FORT HUACHUCA — The Army Intelligence Center of Excellence celebrated its 50th anniversary at Fort Huachuca on Wednesday, the birthday also marking special recognition for the first two commanders — referred to as “trailblazers” — who led the intelligence corps at the installation in the 1970s.

The ceremony, at Alvarado Hall on Fort Huachuca, was led by Commanding General Anthony Hale, who is also the 14th Chief of the Military Intelligence Corps.

With the slogan, “Proud Past — Strong Future” as his backdrop, Hale talked about the myriad accomplishments that have been reached at Fort Huachuca since the Military Intelligence Corps made its home at the installation in 1971, the latest being the graduation of over 7,000 students from USAICoE in fiscal year 2021.

“...Our standing as the home of Military Intelligence has only grown stronger and deeper over the past 50 years,” Hale said in his comments Wednesday. “Our slogan for this year, Proud Past — Strong Future, couldn’t be truer.”

According to Army officials, “the primary mission of military intelligence in the U.S. Army is to provide timely, relevant, accurate and synchronized intelligence and electronic warfare support to tactical operations and strategic levels.”

Adding to the celebration, Sierra Vista Mayor Rick Mueller issued a proclamation declaring Oct. 6, 2021 as U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence Day in the city. Gov. Doug Ducey did the same at the state level. Arizona U.S. senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly also mentioned the 50th anniversary on the Senate floor.

The event also included honoring the first commanders of the installation’s intelligence center, Col. Elvin “Jack” Dalton and Brigadier General Harry M. Hiestand, by naming two headquarters conference rooms after the leaders.

Dalton served as the commandant of the U.S. Army and Intelligence Center and School from July 1971 to May 1973. He then served as assistant commandant until he retired in June 1974.

Hiestand was the first general officer commander of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School, Fort Huachuca, from May 1973 to July 1975.

Three of Dalton’s grandchildren were at the ceremony to receive honors on behalf of their grandfather, who passed away in 2003. Hale read a statement sent by Hiestand’s daughter. Hiestand died in 2008.

Hale recounted the history of military intelligence training in the Army, which after World War II, “took place in various locations.” Signals intelligence training took place in Massachusetts, while combat intelligence training happened in Kansas and counter-intelligence training occurred in Maryland.

The first centralized school for Army Intelligence was born in 1955 when the intelligence school at Fort Riley in Kansas united with the counter-intelligence corps at Fort Holabird in Maryland. By 1965, the Army Intelligence School — headquartered at Fort Holabird — offered 31 intelligence resident courses for officers, warrant officers and enlisted intelligence professionals.

But there was a problem. Because of restrictions in the area where the fort was located in Baltimore County, The Army Intelligence School could not expand “to meet the critical requirements of the intelligence mission for the Vietnam War,” Hale said in his comments.

“Thus Army Intelligence needed a larger home in which military intelligence professionals could test and train together, and we found that home here at Fort Huachuca in 1971,” Hale said.

Today, USAICoE includes 81 active and reserve component courses. Fort Huachuca also has 33 ranges and training areas, Hale said. The installation also controls its own air space, which is almost 1,000 square miles.

“We develop and test new intelligence systems and equipment,” Hale said. “And soon, we will succeed in creating the very first multi-domain operating environment range, the Buffalo Soldier Electronic Testing and Training Range.”

The major general also thanked Mueller and the city of Sierra Vista for its longstanding support of Fort Huachuca.

“Without a partnership with the city of Sierra Vista, our installation would not be as strong as it is,” Hale said.