps him or herself going in their own way."

The MFT participated in four major offensive operations, including Operations Treadstone, Laconia, Las Cruces and Longview. During these operations, the team provided critical assessments of 18 villages in the region vital to the 5th SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div., mission.

Additionally, the team provided support to Task Force Stryker during Operation Focus Hold, detailing Taliban influence and operations in the Zabul Province.

The MFT also provided support to the force protection mission at Kandahar Airfield by conducting HUMINT operations at one of the entry control points. The team's efforts helped expose enemy corruption networks and illegal checkpoint activity.

"(The MFT) did a heck of a job, and it was an honor to have them on our team," Lt. Col. Patrick Gaydon, commander, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 5th SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div., wrote in an e-mail.

Gaydon said that the team continually exceeded his expectations and did so, in several instances, under hostile enemy fire.

(Note: Maj. Mark Reardanz, executive officer, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., contributed to this story.)

Page last updated Fri June 25th, 2010 at 19:19