Cpt Jeremy Blixt, commander of D Co., 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, received the 2019 Korean War Michaelis Award at the Combined Forces Command Foundation Ceremony at Yongsan Garrison, Republic of Korea, Nov. 7, 2019.
"I felt that this award was a complete honor," said Blixt. "I've always had a respect for the ROK army ever since I heard stories from my dad about how he was able to integrate with them back in '85."
The Korean War Michaelis Award is an award from the Combined Forces Command that recognizes U.S. Forces Korea personnel who have significantly enhanced the Republic of Korea - United States alliance.
Blixt feels that he was chosen for this award because of not only his contributions in fortifying the ROK/US alliance but also the accomplishments of his father and uncle.
"My great uncle was a tank commander in the 70th Tank Battalion during the Korean War, which ironically was attached to the 1st Cavalry Division," said Blixt. "But my dad, Col. Jerry Blixt, was also stationed here as a military intelligence officer at Camp Casey in 1985 and 86."
Yet the accomplishments that Blixt has done over his career to enhance the alliance has been over three different duty stations and in multiply different manners.
"When I went to the 'Captain's Career Course,' I volunteered to be a foreign exchange sponsor," said Blixt. "It happened that, it was a ROK army officer that was attending. I was able to work with him and integrate him into the intel course there."
That was in 2016. In 2015, while Blixt was a part of 1-27 Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division when they deployed as part of Pacific Pathways. Part of that deployment landed him in South Korea, where he was the ROK/US mechanized planner during 'Operation Foal Eagle' and he was the lead on a joint pistol stress competition that used both the U.S. Beretta M9 and the Korean Daewoo K5. He also led, as a platoon leader, a joint tank gunnery that consisted of the Korean K1 Main Battle Tank and the U.S. M1128 Mobile Gun System at Rodriguez Live Fire Range Complex where they qualified over 25 crews.
"I was out here for a few months with Pacific Pathways when I was with 25th Infantry Division, where the whole time we were working jointly with the ROK Army conducting multiple gunneries and maneuvers training with them," said Brixt.
Currently, as the commander of the of the 3rd ABCT's MICO, he coordinates the only tactical signal intelligence systems on the peninsula, oversee the tactical UAV platoon in Area I, and manages the Live Environment Training program for the brigade's intel Soldiers.
"Recently we have reached out to the ROK Army Capital Mechanized Division, who are another intel unit," said Blixt. "They came down here a few weeks ago and we did an intelligence capability brief for them. Now, we are trying to expand to do actual intel training with the ROK Army, which is something that I don't think any of the other rotational units have been able to do."
The Capital Mechanized Division is not affiliated with the 2nd Infantry Division Combined ROK/US Division. Blixt said that he believed that this is some of the most intergration that the ROK unit has had with the U.S. Soldiers.
"The KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to U.S. Army) program here just had some random MOSs and they are just sitting here in human resources or the CBRN (chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear defense) shop not doing much," said Blixt. "So we validated their clearance and worked with the ROK to change their MOS to human intelligence collector or intelligence analysis. Moved them over to the brigade intelligence support element and got them actually tied into the intelligence community."
These are just a few of the noted endeavors that Blixt has been working on. Others include mobile signal intel gathering, a reduction of the time that it takes to gather intel from the UAVs and the fact that his Soldiers are filling critical intelligence positions in not only the brigade but also Eighth Army, 2nd ID and 501st Military Intelligence Bde. The products that they are creating are being seen and used by the Combined Forces Command's commander and the rest of the intelligence community. These products are helping to directly affect the security and defense of the Korean peninsula.
With such an array of experience and leadership that Blixt has offered to the ROK/US alliance, especially in the realm of trying to integrate the ROK Army intelligence community more into the U.S. intelligence community, it makes sense why his leadership felt that he was fitting for this award.
"When it comes to intel that is why I love Korea, because my Soldiers are getting real-world training and experience. Something that we couldn't do at Fort Hood," said Blixt. "With everything that I have been doing here, I am honored that my leadership thought about me and wanted to recognize me by putting me in for this award."