Lightning Storm trains leaders, increases intelligence through shared knowledge

By Katie GloverSeptember 22, 2020

Lightning Stakes
The first annual ‘Lightning Stakes’ competition took place on Sept. 15, where seven teams of leaders worked together on mental and physical challenges. Here, a team runs up a hill in the unit’s footprint. (Photo Credit: 307th Military Intelligence Battalion) VIEW ORIGINAL

VICENZA, Italy -- The 207th Military Intelligence Brigade (Theater), held a training event here Sept. 14-18, balancing current topics in military intelligence and the Army with recognition events and team building exercises.

Lightning Storm brought in leadership from across the brigade, including the 307th Military Intelligence Battalion, the 522nd Military Intelligence Battalion and the brigade’s headquarters.

Col. Bryan Love, the brigade's commander, started off the week speaking with leadership on the state of the brigade, and setting the climate for the week’s events.

"It's about the team - whether you’re a team is a two-person team or whether your team is over 500 individuals, it's about the team,” Love said about the importance of the

event in an Armed Forces Network Vicenza interview. “Without the team we aren't able to accomplish the mission, we aren't able to support USARAF and AFRICOM, and most importantly, we aren't able to support each other.”

The week continued with briefings on mission command, capabilities and intelligence, and included recognitions of Soldiers and Family members whose service expands above the call of duty.

Included in this were volunteer-of-the-year awards for community support, Golden Rose awards for family support of the Military Intelligence community, Knowlton Awards, recognizing Soldier support of the MI community, and multiple Army awards.

“It's important to recognize our volunteers for the time and talent they dedicate to our community,” said Lisa Rosen, the Army Volunteer Corps program manager at U.S. Army Garrison Italy, who attended one of three ceremonies held during the week. “Our volunteers are truly the heart of our community and we appreciate all of their efforts.”

The week also focused on team building, with the first annual Lightning Stakes held Sept. 15. In total, seven teams competed in events that focused on mental and physical endurance to solve multiple challenges.

The Knowlton Award
Recognition of team members who serve above the call of service is a key component of Lightning Storm. Here, awardees of the Military Intelligence Regimental Association’s Knowlton Award are recognized for outstanding support during the unit’s dining in. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

“The Lightning Stakes event not only built camaraderie across the brigade through shared suffering, but reinforced the brigade’s culture of fitness, teamwork, and feeling ‘comfortable being uncomfortable,’” said Lt. Col. Jesse Chace, commander of 307thMilitary Intelligence Battalion.

The culminating event was a dining in, which focused on building esprit de corps, and importance of Army tradition.

“It's important to know where you came from and also try to achieve at the same levels of excellence and carry on that tradition,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Austin, the 207th MIB-T command sergeant major in an AFN interview. “We are really excited about building the esprit de corps based around both the history of the army and the unit during this event.”

The Lightning Brigade, as the 207th is known, conducts intelligence missions in support of U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The unit includes a headquarters and headquarters company, 207th Military Intelligence Brigade (Theater) and 307th Military Intelligence Battalion, both located in Vicenza, Italy, 522nd Military Intelligence Battalion, headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany and 337th Military Intelligence Battalion, headquartered in Fort Sheridan, Illinois.