The 163D Military Intelligence Battalion was initially organized on 5 April 1945, as the 163D language detachment, Luzon, republic of the Philippines, as American forces under General Douglas MacArthur, liberated the archipelago from the Japanese occupation forces. The detachment’s distinguished service in the campaign resulted in the award of the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation in July 1945.
On 24 September 1949 the unit was reorganized and redesignated as the 163D Military Intelligence Service Detachment and in 19 December 1950 were allotted to the Regular Army. Nine months later, the North Korean People’s Army launched a surprise attack across the thirty-eighth parallel, signaling the start of the Korean War. The 163D MI Service Detachment served throughout the conflict, including the Pusan perimeter, the counterattack to the Yalu, the retreat and stalemate along the thirty-eighth parallel. Honors won by the 163D included the Presidential Unit Citation for service during the Inchon landing, as well as a Navy Unit Citation for service at Panmunjom. On 1 September 1952 they were reorganized and redesignated as the 163D Military Intelligence Service Platoon. On 28 March 1954 they were reorganized and redesignated as the 163D Military Intelligence Platoon. They were inactivated on 15 November 1954 in Korea.
On 26 December 1955 the unit was moved to Livorno, Italy, and on 20 September 1957 was designated as the 163D Military Intelligence Battalion. They were inactivated 25 April 1964 in Italy. On 1 October 1969, the Battalion was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 163D Military Intelligence Battalion, and activated at Fort Hood, Texas. Alpha Company was concurrently constituted and activated. On 21 April 1978, Alpha Company was reorganized and redesignated as Bravo Company while the 529th Military Intelligence (interrogation) Company was concurrently reorganized and redesignated as Alpha Company.
In the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, the battalion served in a myriad of missions in support of the US Army, US Army Military Intelligence and III Corps; providing support to every echelon through intelligence during both critical and standard training events, real-world deployment augmentation, and the foundation blocks for the world class opposing forces at the nascent national training center. The past soldiers of the 163D MI Battalion worked at every level of intelligence and truly experienced the challenges and excitement of providing tactical and operational intelligence to the commander.
In addition to the aforementioned laurels, the 163D holds 11 battle streamers from WWII and Korea, and on May 4, 1971, the Secretary of the Army accorded the battalion the title, “The Blue Watch.” On 15 September 1997 the battalion was deactivated at Fort Hood, TX.
On 17 January 2006, the battalion was reactivated, once again, as part of Army transformation. The 163D Military Intelligence Battalion serves as the Army model for future military intelligence battalions set to activate in the coming years and will provide the commander with integrated intelligence assets that will allow him to know the enemy through Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Counter Intelligence (CI), and Human Intelligence (HUMINT). The transformed battalion serves as the first step toward the Brigade’s transformation to a Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (BfSB).
On 11 August 2006, the battalion deployed to Iraq in support of operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08. The 163D Military Intelligence Battalion is supporting III Corps and its subordinate formations by conducting HUMINT collection and ground surveillance operations in order to support kinetic and non-kinetic operations throughout the Iraq Theater of operations. Also, while supporting OIF, the Battalion has been tasked with provide HUMINT Collection Teams in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
On 17 October 2006, the battalion was reorganized and received two Long Range Surveillance (LRS) Detachments as part of the Brigade’s transformation to a Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.
On 29 October 2007, the Battalion redeployed from Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08 and returned to Fort Hood. The Battalion was awarded the Iraqi Campaign Streamer and the Meritorious Unit Commendation in support of this operation.
On 18 February 2008, the Battalion was reorganized and moved the two LRS detachments, now a separate company, to the future reconnaissance and surveillance squadron as part of the continuous Brigade transformation to a BfSB. The long range surveillance troop was designated Bravo Troop, 38th cavalry squadron.
On 10 November 2008, for the second time in only 12 months, the Battalion deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 09-11. On 2 November 2009, the battalion redeployed and returned to Fort Hood. The battalion was awarded its second meritorious unit commendation in support of this operation.
On 26 June 2011, the battalion deployed to Afghanistan in support of OEF 11-12. The battalion deployed 52 teams spread across southern Afghanistan. The battalion supported the 10th Mountain Division and its subordinate brigades providing near real-time intelligence to the warfighter.
On 20 September 2013, the 163D Military Intelligence Battalion deployed for its second tour in support of OEF 13-14. The battalion returned to southern Afghanistan in support of regional command-south’s battle space owner, the 4th Infantry Division, as well as its four subordinate brigades. The battalion’s efforts had a direct and lasting impact on the government and the people of Afghanistan.