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The incoming commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Lt. Col. Michael Todd, left, will oversee the unit’s transformation. Outgoing commander Col. Dana Pittard stands next to him.
The incoming commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Lt. Col. Michael Todd, left, will oversee the unit’s transformation. Outgoing commander Col. Dana Pittard stands next to him. (Ben Murray / S&S)
The incoming commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Lt. Col. Michael Todd, left, will oversee the unit’s transformation. Outgoing commander Col. Dana Pittard stands next to him.
The incoming commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Lt. Col. Michael Todd, left, will oversee the unit’s transformation. Outgoing commander Col. Dana Pittard stands next to him. (Ben Murray / S&S)
The large, white “3” of the Vilseck, Germany-based 3rd Brigade flies high at the change-of-command ceremony Thursday. The Army announced the 3rd BCT will be reduced to a “cadre strength” detachment to make room for a Stryker Brigade Combat Team in 2006.
The large, white “3” of the Vilseck, Germany-based 3rd Brigade flies high at the change-of-command ceremony Thursday. The Army announced the 3rd BCT will be reduced to a “cadre strength” detachment to make room for a Stryker Brigade Combat Team in 2006. (Ben Murray / S&S)

VILSECK, Germany — The Army announced Thursday that it will reduce the 1st Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team in Vilseck to a small detachment to make room for a Stryker Brigade Combat Team that is set to arrive as early as 2006.

The drawdown, timed to begin with the the 3rd BCT’s official change of command to Lt. Col Michael Todd this week, will begin immediately, 1st ID spokesman Bill Coppernoll said.

“In accordance with the Army and [European Command] transformation plans, the introduction of Stryker BCT capability will follow the 3rd BCT, 1st Infantry Division being drawn down to cadre strength,” Coppernoll said.

Thursday’s announcement set in stone a movement of forces openly talked about in Army circles but not confirmed until this week. As with many units involved in the U.S. military’s consolidation and transformation plans, details on the specific destiny of the combat team had remained secret.

The announcement did not, however, contain information about how many troops would remain in the cadre-size brigade, or where it might eventually reside. That kind of information, Coppernoll said, along with the identity of the Stryker unit to replace the 3rd BCT, would be revealed later.

To cut down the size of the brigade, the 3rd BCT will rely on soldiers already scheduled to leave the unit, then reassign troops to other jobs throughout the Army, some likely within the 1st ID, Coppernoll said.

To do that, the brigade plans to assess soldiers’ needs on a case-by-case basis, and Coppernoll stressed that care for military families is the top item on the Army’s list of concerns.

In releasing command of the brigade on a Vilseck parade ground, Col. Dana Pittard became part of the string of command changes in the Grafenwöhr-Vilseck-Hohenfels area that will see the replacement of most top military officials in the region by summer’s end.

On Wednesday in Grafenwöhr, Col. Richard Jung handed control of the 100th Area Support Group, which oversees the operation of the three training areas, to Col. Brian Boyle, a former artillery unit commander and Army War College attendee.

Also on the schedule is the change out of all three of Hohenfels’ base officials within a month, and the replacement of the commander of the 7th Army Training Command, Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling.

Following this week’s ceremonies, Lt. Col. George Copeland, commander of Hohenfels’ 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, next week will hand off authority to Lt. Col. Timothy Delass on July 13. Two days later, the ranking officer at the base’s Combat Maneuver Training Center, Col. Mike Davis, will relinquish command to Col. Thomas Vandal.

And on July 22, Lt. Col. David Witty, commander of Hohenfels’ 282nd Base Support Battalion, will be replaced by Lt. Col. James Matheson.

After Hertling’s replacement on Aug. 4, the network of training complexes in eastern Germany will have seen a clean sweep of top brass that started in June with the dissolution of Vilseck’s former tenant command, the 409th BSB.

The enormity of the responsibility now handled by the 100th ASG commander was underlined by the setting for Wednesday’s ceremony: Jung handed Boyle the unit flag against a backdrop of sprawling construction meant to convert the post into one of the Army’s hubs in Germany.

In his speech at the ceremony, Installation Management Agency Europe chief Russell Hall said $1.5 billion will eventually be spent on the expansion, which he called “the most complex and comprehensive military construction restationing in Europe in the past 10 years.”

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