The Wisconsin Army National Guard says Merrill and Baraboo will lose their guard units under a plan to reorganize and consolidate operations. The buildings will remain open for Army National Guard Soldiers participating in the Recruit Sustainment Program.The guard says the moves are part of a major Army-directed unit reorganization.
The reorganization will be effective beginning later in 2014 and be complete by late 2015. The Burlington and Richland Center armories will also be vacated during the process. The once-vacated armory in Berlin will be reopened under the reorganization plan.
The reorganization is also due in part to changes in the structure of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The brigade combat team’s 32nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion will transform into the newly created 173rd Brigade Engineer Battalion.
The battalion, which currently maintains its headquarters in Wausau and a headquarters detachment in Merrill, will consolidate in Wausau. The 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s reorganization also includes the addition of a new artillery battery and a downsizing of the 132nd Brigade Support Battalion.
The 951st Engineer Company, which is currently part of the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, will be reorganized under the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team as Company A of the 173rd Brigade Engineer Battalion. The unit will remain headquartered in Tomahawk and maintain a detachment in Rhinelander.
Meanwhile what is currently known as Company C of the 32nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, will be renamed Company C of the 173rd Brigade Engineer Battalion. The unit will move from Antigo to Camp Douglas. What is now Company A of the Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Onalaska, will be renamed Company B of the 173rd Brigade Engineer Battalion. The current B Company of the Brigade Special Troops Battalion, which is headquartered in Madison with a detachment in Camp Douglas, will be renamed D Company of the 173rd Brigade Engineer Battalion.
Changes to the 1st Battalion, 120th Field Artillery will result in a detachment of the headquarters battery locating at the Berlin armory and the creation of Battery C, which will be located in the Oconomowoc armory.
The 32nd Military Police Company, which is currently headquartered in Milwaukee with a detachment in Oconomowoc, will consolidate in Milwaukee.
The 829th Engineer Company, which is currently headquartered in Chippewa Falls with detachment armories in Richland Center and Ashland, will undergo changes as well. Detachment 1, currently located in Richland Center, and the company headquarters, currently located in Chippewa Falls, will consolidate and move to Spooner. Meanwhile, the detachment in Ashland will be renamed Detachment 1 of the 829th Engineer Company.
The 824th Engineer Company also will move its operations from Richland Center to Spooner.
The 950th Engineer Company, which is currently headquartered in Superior with a detachment in Spooner, will consolidate its operations in Superior.
The 457th Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Company currently maintains its headquarters in Hartford and a detachment in Burlington. The Burlington detachment will be consolidated into the Hartford headquarters as the number of authorized personnel in the company decreases over the course of the next two years.
Company D, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion, in Baraboo and its Madison-based detachment will consolidate in Madison.
What is currently known as E Company, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion, which is headquartered in Waupaca with a detachment in Appleton, will be redesignated as G Company. The unit will consolidate its detachment and headquarters in Waupaca.
What is currently known as Detachment 1 of Company G, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion in Wisconsin Rapids, will be consolidated with the rest of the company in Mosinee and redesignated as F Company, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion.
Detachment 1 of Company F, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion in Eau Claire, will be consolidated with the rest of the company in Neillsville and redesignated as H Company, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion.
The 132nd Brigade Support Battalion will stand up a new forward support company – E Company, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion – as the result of the reorganization. That unit will be headquartered in Antigo.
“Change is never easy, but it is necessary,” said Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, the adjutant general of Wisconsin. “We are all Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen, who live in these same communities, and we could not do what we do as an organization without the support of the local communities that sustain and support us,” he added. “The close ties that bind us to the more than 60 communities across Wisconsin in which we maintain facilities are our lifeblood.”
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