By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Fort Hood Herald

After a rigorous 18-month transformation and training cycle, the 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade cased its colors in preparation for a one-year deployment to Afghanistan.

Col. Gary Johnston, brigade commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Eger, the brigade's senior noncommissioned officer, hosted the ceremony Thursday morning, which took place on West Fort Hood's Ready Field.

Soldiers from the brigade already have departed for Afghanistan, Johnston said.

The brigade, which has deployed twice to Iraq, conducts intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, according to its website.

"This intelligence mission includes collecting, processing and analyzing human intelligence (HUMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT), and conducting reconnaissance and surveillance operations with an assigned long range surveillance (LRS) troop," read

Units in the brigade are the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 163rd and 303rd Military Intelligence Battalions, 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment and 268th Network Operations and the 509th Forward Support companies.

The brigade had a six-month reset phase after returning from its last deployment and embarked on a plan that included standing up the 2nd Squadron, 28th Cavalry, and doubling the size of three other companies, Johnston said.

What followed was a training cycle that included 10 company-level training exercises, six battalion- and squadron-level field training exercises, more than 15 intelligence collection teams deploying with brigade combat teams to the Joint Readiness Training Center and the National Training Center and a brigade-level mission rehearsal exercise.

"With this back-to-the-basics training campaign and robust training cycle, this unit is ready for combat," Johnston said.

The center is open to soldiers and is located near the brigade's headquarters.

USO updates service center on post for soldiers

Officials from Fort Hood USO and the 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade cut a ribbon after the casing ceremony Thursday morning at an updated soldier service center at West Fort Hood.

Fort Hood USO sponsored the updates in the dayroom, which included a reading area, furniture, gaming systems and computers. The center is open to soldiers and is located near the brigade's headquarters.

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