Annual Training Sees 58th EMIB HHC Run the Gamut of Weapons
Story by Major Brendan Cassidy
Fort A.P. Hill, Va. – The 58th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company executed the first week of its annual training here May 4-13, operating no fewer than six different weapons systems for the few dozen unit members who were part of the exercise, in addition to hand grenades.
After years of various operational restrictions due to COVID-19 related concerns, 2023’s variety of hands-on training was a welcome change.
“It’s important that soldiers familiarize and get confident. The Army is moving toward a conventional fight, and everyone here needs to be prepared to use these weapons.” said Staff Sgt. Andres Bravo, the Officer-in-Charge and lead instructor for the unit on several of these ranges.
Bravo, presently the brigade’s S2 NCOIC, is a career 11B Infantry Soldier and has a resume to match his last name. He served eight years of active duty with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, prior to his switch to the Maryland National Guard, in which he has now been assigned for three years.
Bravo is among several unit members that have experience in combat arms branches. In fact, the 58th EMIB itself was an infantry formation prior to 2010, last styled as “58th Infantry Brigade Combat Team” from 2006 to 2010 before spending five years as a battlefield surveillance brigade. In this sense, a weapons-focused week of training signified a return to the unit’s roots.
Another HHC veteran of abundant experience with such training is Staff Sgt. Aaron Henke, the company’s primary subject matter expert in heavy weapons systems. Henke used these extensively over five years of active duty time with the United States Marine Corps from 2007 through 2012 before switching to the Maryland National Guard, where he is presently a 35T Military Intelligence Systems Maintainer.
Reflecting on the past week, Henke said “I’m not going to be around forever. And I hope we can also pass on the energy to do this training right and that one day, someone coming up the ranks will be making this happen for the unit.”
The 58th EMIB was first activated on Aug. 1st, 2015, largely from personnel from the 58th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (BfSB). The unit can trace its lineage back to 1917, when it was formed as one of two infantry brigades under the 29th Infantry Division. The brigade is composed of six composite units throughout Central Maryland which train in, conduct, and deploy to primarily execute multi-domain and multi-discipline intelligence operations.