BAUMHOLDER, Germany — After the colors were cased and their history together eulogized, soldiers readied for their final march as members of Delta Battery, 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery.
On Thursday, the Delta Battery “Wolfpack” was inactivated as part of the Army’s unfolding plan for transformation.
But before the soldiers marched off, they listened as their commander gushed with praise.
“It is the soldier who takes my lousy ideas and turns them into great action,” said Maj. Jeffrey Schmidt, the battery’s commander for the last 30 months, nearly twice as long as the typical stint in the position. It was Schmidt who trained the battery for its deployment to Iraq in November 2005, and stuck around to lead them through a year in the desert, using radar to track down enemy rocket and mortar fire.
The unit, which operates out of the small Strassburg Kaserne near Baumholder, will be broken up and its members redistributed to other enduring units as part of the effort to establish a more decentralized, fast moving Army.
Instead of operating at the division level, Delta Battery is being redirected around brigade combat teams. Doing so will strengthen those teams as they deploy, said Lt. Col. Thomas Matsel, commander of the 1st Battalion 94th Field Artillery. “They (brigade combat teams) need to come in self-sufficient,” Matsel said.
The final destinations for Delta Battery members are still being planned. But in the weeks ahead, soldiers will be busy turning in equipment, transferring to other units and preparing for PCS moves.
“It’s a bittersweet day for the battalion,” Matsel said during the ceremony, held at the Strassburg Kaserne.
“From a personal standpoint, it’s a sad day. There’s a piece of history that’s being retired. But it’s still a part of history,” said Matsel, reflecting on the battery shortly before the ceremony.
After reminiscing about their history, casing the colors and playing the Iron Soldier March and Army song, the Wolfpack’s inactivation was final.
Moments later the sound of the soaring old road song “Radar Love” burst from the speakers.
As the soldiers marched off to the rhythm, the voice from the speaker sang the line: “Oh, one more radar lover gone.”