FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- The 659th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group was activated Sept. 8 during a ceremony here.
Col. John Bansemer (left) passes the guidon of the just-activated 659th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group to it first commander, Col. Peter Lambert, Sept. 8, 2010, during a ceremony at Fort George G. Meade, Md. The 659th ISR Group will provide ISR support to 24th Air Force and falls under command of the Air Force ISR Agency's 70th ISR Wing. (U.S. Army photo/Nicole Martyn)
The mission of the 659th ISR Group, commanded by Col. Peter Lambert, is to provide direct ISR support to the 24th Air Force, which contributes to U.S. Cyber Command's mission. Members of the 659th focus on digital network exploitation analysis and digital network intelligence, which enables computer network operations. The group also provides digital network experts to the National Security Agency.
"The 659th brings ISR cyber capabilities to the 24th Air Force, NSA and the warfighter," Colonel Lambert said. "Our warfighters in the field have never needed the capabilities of the men and women of the 659th more than they need them today. I look forward to leading this group and taking on new challenges. "
The idea for an Air Force ISR group to support the 24th AF began more than a year ago during an Air Force ISR summit.
"When we were tasked with standing up an ISR group to support 24th Air Force, we laid the foundation within days by establishing the provisional 770th ISR Group, which was the 659th's precursor," said Col. John Bansemer, commander of the 70th ISR Wing, the parent unit of the new group.
The provincial group started Oct. 1, 2009, under the command of Lt. Col. Terry Hamrick. With the establishment of the 659th ISR Group, the provisional 770th ISR Group was inactivated.
The new 659th ISR Group has two intelligence squadrons: the 7th Intelligence Squadron here and the 35th IS at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The more than 400 military and civilian Airmen of the 659th ISR Group conduct missions at locations worldwide.
The group's new commander looks forward to the development and growth of the unit's mission during the next few years.
"I want to better understand our partners' missions and continue to synergize with the Air Force ISR Agency as well as with other agencies both in and out of the Air Force," Colonel Lambert said. "My goal while in command is to constantly look toward the future and keep the group and the mission moving forward. "
Because the 659th ISR Group is the first of its kind, unit members are charged with establishing its unique heritage.
Addressing the Airmen of the 659th ISR Group, Colonel Bansemer said, "You are working with a blank slate, forging a new path, a new brand of ISR support. Very few times do we have the chance to write the history books; this is one of those times. The challenge is there and I know the men and the women of the 659th are ready to meet it head on. "