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Task Force Raptor Soldiers begin Exercise Always Engaged

By Staff Sgt. Kenneth Burkhart and Rosario Urquieta | 302nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment | July 30, 2018

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — The 259th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade, Military Intelligence Readiness Command, located out of Tumwater, Washington conducts a multicomponent exercise known as Always Engaged 18, as part of their annual training at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, July 9-23. 

The Military Intelligence Reserve Soldiers receive support from active-army units, improving the Reserve Soldier’s readiness and allowing them to maintain their MI capabilities in a complex and ever changing environment. 

“Multicomponent is us in the reserve, the 259th Expeditionary, training with our sister MI brigade, the 201st MI brigade in the same location,” said Col. Rose Keravuori, brigade commander, 259th EMIB, she continues “we are working all of our disciplines here, and by that I mean our counter intelligent (CI) and HUMINT (human intelligence) and support elements.”

During annual training exercises, such as Always Engaged 18, Military Intelligence Soldiers get to use, fine tune and sharpen their MI skills. The array of occupations within the MI units may include signal intelligence analysts, counter intelligence, human intelligence collectors, cryptologic linguists, intelligence analysts, geospatial intelligence imagery analyst and more. 

“We have an entire array of intelligence MOS’s (military occupation specialty) being trained here in a tactical environment. To train in these different areas on JBLM, and train to our intelligence disciplines is very important to us,” said Keravuori. 

Training as a unit is instrumental for military intelligence soldiers, knowing their jobs and maintaining theirs skills during the various exercises throughout the year assists in closing the gaps due to their geographically dispersed personnel. As part of the ready force cycle, this training is crucial to the 259th EMIB due to the deployment potential of their subordinate unit the 373rd EMI battalion.

Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, chief of army reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command has set a goal for all Army Reserve Soldiers to be "relevant and ready" to support the active-duty components. 

During exercise Always Engaged 18, the MI soldiers will focus on processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED’s) of information; a staples in intelligence operations. 

“We are using training scenarios, completing certifications, all for the possibility of a mobilization,” said 1st Sgt. Christopher S. Miller, headquarters first sergeant, 259th EMIB, he continued “as part of the rapid, ready, deploy system; this brigade is supposed to be able to go anywhere, anytime, anyplace and provide functionality to all support facilities.”

When an element like the 259th EMIB, deploys, the headquarters is divided between two and three sites while the Soldiers are split into teams and sent to multiple locations as needed.

“What makes this probably one of a kind training for what the EMIBs are doing, is that we’ve partnered up with our active duty sister units, the 201st Military Intelligence Brigade, and 109th MI Battalion which has really set the standards and the stage for this exercise. They are acting as observer controllers, they’re mentors, and they are our backbone for this entire lift. They have stepped in and gone through leaps and bounds for the past year trying to get us ready for the exercise,” said Miller.