By Story and photos by Robert AndersonJuly 5, 2012
FORT HUACHCUA, Ariz. -- Last Friday, the Military Intelligence Corps held a recognition and ribbon cutting ceremony to honor its founding members and open the new Military Intelligence Soldier Heritage Walkway. The event was part of the United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence celebration of the 50th anniversary of the MI Branch and 25th anniversary of the MI Corps.
Ryan Owens, policy advisor to the Governor for Military Affairs presented the MI Corps with a proclamation from Governor of Arizona Janice Brewer. Brewer proclaimed, "July 1, 2012, as Army Intelligence Day, and I encourage the citizens of Arizona to celebrate the gold and silver anniversaries of the Military Intelligence Branch and Corps." Maj. Gen. Gregg Potter, commanding general, USAICoE and Fort Huachuca presented Owens with a token of appreciation, then made his way to the podium to offer a few remarks before introducing the guest speaker.
"As military intelligence leader, I take great pride in being afforded the opportunity not only to recognize, but to memorialize the significant contributions of my fellow MI professionals who have selflessly dedicated their efforts to our nation's security.
"MI has long been an integral part of combat operation, though today we only mark the 50th anniversary of the MI Branch and the 25th of the Corps; history has shown true operational success hinges on comprehensive intelligence support", Potter said. After which he introduced guest speaker, retired Col. James Kelsey, former chief of staff and garrison commander, U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca, and a founding member of the MI Corps.
In his speech, Kelsey discussed the many challenges the MI Corps founders faced as they began standing up the new organization in 1985. "There is no manual and there is no course here at Fort Huachuca to go to that tells you, 'well you do this, this, this and this,' and you create a Corps … there was no guide post to go from," Kelsey explained to the approximately 100 guests in attendance.
Kelsey went on to explain the evolution of the MI crest, certificate and flag, saying there were many "NOs" along the way. Three "NOs" before the final crest was approved. While a big NO came from the Institute of Heraldry for a three color certificate; but the MI Corps founders would not be denied, printing their own certificates here at Fort Huachuca. And finally, overcoming the one flag rule "When you look back at all the NOs and realize that 25 years later, this (anniversary) stands as a monument to perseverance, a monument to excellence of people, a monument to an idea and a thought. Today as we sit here, somewhere in the world there is a cyber warrior defending us, there is a counterintelligence professional defending us, there is a HUMINT person that we can speak of or recognize, in a place not of us would like to be … there is a Corps protecting this nation and this army, Kelsey said.
Following his speech, Kelsey with the remaining founding members of the MI Corps, to include the first chief of the MI Corps, retired Maj. Gen. Julius Parker, were recognized for the efforts in establishing a Corps that has endured 25 years of service to the nation.
The ceremony culminated with the ribbon cutting of the new Military Intelligence Soldier Heritage Walkway. The walkway features 10 historic interpretive panels, which chronicles the history of the MI Branch and several noteworthy MI Soldiers that served during various wars and military operations. The walkway is located northwest of the air park at Erwin and Hatfield streets.