By Sgt. Melissa N. Lessard, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade Public Affairs

(FORT HOOD, Texas, March 24, 2019)-During the past several weeks the 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion conducted a multi-intelligence certification exercise at Camp Bullis, Texas.

Soldiers convoyed via air and military vehicle, then spent many hours a day during the past two weeks conducting intelligence missions. The final product lasted two days where each company conducted a mission and were followed by OC's to be evaluated.

"So, the CERTEX, Operation Blue Apex, is a culmination of the last two and a half months of training," said Lt. Col. David Bowers, the 163rd MI BN commander. "It started with individual training, then moved into collective crew training. Last week the companies certified each of their platforms for each of their intelligence disciplines. Then we bring it all together for Operation Blue Apex."

Soldiers were evaluated on all aspects from the beginning of the mission to the end. They convoyed to a village where they conducted human intelligence, counter intelligence, and signals intelligence operations.

"Specifically, what we do is we have multi-disciplined intelligence teams go through the full mission profile," said Bowers. "Starting with the planning phase, preparing, roc drills, rehearsals, and then the execution phase."

Sgt. Bryan Gamez, B Company, 163rd MI BN, participated in the certification process. He said that the event went well and helped him, and his team prepare for situations they would not expect. They pushed their communication level further and he is also more confident in his abilities to operate equipment.

During the certification Gamez and his fellow Soldiers took fire, responded to injured Soldiers and civilians, and collected intelligence as well as weapons from the enemy.

Bowers said the outcome of the event is giving a good assessment of the formation. It shows what they are doing well at and where the shortfalls are.

"The most important thing is the assessment and being able to build an additional training plan and apply it to whatever our shortfalls are as we move forward..."

At the end of the day, leaders and teams reported that they were very impressed with how adaptive their Soldiers were to highly likely situations.