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Supporting the Army’s First
Battlefield Surveillance Brigade

Throughout the history of warfare, Soldiers have needed to know who and where the enemy is. In order to address that need in the context of the 21st century threat, the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade transformed in 2007 to the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (Airborne). Headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 525th is the first battlefield surveillance brigade (BfSB) conducting intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations. However, gathering information is only half the challenge it faces. Along with the transformation of its structure and intelligence capabilities, the sustainment capabilities of the brigade also changed. The 525th BfSB increased its operational sustainment capabilities with the creation of the 29th Forward Support Company (FSC). (The 29th FSC is now the 29th Brigade Support Company.)

The 29th FSC is a multifunctional logistics company that was activated on 26 October 2006. Its primary mission is to provide quality field maintenance and to distribute all classes of supply, except medical, to the 525th BfSB. Within 9 months of its activation, the 29th FSC was ready to perform its multifunctional logistics mission when it participated in a brigade 9-day mission readiness exercise at Fort Bragg.

Throughout the long, tedious hours of nonstop support to two battalions, a network support company, a long-range surveillance company, and the brigade headquarters and headquarters company, the 29th FSC Soldiers enthusiastically performed their mission. Each Soldier knew the importance of his individual contribution, which was reinforced by the company commander and the first sergeant, who routinely praised their Soldiers on a job well done.

The company’s leaders used the mission readiness exercise not only as a training or refresher tool for basic soldiering skills but also as an opportunity to encourage initiative, improve teamwork, and enhance morale among the Soldiers. Because of the high standards, values, and expectations that the leaders established within the 29th FSC, the Soldiers displayed an uncompromising sense of pride in their company and an undeniable dedication to the mission.

The 29th FSC is task-organized into three platoons: headquarters, maintenance, and distribution. The maintenance platoon’s mission is to provide quality field maintenance on all ground equipment, maintenance management, and recovery for the 525th BfSB. The platoon can generate two maintenance support teams (MSTs) capable of supporting automotive and power-generation equipment forward. The maintenance platoon also has a base maintenance shop that not only has the same capabilities as the MSTs but also can provide limited fabrication and fix weapon systems’ communications equipment, special devices, and intelligence electronic warfare equipment. The maintenance platoon maintained vehicle dispatch; repaired and recovered human intelligence collection team vehicles, multifunctional team systems, and Triton II systems; and trained on critical warfighting tasks.

The distribution platoon’s mission is to receive and distribute supplies in support of the 525th BfSB’s sustainment packages. Every day, during the mission readiness exercise, the platoon’s distribution section provided the brigade with its operational requirements of ammunition and fuel. The platoon warehouse section requisitioned, received, and issued classes I (subsistence), IIIB (bulk petroleum, oils, and lubricants), VII (major end items), and IX (repair parts) for the brigade. Over 9 days, the distribution platoon distributed 2,160 gallons of fuel, issued 396 meals, ready to eat (MREs), and provided 800 gallons of water to the brigade’s main training area. The 29th FSC executed this mission while participating in 36 combat logistics patrols (an average of 4 per day), which included reacting to improvised explosive devices and ambushes, thus testing the soldiering skills of unit members. The ease with which the 525th BfSB received its replenishment was among the top discussions within the brigade’s command group.

The 29th FSC demonstrated its outstanding logistics versatility throughout the brigade’s 9-day mission readiness exercise and surpassed many of the command’s expectations. Many who thought a company that had only been activated a few months earlier would not be ready to undertake the huge task of supporting the entire brigade were proven wrong. By the end of the mission readiness exercise on 10 May 2007, the 29th FSC had validated its mission and proven that it was ready to support intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations during the brigade’s pending deployment.

First Lieutenant Orna T. Bradley is the executive officer of the 29th Brigade Support Company (formerly the 29th Forward Support Company), which is deployed to Iraq. She holds a bachelor’s degree in health science from Campbell University and is a graduate of the Quartermaster Officer Basic Course.