Fort Meade's 704th MI welcomes new commander

The 704th Military Intelligence Brigade, the largest military intelligence brigade in the Army — with soldiers, civilians and contractors dispersed in more than 270 work centers around the globe — welcomed a new commander June 26 at Fort George G. Meade.

Outgoing commander Col. Rhett Cox relinquished command to Col. Heidi Urben in a ceremony conducted on McGlachlin Parade Field.

Maj. Gen. Gary Johnston, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, presided over the ceremony as the reviewing officer.

Members of 704th MI subordinate units — the 741st, 742nd and 743rd MI Battalions; the U.S. Army Technical Support Squadron; and the 704th Headquarters and Headquarters Company filled out the formation on the parade field.

In his opening remarks, Johnston described the wide scope of the 704th MI’s mission and how many people the brigade works with.

Among the organizations the 704th MI works with routinely are the Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command, multiple special operations, Joint Force Headquarters and the Department of Homeland Security.

Johnston noted the lineage and history of the 704th MI dating from November 1954.

He also credited Cox with enhancing the 70th MI’s proud legacy.

Urben previously served at Fort Meade from 2008 to 2010 with the 902nd MI Group. In her initial remarks after assuming command, Urben said she embraces her new role.

“I’m thrilled to back on the the INSCOM team, and look forward to the challenges and opportunities our Army faces here and everywhere.” she said.

Urben also praised Cox’s leadership.

“I’d like to thank you not only for a superb transition, but more importantly, for your steadfast leadership to this brigade over the last two years,” Urben said. “Through your care and dedication, you’ve prepared this brigade well and made incredible contributions to the soldiers and civilians of the 704th.”

In his farewell, Cox thanked his family and all the members of the 704th MI for their support, reserving his final thanks for the more than 700 noncommissioned officers in the brigade.

“As you all have heard me say, the most important ranks in the Army are sergeant and first sergeant,” Cox said. “Brigades and battalions, you all build leaders and that’s what sets our Army apart from others.

“You all exemplify my favorite quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower: ‘The sergeant is the Army.’ Thank you to all the noncommissioned officers.”

Corvias awards scholarships to Fort Meade teens

Meade High School senior Haylie DiFilippi was on a bus to a lacrosse game in the spring when she got the call.

“I literally burst out into tears,” she said.

DiFilippi had just heard that she was selected as a Corvias Foundation Scholarship recipient. She, along with two other students from the Fort Meade area, earned financial aid from the foundation to further their education beyond high school.

Corvias awarded scholarships of up to $12,500 per year for four years.

“I didn’t think I was going to get it,” she said. “I didn’t want my parents paying for my college. I was really blessed and thankful.”

DiFilippi, a military child, will be attending the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, to study biology and plans to attend medical school.

About 30 minutes up Route 295, a senior at Mount Saint Joseph High School in Catonsville was experiencing the same gratification.

Just a few months ago, Andrew Chafos was a member of his school’s Model U.N. and CyberPatriot teams. Now, he is interning at Northrup Grumman and preparing for his freshman year at Georgia Tech, with the help of Corvias to lighten his burden of tuition fees.

Chafos, who resides in Heritage Park, plans to study mathematics and computer science.

His father, Col. Timothy Chafos, is the commander of the Joint Intelligence Operations Center for U.S. Cyber Command at the National Security Agency.

Despite having a family legacy at Georgetown University, Chafos opted for Georgia Tech because of its highly ranked computer science program.

“I was always interested in problem-solving from a very early age,” Chafos said. “Georgia Tech had always been on my list. … It seemed like a really good fit for me. …

“Georgia Tech is more focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), which is really what I want to go into. … That’s what made them stand out to me.”

Alicia Mitchell, a former student-athlete at Meade High, is confident about her upcoming studies at University of California, Los Angeles. Like DiFilippi, she plans to attend medical school.

“Now knowing that there is nothing standing in the way of my future goals, I feel ready to begin this new and exciting chapter in my life,” Mitchell told Corvias.

According to a press release from the foundation, the scholarships provide recipients with “reliable, recurring financial assistance” over the course of their respective undergraduate studies. The students will also be admitted into a network of people committed to helping their “academic and professional growth.”

Melissa Ballou, Corvias director of programs, said the foundation guides recipients through the early stages of their careers. After graduating college, Corvias helps them land a job and provides them with professional resources to help them succeed.

“(Corvias is) helping me with my first step into my career and my future,” DeFilippi said. “I’m very grateful and thankful.”

Compiled by staff of the Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs office. For more information about what is happening on Fort Meade, visit www.ftmeade.army.mil and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ftmeade.

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