Ft Benning Columbus Prepare for Loss of Brigade Combat Team

first_imgSeveral battalions from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team are preparing to depart from Fort Benning over the next four months as the Army trims its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2018.Fort Benning had been slated to lose 3,400 personnel under the Army’s latest round of restructuring, but the Columbus, Ga., post now is expected to lose only 2,200 to 2,300 soldiers due to normal attrition and the Army’s decision not to staff another battalion that it planned to activate, reported the Ledger-Enquirer. The remaining personnel from the brigade combat team will be part of a new infantry battalion task force at the installation.“The majority of the soldiers that we have will be departing and moving on to other military posts,” said Col. Michael Simmering, commander of the 3rd Brigade. “They’ll be continuing their military careers. We do have, I’m guessing, about 400 or so that will [separate from the service] just out of a result of normal attrition from the Army. But there’s not a big push of shoving soldiers out of the Army. That’s a misconception by a lot of people,” Simmering said.For the Columbus region, the impact will amount to a loss of about 6,600 residents, when family members are included. Their departure will translate into the loss of $130 million in local sales, estimates the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce.Over the Army’s two rounds of restructuring this decade, the region has fared relatively well, said Gary Jones, executive vice president of military affairs for the chamber. Fort Benning has accounted for only 1.8 percent of the 120,000 soldiers the Army will have eliminated from FY 2013 to 2018.“When the Army draws down 120,000 and our part is just 2,200, we have a great success story,” Jones said. “That says, ‘OK, did we take a disproportionate lick? Did we take a light lick? Did we take a heavy lick?’ We took a very light lick because you had some places that have lost more than brigades,” Jones said. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img

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