Shuffling of generals should help USAREUR transform
The generals reassigned in Germany this week will play a large role in how the Army transforms in Europe in coming years.
Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, who had been heading up U.S. Army Europe’s operations directorate in Heidelberg and coordinating its transformation plans, was named Monday as commander of the 1st Armored Division.
The Wiesbaden-based 1st AD was scheduled to be moved to the States in 2009. Now, at least some of the 12,000-soldier unit is expected to remain in Europe until 2010 or beyond.
Brig. Gen. David G. Perkins, who led the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwöhr, will replace Hertling in Heidelberg as the Army’s transformation point man. Perkins said changing times would mean changes to the Army’s ongoing process for moving soldiers and units within Europe and back to the States.
“The president recently announced a significant strengthening in the Army,” Perkins said. “It is yet to be determined what this means for USAREUR. The end-state envisioned a couple years ago is not going to be what [actual] end-state will be.”
Brig. Gen. David R. Hogg, assistant division commander (support) for 1st AD in Baumholder, will replace Perkins as the commander in Grafenwöhr.
The training centers in Grafenwöhr and nearby Hohenfels will be working with the future Army-led sites in Romania and Bulgaria, which are a new wrinkle to the Army’s structure in Europe. Starting this summer, battalions and eventually brigades are to begin rotating into Romania and Bulgaria for three to six months. Troops would not be accompanied by their families. The sites would be jointly run by host-nation militaries.
The sites also could be used as jumping-off points for training missions elsewhere in the 92-nation theater of the U.S. European Command, or be used to launch military operations.
The Pentagon did not announce the next assignment for the 1st AD’s current commander, Maj. Gen. Fred Robinson. The division’s public affairs officer, Maj. Wayne Marotto, said he did not know Robinson’s plans.
At least two major changes are causing USAREUR to scrutinize its transformation plan, Perkins said.
One is President Bush’s recent announcement to increase the size of the Army by 65,000 soldiers in the next five years, from 482,000 to 545,000. Those soldiers are going to need to be based somewhere, Perkins said. Europe might be an option for some.
The other change is the 21,500-troop “surge” in Iraq, mostly in Baghdad, and its ongoing effect on the Army in Europe.
“I think it’s prudent that we don’t stay wedded to a plan, now that the assumptions have changed,” Perkins said.
Hertling was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.