312th Military Intelligence Battalion
Organizational Legacy
"Always The Truth"

  "The Military Intelligence March"  

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Battalion Distinctive Unit Insignia


The 1st Cavalry Division, a major subordinate command of the US Third Mobile Armored Corps, is a 19,000 soldier, heavy armored division stationed at Ft. Hood, TX. As one of the two "on-call" heavy contingency force divisions of the Army, the First Team has an on-order mission to deploy by sea, air or land to any part of the world on a short notice. The following narratives, divided in timeline eras of major operational missions, describes the threat environment, tactical conditions, evolution of equipment technology and the strategic methodology employed by one of the subnorate units of the Separate Battalions and Companies Command, the 312th Military Intelligence Battalion whose accomplishments and the honors they achieved are summarized in the sections that follow.

On 31 December 1943; the 23rd Signal Construction Battalion (a parent organization of the 312th Military Intelligence Battalion) was constituted in the Regular Army and on 10 Feburary 1944, activated at Camp Pickett, Virginia.

It was not until 01 October 1981; that the 312th Army Security Agency - redesignated as the 312th Military Intelligence Battalion, assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, and activated at Fort Hood, Texas. ("A" and "B" Companies were concurrently consolidated with the 371st Army Security Agency [See ANNEX - 1] and the 191st Military Intelligence Company [See ANNEX 2]. The consolidated units were designated as "A" and "B" Companies, 312th Military Intelligence Battalion.)

Following a long series of assignments, as described in the sections thst follow - the 312th Military Intelligence Battalion was inactivated on 15 October, 2005 at Fort Hood, TX. and relieved from assignment to the 1st Cavalry Division. This inactivation was in par, due to the transformation of the 1st Cavalry Division to the US Army's modular force structure. As a part of the transformation, assets previously held at division level, but habitually assigned to brigades were made organic to those brigades. Military intelligence elements were integrated into the special troops battalions of the modular Brigade combat teams. "B" Company was reflagged as "A" Company, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.


The primary mission of the 312 Military Intelligence Battalion is to provide timely, relevant, accurate, and synchronized intelligence and electronic warfare support to tactical, operational and strategic-level commanders of the 1st Cavalry Division. The intelligencee components of the Battalion produce intelligence for Divisional use and for sharing across the national and specified international intelligence communities.

Primary elements of the mission are:

  1. Support the Brigade and above commander's needs and requests.
  2. Encourage esprit de corps.
  3. Broaden education and professionalism.
  4. Preserve our past and link"lessons learned" to the future.
  5. Suppport the Division and MI Corps Museum.
  6. Provide a medium that encourges ideas and growth.
  7. Become leaders in information operations.
  8. Educate the rest of the Army about MI and the MI profession.

These eight functions of the Military Intelligence the commanders with the necessary information and support for the successful completion of many Army missions.

Organizational Summary:

Military Intelligence, the collection of information by commanders on the enemy and the battlefield environment they must confront, has existed since the beginnings of armies and of wars. However, the emergence of professional ilitary Intelligence organizations and the definition of the functions they most appropriately performed are comparatively recent developments. Until the nineteenth century, Military Intelligence was practiced only in wartime; methods of collection were rudimentary; and the conduct of Military intelligence was considered a function of command, one which any professional officer could perform. Furthermore, commanders tended to be skeptical about the reliability of the information they received from spies, scouts, and their own troops.

World War-I exposed the Army to a dazzling new array of technological enhancements to the collection process: aerial photography and reconnaissance, radio intercept, and optical and acoustical sensors used to detect aircraft and artillery. One secondary effect was that much of the Army's practical intelligence work was carried out by nonintelligence personnel: the intercept personnel of the Signal Corps; technicians manning artillery targeting devices; topographic specialists in the Corps of Engineers; and aviators. This situation in turn tended to block or delay the further centralization of the intelligence function.

In the long years of peace following the Armistice, Army Intelligence continued to search for an appropriate place within an Army the size of which had again been greatly reduced. A basic problem of Army Intelligence remained conceptual: defining what an intelligence organization should do. Army Intelligence offices, in fact, continued to be regarded as clearing houses for all manner of information functions unrelated to intelligence. During the interwar years, for example, intelligence staffs managed the Army's public affairs programs; later they were tasked with conducting psychological warfare and writing the history of the Army. It took a surprisingly long time, until the end of World War-II, for Army Intelligence to concentrate on its primary task, "knowing one's enemies.

In World War II these attitudes began to change. Military and political leaders alike recognized that intelligence was crucial to military success. To meet its information needs, the Army was forced to create a large intelligence structure, manned largely by draftees and officers commissioned into the Reserves. Acting through its wartime operating arm, the Military Intelligence Service, the Military Intelligence Division instituted formal training for intelligence personnel in a diversity of disciplines. By the end of the war various types of intelligence teams and counterintelligence detachments were supporting the intelligence staffs of all tactical units in the field.

When the Army entered World War-II, it envisaged only two types of tactical signal intelligence units: radio intelligence platoons organic to the divisional signal companies and signal radio intelligence (SRI) companies assigned to field armies on a basis of one per army The signal radio intelligence companies were quite sizable units, each with an assigned strength of slightly over 300 officers and men, internally divided into a headquarters platoon, an intercept platoon, a direction-finding platoon, and a wire platoon for communications. Neither of the two types had any analytical personnel. Analysis and translation were to be accomplished centrally by small radio intelligence staff elements at the theater and field army levels, as had been the case in World War-I. These elements now reported to the chief signal officer,

From the intelligence perspective, the war in Europe was characterized by the gradual evolution of independent theater-level signal intelligence services, Military Intelligence services, and the institution of centralized control at the theater level over Army counterintelligence specialists. These developments took place at first in the Mediterranean and then in the European Theater of Operations.

In rhe Pacific, in the spring of 1942, MacArthur set up a centralized cryptologic agency Central Bureau, Brisbane (CBB). Headed by MacArthur's chief signal officer, a former chief of the Signal Intelligence Service, CBB was jointly manned by personnel of the US Army and the Royal Australian Army and Air Force. The American component consisted at first of two officers and a few intercept operators drawn from a detachment of the 2nd Signal Service Company on Corregidor, later reinforced by a signal service detachment.

Thus, from the beginning Army Intelligence personnel in the Pacific were part of a high-level processing center that eventually broke Japanese military codes and thus generated ULTRA. Despite its name, CBB was not a static organization; an advance echelon of the Central Bureau accompanied the General Headquarters of MacArthur in successive forward deployments, and by July 1945, almost the whole organization had been moved to San Miguel on the Philippine island of Luzon. By the end of the war, the Central Bureau staffed to a level of 1,500 had acquired batteries of IBM machines, and was directing the collection efforts of four American signal radio intelligence companies and some ten equivalent British Commonwealth units.

Meanwhile, the Signal Corps conducted its own intelligence and security war, entering the field of radar, which was at once a collection technology, a new intelligence target, and a subject of possible countermeasures. More important, the Signal Corps provided cryptologic support to the War Department through its Signal Security Agency and furnished theater commanders with tactical signals intelligence units. The growing importance of communications intelligence ultimately resulted in the transfer of responsibility for the function from the Signal Corps to Military Intelligence. The Army emerged from World War II with an intelligence structure that in some ways prefigured that of the present.

The Korean War revitalized the Army Security Agency, which found a new role in providing support to tactical operations. During the course of the war, the agency reorganized and redesignated its existing signal service companies as communication reconnaissance companies and activated new communication reconnaissance companies, battalions, and groups to support tactical commanders at every level. The new concept placed a communication reconnaissance group in support of the field army. The group would command subordinate ASA units and had the mission of dispatching liaison teams to the combat divisions. At the corps level, flexibly organized communication reconnaissance battalions directed the activities of separate numbered companies.

By the mid 1050', the Intelligence Division's most important asset was provided by the newly formed Army Security Agency (ASA). In many ways the Army Security Agency was unique. A large portion of the headquarters continued to be staffed by civilian experts, and the agency's organizational pattern had no parallel in the rest of the Army. The Army Security Agency was put together on the "stovepipe" principle, and Arlington Hall controlled the activities of all units through a separate ASA chain of command. This distinctive vertical command structure, which provided centralized control over all Army signals intelligence and communications security assets, set ASA apart, as did the high walls of compartmented secrecy surrounding its sensitive operations. All that most members of the Army knew about the Army Security Agency was that they were not supposed to know anything about it.

The 1960's began with brave promises; however, events soon began to go awry. Although successive crises with the Soviet Union over Berlin and the Soviet deployment of missiles to Cuba were resolved peaceably, the Viet Cong insurgency in South Vietnam continued to fester, despite the involvement of an increasing number of American military advisers. In early November 1963, a beleaguered President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam was assassinated during a coup by his own Army. Intended to stabilize the deteriorating security situation in South Vietnam by removing an unpopular leader, the coup had the opposite effect. As a revolving-door series of ephemeral governments came and went in Saigon, Communists gained an increasing foothold in the countryside. Meanwhile, President John Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas; his successor, Lyndon Johnson, had a wealth of experience in domestic politics but no substantive understanding of foreign affairs. Johnson won election in 1964 on a platform of peace and social reform, but soon found that developments in Vietnam would imperil both goals.

By early 1965 a Viet Cong victory seemed imminent. America responded initially with limited air raids against the Viet Cong's sponsor, North Vietnam. When this action proved unproductive, ground troops were committed to the South under the direction of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), a joint, Army-dominated "sub-theater" headquarters. The North Vietnamese countered by steadily increasing their war buildup, sending in their own regular forces to supplement the activities of the guerrillas.

Thus the United States lurched into an undeclared war. On the American side, this remained a limited effort. The focus of President Johnson on constructing a "Great Society" at home, and he regarded the war in Southeast Asia as an unpleasant distraction. As a matter of deliberate management, the conflict was fought without passion, without censorship, without mobilization, and without raising taxes. Increasingly, it was fought without popular enthusiasm. On the other hand, for the North Vietnamese and their Viet Cong proxies, the war was total. By the end of 1967 an American Army of 485,000 soldiers and marines, backed up by an enormous logistical system, had deployed in country; and officials talked brightly that there was now "light at the end of the tunnel." The Tet offensive at the beginning of 1968 dispelled this dream, however. It broke the will of an administration and shattered the confidence of the American people. After Tet, all roads ran downhill. The Johnson administration decided to stop reinforcing the war effort; its successor chose to withdraw gradually from the war and return the tar baby to the luckless South Vietnamese. In the meantime, the United States was unraveling on the domestic front. Racial unrest resulted in rioting on a massive scale, while an increasingly violent antiwar movement grew in strength on the nation's campuses.

All of these events had a massive impact on Military Intelligence. Some structural changes that took place during this period were driven by new developments in technology. Most, however, were brought about by the military commitment to Southeast Asia and its manifold repercussions. The Vietnam conflict, its domestic side effects, and the economic and psychological constraints produced by the outcome of the venture all worked to reshape the organization of Army Intelligence.

In January 1977, the Army formed the new major command,by redesignating the US Army Security Agency as Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). In addition, the Army reassigned the US Army Intelligence Agency, as well as ACSI's and FORSCOM'S intelligence production units, to the new command. At the same time, control of ASA's tactical units reverted to the supported commanders. The training, personnel, research and development, and materiel acquisition and administration functions which the Army Security Agency had carried out were assumed by other major commands and by elements of the Army Staff. INSCOM also assumed command of three Military Intelligence Groups located overseas: the 66th in Germany, the 470th in Panama and the 500th in Japan. Previously, these units had been assigned respectively to USAREUR and Seventh Army FORSCOM, and the US Army Intelligence Agency.

The formastion of INSCOM in 1977, provided the Army with a single instrument to conduct of the Army multidiscipline intelligence and security operations and electronic warfare at the level above corps and to produce finished intelligence tailored to the needs of the Army. The new major command merged divergent intelligence disciplines and traditions in a novel way. Its creation marked the most radical realignment of Army Intelligence assets in a generation. Without fully realizing it, the Army had achieved not a , "multidiscipline" organization, but an interdisciplinary approach to intelligence collection. The new command provided Army Intelligence with a framework within which the individual intelligence disciplines could cross-cue one another; the results of this collective effort would be greater than the sum of its parts.

The 1980s were prosperous years for the Army, especially for its restructured intelligence component. The formation of INSCOM and the implementation of the Communications Electronics Warfare Intelligence (CEWI) concept not only affected intelligence operations throughout the Army, but also drew the Military Intelligence Branch firmly into the mainstream of the service. For the first time, most MI personnel were assigned to TOE units. By 1988, five MI brigades and no less than thirty MI battalions had been formed under the CEWI concept to support tactical units in the field, while another five TOE MI brigades and ten TOE single-function battalions carried out theater - and national-level support missions under INSCOM.

However, just as the Soviet threat receded and pundits began to talk about the pleasant possibilities of a "peace dividend," a new array of international challenges appeared. In December 1989, American forces stormed Panama in Operation JUST CAUSE, overthrowing the regime of its narcotics-linked strong-man, General Manuel Noriega. Eight months later, crisis flared in the Middle East. An Iraqi invasion of the tiny emirate of Kuwait, threatening both the oil supply of the world and the stability of a potential new world order, led to a massive American response. The United States deployed over 500,000 men and women to the Persian Gulf region, the largest buildup of troops since Vietnam, and then committed them to battle in Operation DESERT STORM, a lightning air and ground war that resulted in complete victory.

Despite these conflicting crosscurrents of events, planning for retrenchment of the force continued. Nevertheless, it was clear that the post-Cold War world would continue to hold unforeseen and unforeseeable perils. In the unstructured international environment created by the sudden collapse of the bipolar world order imposed by the Cold War, crises could, and didtake place in almost any region of the globe. The prospect of a smaller Army and a more diffused but wider menace would inevitably affect the institutional arrangements of Military Intelligence, since intelligence organizations are necessarily shaped by the threat as well as the force structure in place. In addition to preparing for contingency operations, Army Intelligence now had to monitor arms verification agreements, fight terrorism, maintain a vigilant watch against espionage, and assume a counter-drug mission in support of civilian authorities.

The challenges of JUST CAUSE and DESERT STORM, successive crises occurring half a world apart and in totally unrelated linguistic environments - had already made large demands on Military Intelligence and appeared to serve as a portent for the future. On the whole, the Army had met these demands successfully. INSCOM's 470th Military Intelligence Brigade and its attached 29th Military Intelligence Battalion had been in place in Panama when that crisis broke. INSCOM's 513th Military Intelligence Brigade, with a long-standing contingency mission to support the US Army Central Command, had been at least partially positioned to meet Army intelligence requirements when deployment to the Persian Gulf began.

Recently, the chief of Military Intelligence declared, "Army Intelligence has truly arrived," and in one sense he was correct. In another sense, however, Military Intelligence was still in transit, progressively redefining itself as the Army, the nation, and the international situation changed. Still, wherever the journey might lead it in the future, clearly Military Intelligence has come a long way from its modest beginning in 1885 as the Division of Military Information.

This folio of material highlights of the many subsequent historical critical missions performed by members of the 312 Military Intelligence Battalion, whose actions, operations and the many critical issues resolved over its 69+ years history to meet the changing threat and the honors they achieved are summarized in the following sections:

Table of Contents

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Copyright © 1996, Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947). All rights to this body of work are reserved and are not in the public domain, or as noted in the bibliography. Reproduction, or transfer by electronic means, of the History of the 1st Cavalry Division, the subordinate units or any internal element, is not permitted without prior authorization. Readers are encouraged to link to any of the pages of this Web site, provided that proper acknowledgment attributing to the source of the data is made. The information or content of the material contained herein is subject to change without notice.

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