By Gregory Ripps, 470th Military Intelligence Brigade writer-editorMay 28, 2013
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-Fort Sam Houston -- Even while the 14th Military Intelligence Battalion has been preparing for its inactivation on June 14, it has also maintained a full schedule in helping to train other intelligence units over the last few months.
Soldiers of the 14th MI Battalion, who call themselves "Vipers," have been assisting other members of the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade at Camp Bullis, Texas, in readying other Soldiers to conduct intelligence operations when they deploy overseas.
"Because our Soldiers spent the previous year deployed in Afghanistan, they are valuable assets as observers/controllers and in mentorship roles for the various units training at the facility," explained Maj. Douglas Zimmerman, 14th MI Battalion executive officer. "Units such as the 338th MI Battalion and the 163rd MI Battalion have greatly benefitted from the lessons that the 14th MI Battalion Soldiers learned in real-world operations."
Besides serving as observers/controllers and mentors, 14th MI Battalion Soldiers led after-action report sessions, ensuring feedback and coverage of all relevant topics, and served as liaison among the various training elements.
"The mission to support the IDTF was a great opportunity for the Soldiers of the 14th MI Battalion to use their knowledge and experience," said Zimmerman, whose battalion supported Operation Enduring Freedom from October 2011 to October 2012. "As the operational situation changes in Afghanistan, utilizing experienced [Soldiers] to prepare upcoming generations of collectors will pay great dividends in the future."
Five-member mobile training teams from the 14th MI Battalion also assisted the 338th MI Battalion by journeying to Shoreham, N.Y., where the Reserve unit's A Company is located, and Lawrence, Kans., where its B Company is located, to provide two days of pre-deployment briefings. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Michael Knight, an all-source intelligence technician with A Company, said that they covered topics ranging from daily battle rhythm to mission requirements to quality of life and that they painted a picture of what is to come for members of the 338th when they deploy.
"The briefings provided critical information regarding the upcoming deployment," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Roe, also of Company A. "The presentations not only motivated everyone in attendance, but the level of detail that was included also significantly reduced the stress and anxiety of many of the 338th's Soldiers, especially those who have never deployed."
The latest interaction between the 14th and the 338th MI Battalions took the form of staff training in the 470th MI Brigade's headquarters building on Fort Sam Houston. Staff members of the two battalions spent a week networking with their counterparts as well as attending group sessions.
"When we're one on one, we're able to get into specifics," said 1st Lt. Michael Stewart, 338th MI Battalion S4 (logistics officer). "Learning from others [who have deployed] will help us with the success of our mission."
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Armin Omic, who led one of the training teams, noted that the 14th MI Battalion has been providing training support even while the number of its Soldiers has shrunk. However, the battalion has been pushing harder than ever to assist its sister units with all assets available.
"Although the 14th is near inactivation, it still has venom," said Omic. "Vipers extinct? Not just yet."