USAG HUMPHREYS, South Korea – As the battalion colors passed from Col. Paul Oh, commander, 501st Military Intelligence Brigade, to Lt. Col. Octavia Scott, the brigade completed its final battalion-level change of command for the season and welcomed its newest battalion commander to the Red Dragon team on July 9, 2021.
During the 524th MI Battalion change of command ceremony, held at Collier Community Fitness Center, Lt. Col. Nathan Reed relinquished command with the traditional passing of colors to Scott with all the decorum due to the occasion.
As Oh took the podium he complimented the gathered battalion for their contribution in preserving the Korean Peninsula from foreign threats, and welcomed the guests that were watching both in person and virtually from afar.
“Today, we witness the passing of the guidon between two great leaders,” said Oh. “And we celebrate the enduring mission and the accomplishments of the premier counterintelligence / human intelligence battalion in the Army.”
Oh went on to describe how Reed took on the challenge of guiding a recently reestablished battalion and embraced the ‘Fight Tonight’ mission required to support the higher headquarters of Eighth Army and United States Forces Korea. He also elaborated on how Reed used the Arirang Sentinel exercise to establish closer ties with key Republic of Korea intelligence organizations which fostered a closer bond with their Korean Partners throughout his time in command. For all his contributions Oh thanked Reed and wished him and his family well on their next endeavor.
Oh also welcomed Scott to the brigade and informed the audience that she was joining them with both a great reputation and a great feel for the intel enterprise in Korea. Scott gained the aforementioned familiarization from serving as the Eighth Army intelligence operations chief position which will serve the battalion well.
“I look forward to serving with you and I know this formation and our ROK partners do as well,” said Oh. “There are great opportunities out there, and I know that you are the right leader to seize them.”
During his speech, Reed reflected back on his two years in command and said the word that he saw as the best representation for that time was ‘transformational.’ He expounded on some of the work that was put in to recreate the battalion after its 4-year hiatus and recent reactivation in 2017 as well as the efforts made to reestablish ties with ROK Allies and partners.
“I am both humbled and extremely proud of the accomplishments of this battalion,” said Reed. “We did this together.”
Reed and his family will move on to Fort Leavenworth, where he will teach at the pre-command course for upcoming battalion commanders.
Lt. Col. Scott started off her speech by thanking everyone that was watching her change of command ceremony both in-person or virtually, but took a moment to give a very special thanks to her mother who flew halfway around the world to be there with her that morning.
“I have to say that I am beyond grateful that God ordered my steps to this very moment,” said Scott. “Indeed I am fully aware of the honor and privilege that it is to serve the Soldiers, KATUSAs (Korean Augmentee to the United States Army), Civilians both U.S. and Korean National, and the Family members of this battle-tested and proven battalion.”
She promised to never lose sight of that honor or to take that privilege for granted and work with them to show everyone what she already knows; that the battalion has the most talented CI / HUMINT professionals and support staff in the Army.
The 501st Military Intelligence Brigade provides indications and early warning of actions by opposing forces that could threaten the tense but stable peace in the Republic of Korea. In the event of hostilities, the brigade’s mission shifts to providing combined, multi-discipline intelligence and force protection support to the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command, the CFC Ground Component Command, and their subordinate units.