HEIDELBERG, Germany — A storied combat unit will be no more, a NATO headquarters will move away and thousands more soldiers and civilians will depart Europe this year as the Army transformation continues deactivating, changing and moving units back to the United States.
The 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division will be inactivated this fiscal year, according to a news release Thursday from U.S. Army Europe.
“That unit — its history and tradition — it’s big news in the military community,” said Bruce Anderson, a USAREUR spokesman.
The unit, originally called the United States Regiment of Dragoons, has been in existence for more than 160 years, according to Globalsecurity.org. It dates to 1846 and the Mexican War, and earned 101 campaign streamers — the most of any regular Army unit, according to the Web site.
The inactivation, like all the actions announced Thursday, “will allow USAREUR to continue to consolidate assets at enduring locations and support Army transformation and the Department of Defense’s overall plan to increase strategic responsiveness in the face of threats posed by the Global War on Terrorism,” according to the release.
But some enduring locations, such as Kaiserslautern, are losing units to other enduring locations, such as Grafenwöhr. “Part of the plan is to put a lot of support units at Grafenwöhr because Graf is a big function for us,” Anderson said.
And some places thought not to be enduring — such as Baumholder — will see an increase in troops: Company B, 501st Military Intelligence Battalion, of Wackernheim, and Company B, 141st Signal Battalion, of Wiesbaden, are relocating to Baumholder this fiscal year.
“It’s what makes sense right now,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a permanent move, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not.
“We’ve talked about in the past that we wanted to give back Baumholder [to Germany]. But there’s been no decision on that. Right now, there’s space for those units and a need for those units.”
Likewise, a NATO brigade headquarters is moving from Belgium to Heidelberg this year, “to maximize synergy with the USAREUR staff,” the release stated. But previous plans have said that USAREUR will become 7th Army and move to Wiesbaden.
“The NATO headquarters is still supposed to stay here though,” Anderson said.
In that one NATO move, some 168 soldiers, 44 U.S. civilian employees and 318 family members will leave Belgium, according to the release. But most soldiers’ positions will have been cut “as a result of a U.S. Army initiative to civilianize support functions,” the release stated.
Approximately 34 soldiers, 34 U.S. civilian employees, and 102 family members will relocate to Germany.
USAREUR estimated that this year total U.S. force numbers would diminish by 1,233 soldiers in Germany, along with their 1,845 spouses and children. In Italy, 46 soldiers and 69 family members would depart, and the Netherlands would bid farewell to 26 soldiers and about 69 family members.
Among the other changes is that of personnel services delivery — where soldiers get identification cards and passports, and request retirements, evaluations and a variety of other paperwork. Instead of going to a personnel services battalion, soldiers will be served at their unit personnel office.
Where they're going ...
- 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, Büdingen, Germany.
- Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, and Company B, 226th Medical Logistics Battalion, Kaiserslautern, Germany
- 38th Personnel Services Battalion, Bamberg, Germany.
- 55th Personnel Services Battalion, Hanau, Germany.
- 90th Personnel Services Battalion, Baumholder, Germany.
- 64th Replacement Company, Hanau.
Units relocating within Germany
- Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 191st Ordnance Battalion, Kaiserslautern, to Bamberg.
- 574th Supply Company, Mannheim, to Grafenwöhr.
- 1st Inland Cargo Transfer Company, Kaiserslautern to Grafenwöhr.
- 5th Maintenance Company (Ordnance), Kaiserslautern, to Grafenwöhr.
- Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 709th Military Police Battalion, Hanau, to Grafenwöhr.
- Company B, 501st Military Intelligence Battalion, Wackernheim to Baumholder.
- Company B, 141st Signal Battalion, Wiesbaden, to Baumholder.
Units returning to the U.S.
- 4th Platoon, Company B, 249th Engineer Battalion, Schwetzingen, Germany.
Units converting to modular units
- Company A, 226th Medical Logistics Battalion, Kaiserslautern, converts to 8th Medical Logistics Company.
- 421st Medical Battalion, Wiesbaden, converts to a modular multifunctional medical battalion.
U.S. Army NATO Brigade
- The U.S. Army NATO Brigade is reorganizing, and its headquarters will relocate to Heidelberg. The brigade’s three subordinate battalions are AFNORTH (Brunssum, Netherlands), AFSOUTH (Naples, Italy), and SHAPE (Mons, Belgium).
Theater Sustainment Command
- USAREUR will establish a Theater Sustainment Command located in Kaiserslautern to provide theater-level logistics planning and distribution management capabilities.