(See list of changes at end of story)
HEIDELBERG, Germany — A year from now, part of the 1st Armored Division will be Texas-bound, the 3rd Corps Support Command will head to Kentucky, a centralized combat aviation brigade will be created in Germany, and some engineers who were once known as “topo guys” will become “geospatial planners.”
U.S. Army Europe’s transformation and rebasing plan for 2007 was announced Thursday. It will affect some 12,500 soldiers, an estimated 18,750 family members and nearly 1,100 civilian workers in Germany as the Army vastly reduces the number of U.S. troops and standardizes, modernizes, reorganizes and renames its units worldwide.
Unlike the first round of transformation a year ago that focused on returning the 1st Infantry Division to the U.S., the plan for 2007 takes more of a diverse approach. It returns the 1st AD’s 1st Brigade Combat Team — now in Iraq — to the U.S., but leaves the 2nd BCT — also in Iraq — in place for now. It encompasses changes in logistics, aviation and engineering units, and how combat service support units are configured. The plan moves five units, while converting 21 and inactivating 25.
Additionally, three signal units in Darmstadt will inactivate, along with a military intelligence battalion there.
The moves are expected to begin in June 2007.
“Last year, it was … a big focus on the Big Red 1,” said Bill Chesarek, USAREUR’s global rebasing and restructuring division chief. “This year, you could say we’re starting on the 1st AD. Friedberg is the best place to start.”
The home for years of the 1st AD’s 1st Brigade, Friedberg and Giessen will see what once were 3,500 soldiers become none. Barracks, training areas, housing areas, depots, distribution centers and other military facilities are scheduled to close, but instead of closing in 2007, as previously announced, most are now scheduled to close in 2008.
The area’s facilities were going to be closed even before it was announced that two Germany-based heavy divisions would return to the U.S. — because of unsuitable training areas, Chesarek said. And since then, “We haven’t upgraded anything. We’ve just done maintenance,” he said. “So it made sense to send them (back to the States) instead of one of the other brigades.”
Three major factors are driving the timing of which USAREUR units go where and on what timeline, Chesarek said: current missions in Iraq and Afghanistan; the worldwide rebasing and restructuring plan, including the availability of new facilities; and “minimizing turbulence” for soldiers and families affected.
Chesarek said the 2007 moves and changes should have minimal impact on most individual soldiers, who will be dispersed in large numbers through normal Army processes such as retirements, changes of station and enlistment terms ending.
“They’ll really, really draw down (before a unit moves or inactivates) and most will go to individual assignments,” he said. “Some will PCS. Some will go to school.”
All soldiers now deployed to Iraq and scheduled to return to the U.S. will do so after first coming back to Germany, Chesarek said, and will make the move with their families.
Having soldiers return stateside directly from Iraq has been ruled out once and for all, he said. “Maybe it would have been a little cheaper, I don’t know. But as a morale issue — not so good,” he said.
Besides the 1st BCT’s move to Fort Bliss, Texas, Chesarek said, the plan reflects changes in how the Army will operate and how units are being “modularized” to make them more standardized, interchangeable and self-sufficient.
The 3rd COSCOM headquarters — also currently in Iraq — is moving to Fort Knox, Ky., for example, with some of its subordinate units being disbanded, while others will become part of a USAREUR-wide command that will assume all theater sustainment duties.
Similarly, what was an aviation brigade will become the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, and pieces of two engineering brigades will be molded into one “engineer theater enabling command,” according to the plan.
Among that group will be a unit called the “Geospatial Planning Cell,” which will provide complex maps and battlefield overlays. It was formerly known as the 60th Engineer Detachment, located in Schwetzingen.
“Us old-fashioned guys would call them ‘topo guys,’” Chesarek said, for “topography.”
But because of the use of satellite imagery and other technological advances, the old designation deserved an update, he said.
The transformation and rebasing plan is supposed to, over about eight years, reduce what were 62,000 U.S. soldiers stationed in Europe to 28,000 (4,000 more than previously estimated because some of the modularized units are larger than their predecessors), and to concentrate them in several hubs.
Part of the 2007 plan addresses new construction at the hubs, such as Grafenwöhr, Kaiserslautern and Wiesbaden. Col. Roger Gerber, global rebasing and restructuring division deputy chief, said his office had requested $517 million to get started on those projects.
“We expect this is fully funded and we’ll execute it,” Chesarek said. “This is what we think we can do next year, given all the things we know about.”
Who's going ...
U.S. Army Europe officials announced Thursday that several units will either leave Europe or deactivate entirely during fiscal year 07. A look at the units and the number of troops affected:
- 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment — 702
- 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment — 504
- 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment — 504
- 501st Forward Support Battalion — 431
HHC, 1st Brigade — 86
Troop F, 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment — 51
2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment — 593
16th Engineer Battalion — 418
Company D, 3rd Battalion, 58th Air Traffic Services — 101
HHC, 130th Engineer Brigade — 99
64th Medical Detachment (Veterinary) — 61
51st Medical Detachment (Veterinary) — 13
623rd Movement Control Team (Area) — 18
Company A, 501st Military Intelligence Battalion — 59
HHC, 3rd Corps Support Command — 266
Company A, 141st Signal Battalion — 140
72nd Medical Detachment (Veterinary) — 61
77th Maintenance Company — 310
71st Corps Support Battalion — 57
634th Movement Control Team — 7
Army Health Clinic — 24
32nd Signal Battalion — 550
440th Signal Battalion — 466
HHC, 22nd Signal Battalion — 190
Company C, 165th Military Intelligence Battalion — 158
Det. C, 55th Personnel Services Battalion — 50
Army Health Clinic — 22
Army Dental Clinic — 10
Army Dental Clinic — 7
HHC, 16th Corps Support Group — 121
26th Supply Company — 117
320th Engineer Company (TOPO) — 109
HHD, 485th Corps Support Battalion — 57
626th Movement Control Team — 13
633rd Movement Control Team — 7
HHB, V Corps Artillery — 193
93rd Medical Battalion (Dental) — 12
147th Ordnance Company — 215
1st Transportation Movement Control Agency — 76
HHD, 181st Transportation Battalion — 49
260th Transportation Company — 23
HHC, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Aviation Inter. Maint. — 20
19th Material Maintenance Command — 296
159th Air Ambulance Company — 123
27th Movement Control Battalion — 58
619th — Movement Control Team — 18
67th Combat Support Hospital — 397
HHC, 3rd Battalion, 58th Air Traffic Services — 101
527th Military Police Company (moving to Hohenfels) — 75
HHD, Division Engineers, 1st Armored Division (moving to Wiesbaden) — 60
Detachment C, 39th Finance Battalion (moving to Bamberg) — 27
515th Transportation Company (POL) (moving to Grafenwöhr) — 173
Converting to other units
54th Engineer Battalion — 444
317th Maintenance Company — 253
7th Corps Support Group — 121
240th Quartermaster Company — 115
627th Movement Control Team (Area) — 13
535th Engineer Company — 159
HHC, 18th Corps Support Battalion — 57
702nd Ordnance Company — 22
HHC, 18th Engineer Brigade — 117
5th Maintenance Company — 247
HHC, 21st Theater Support Command — 211
HHD, 200th Material Management Center — 103
HHD, 37th Transportation Group — 73
39th Movement Control Battalion — 57
HHC, 191st Combat Services Support Battalion — 50
624th Movement Control Team (Port) — 18
3rd Battalion, 158th Assault Regiment — 334
HHC, Aviation Brigade 1st Infantry Division — 113
574th Supply Company — 115
720th Ordnance Company — 22
212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital — 133
60th Engineer Detachment — 10
1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment — 199
Company C, 3rd Battalion, 58th Air Traffic Services — 59
635th Movement Control Team (Reg) — 16
Change to non-deployable unit
79th Medical Detachment (Veterinary) — 7
100th Medical Battalion (Veterinary) — 3
21st Medical Detachment (Veterinary) — 7
529th Ordnance Company – reflagging as 23rd Ordnance Company.
2nd Squadron, 6 Cavalry Regiment – redesignating as 3rd Battalion, 159th Attack Regiment. Soldiers affected: 341.
6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment – redesignating as 2nd Battalion, 159th Attack Regiment. Soldiers affected: 341.
2nd Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment – redesignating as 5th Battalion, 158th Aviation General Support Regiment. Soldiers affected: 264.
Company F, 159th Aviation Regiment – redesignating as Company B, 5th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment. Soldiers affected: 226.
601st Division Aviation Support Battalion – redesignating as 412th Aviation Support Battalion. Soldiers affected: 472.
45th Air Ambulance Company – reflagging as Company C, 5th Battalion, 158th Aviation General Support. Soldiers affected: 123.
236th Air Ambulance Company – redesignating as Company C, 1st Battalion, 214st Aviation General Support Regiment. Soldiers affected: 123.
23rd Ordnance Company (Ammo) moving to Grafenwöhr. Soldiers affected: 162.