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Breaking Military News Alerts
August 25, 2004
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By Jon R. Anderson,
Stars and Stripes European Edition
HEIDELBERG, Germany — The top two Army
commands in Europe will be merged into a single rapidly deployable
headquarters as part of an overhaul of U.S. forces overseas.
V Corps, which led the assault into Iraq, and U.S. Army Europe,
its parent command, will morph into one unit combining the functions
of both headquarters, USAREUR commander Gen. B.B. Bell wrote in
a message to troops and families throughout Europe on Saturday.
The announcement comes on the heels of President Bush’s decision
to withdraw up to 70,000 troops from Europe and South Korea.
Currently, USAREUR has 62,000 troops spread across 240 installations.
Most of those bases are clustered in 14 communities, with the vast
majority in Germany.
“We expect to reduce those numbers by two-thirds over the next
10 years,” Bell wrote. “Our remaining communities will have access
to advanced training facilities, high capacity power-projection
infrastructure, modernized well-being infrastructure and services,
and state-of-the art communications.”
Armored and 1st
Infantry divisions, both heavy tank and mechanized infantry
units in Germany, will move to bases in the United States as part
of the restructuring. Officials hope to move one of the Army’s new
Stryker Brigades to the Grafenwöhr training hub in eastern Germany,
Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, will get a third
battalion of paratroops as well as additional support units, Bell
Units remaining in Europe will be joined by rotational brigades
from the States, which primarily will deploy to new “forward operating
sites in the territories of our new NATO partners to the east,”
Romania, Bulgaria and Poland have been singled out by defense officials
as possible hosts.
Overseeing it all will be the new merged command, named U.S. Army
Europe & Task Force 5.
With USAREUR a four-star command and V Corps a three-star billet,
it’s unclear whether the new command will be led by a three- or
USAREUR and V Corps’ separate brigades — mostly logistics and support
units — will be merged and streamlined into what officials are calling
Units of Action, under a new Armywide reorganization of combat formations.
“These UAs will provide the correct mix of rapidly deployable,
early entry enablers for joint operations,” wrote Bell.
Army forces in Europe will include UAs for aviation, engineering,
communications, military police, intelligence, artillery, medical
“We will also establish one or two additional small, light and
mobile [Joint Task Force]-capable headquarters ready for contingencies
around the globe,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Bell stated, many units may soon be moving out of Europe
or disbanding entirely. “Some units may inactive or return to [the
continental United States] in the relative near-term,” wrote Bell.
But, he added, “There will be no surprises. If your unit is affected
you and you and your family will have time to properly prepare.”
Bell also promised that no unit would be restationed directly from
combat zones in Afghanistan
Every deployed unit “will redeploy and reintegrate at its European
home base first,” he pledged. “No family will be left to move themselves.”
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