Fort Drum SIGINT unit wins best in Army award
May 24, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The Signals Intelligence Platoon of B Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team ("Spartans"), 10th Mountain Division (LI), operating with an embedded National Cryptologic Support Team, distinguished themselves by being selected from other nominees across the Army to earn the prestigious Director's Trophy, while providing critical signals intelligence support during the brigade's deployment to Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
The Director's Trophy is awarded annually by the director of the National Security Agency to the Army signals intelligence unit or element judged to have made the most outstanding contributions to the mission during the preceding calendar year. The Director's Trophy is the most prominent award that is given to a SIGINT unit.
Signals intelligence units throughout Afghanistan are crucial assets, often helping commanders in theater and even worldwide acquire information from terrorist groups and their safe havens.
"The amount of intelligence coming from units in the field is truly awe-inspiring," said Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, upon announcing the trophy winners.
While all of the Army's signals intelligence capabilities, personnel and units played a vital role in supporting numerous intelligence missions throughout the theater, the Spartan Brigade's SIGINT Platoon excelled at often unique and innovative missions supporting ground forces, while simultaneously meeting national information needs for governmental intelligence agencies.
The platoon, led by Capt. John Rajch, brigade electronic warfare support officer, and 1st Lt. Jordan Hinkle, platoon leader, provided continuous signals intelligence support to the brigade, while developing target and collection methods to meet all of the brigade's priority intelligence requirements. These innovations garnered the attention of leaders at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., which is now testing and automating the targeting methods used by the Spartan SIGINT Platoon.
Every Soldier in the platoon contributed to the success of the unit, whether it was training and equipping troops, manning two Prophet teams and two Low Level Voice Intercept teams, deriving threat financing products, and providing timely and accurate threat warnings during numerous air-assault operations. The platoon's actions contributed directly to the increase of security in the area, which allowed the brigade to focus its operations in other areas.
"The key to our success was that no matter how difficult it got for the intelligence Soldiers, we never forgot the men and women we served with throughout the Spartans' area of operations," said Rajch upon accepting the trophy. "(That) drove us to innovate and devise new methods of using existing technology to help them target and eliminate a diverse and savvy enemy."
The Spartan Signals Intelligence Platoon's achievements also were successful thanks to the support provided by every member of Cryptologic Support Team 22 and Fort Drum's Project Foundry. Their continuous support to the unit forward was far above and beyond their duties and proved incredibly vital to the Spartans' mission.
(3rd Brigade Combat Team)