Saturday, October 1, 2022

A History of the 221st Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion

By Maj. William Carraway, Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


Left: The distinctive unit insignia of the 221st. Right: Soldiers of the 221st Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion during a change
of command ceremony July 10, 2021. Photo by photo by Pfc. Princess Higgins

Headquarters Company, 221st Miliary Intelligence Battalion was organized at Fort Gillem September 1, 1997.[1] The 221st was originally comprised of a headquarters company, Company A and B at Fort Gillem and Company C at Newnan. On February 1, 1999, Company C was redesignated Company H, 121st Infantry.[2] Headquarters Company was federally recognized October 1, 1999 while Companies A and B received federal recognition December 12, 2001.[3]

On June 6, 1999, the 221st made history as Lt. Col. Maria Britt assumed command as the first female battalion commander in the history of the Georgia Army National Guard. Britt assumed command of the 400-member battalion during a ceremony at the Fort Gillem Enclave.[4]

Sergeant Amberly Dawn Boyle of Company B, 221st assists during the evacuation of Pvt. Jessica Lynch at Ramstein Air Base in Germany
 in 2003. Boris Roessler, AFP

Originally assigned to the 78th Troop Command, the 221st MI proved its capability early in the Global War on Terror with personnel placed on alert September 15, 2001. Less than two weeks later the 221st was supporting security operations at Hartsfield International Airport.[5] The 221st would go on to complete six deployments to Iraq through 2006. Sergeant Amberly Dawn Boyle, a medic assigned to Company B, 221st was one of the personnel assigned to the treatment of former POW Pvt. Jessica Lynch as she was transferred from an Air Force C-17 aircraft at Ramstein Air Base in Germany in 2003. During its  2006 deployment, the 221st submitted more than 2,000 intelligence reports in support of Task Force Phantom which was the first reconnaissance task force to successfully identify insurgent smuggling routs in the western deserts of Iraq.[6]

Staff Sgt. Barry Long (left) and Chaplain Maj. Eduardo Docampo of the 221st Military Intelligence Battalion say a prayer for the unit’s safe
return before its members leave for Fort Stewart. Georgia in February 2003. National Guard archives.

Company H relocated to Fort Gillem in 2004.[7] With the establishment of the 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade in 2009, the 221st was transferred from the 78th Troop Command to the Cumming-Ga.-based 560th. In 2011 Company H, 121st Infantry was reassigned to the 3rd Squadron 108th Cavalry and a new Company C was organized at Fort Gillem.[8]

ELLENWOOD, April 7, 2011 – Soldiers of the 221st Military Intelligence Battalion’s All Source Collection Element (ACE) Team were
welcomed back to Georgia during an early morning ceremony at the Georgia National Guard’s Joint Forces Headquarters. 

From 2010 to 2011, the 221st staffed three analysis control element teams as part of the Kosovo Forces mission. Eighty Soldiers of Company A, 221st completed a combat deployment to Afghanistan in 2013 and in 2016 the battalion sent personnel in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

With the inactivation of the 560th BFSB in 2015, the 221st returned to the 78th Troop Command. [9] As part of the inactivation the battalion lost Company C.

Georgia State Defense Force Sgt. Robert Flavin (center) assists Soldiers of the 221st Military Intelligence Battalion during an intelligence
gathering exercise at Fort Gillem August 4, 2007. Photo by Pfc. Adam Dean.
Beginning in 2018, teams of personnel from the 221st were deployed across the globe in support of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, OIR, and Operation Freedom Sentinel. While maintaining a steady overseas deployment tempo the 221st supported a myriad of exercises at home such as Panther Strike at Camp Williams Utah in 2012 and 2013.[10] Personnel of the 221st assisted during the response to winter storms in 2014 and later that year participated in Operation Medical Ultimatum.[11] Soldiers of the 221st MI were also instrumental in the development of the Georgia State Command Language Program. Within months of the establishment of the program the number of skilled foreign language practitioners in the Georgia National Guard had increased from 28 to 107.[12] Throughout its history, the 221st has supported numerous overseas deployment training missions to Uganda, Rwanda, Malaysia and others.

FORT BENNING, Ga. March 4, 2017 – Georgia Army National Guard 2nd Lt. Amanda Orr of Headquarters Company, 221st Military
Intelligence Battalion engages targets with an M-16 during battalion training at Fort Benning. Georgia National Guard photo by Capt. William Carraway.

The 221st was redesignated the 221st Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion in September 2016.[13]

[1] OA 1898 February 9, 1998 effective September 1, 1997.

[2] OA 19-98 (corrected copy) Change 1 February 1, 1999 effective February 9, 1998

[3] OA 30-02 March 7, 2002.

[4] “Britt Takes Reins of MI Battalion. The Georgia Guardsman Magazine, Summer 199, 22.

[5] Dennis Brown “The Day that Changed America.” Georgia Guardsman September 2011, 4.

[6] Georgia Department of Defense Annual Report 2006, 5.

[7] OA 84-04 April 5, 2004 effective February 1, 2004.

[8][8] OA 434-11 Corrected Copy 1 January 23, 2012 effective December 1, 2011.

[9] Georgia Department of Defense Annual Report 20015, 20.

[10] Georgia Department of Defense Annual Report 2012, 17.

[11] Georgia Department of Defense Annual Report 2014, 18.

[12] First Friday, March 2009, 20.

[13] OA 281-16 August 18, 2016 effective September 1, 2016.

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