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Reorganization will affect National Guard units statewide, Merrill and Baraboo to remain open but lose units

Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar
Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Army National Guard will vacate two armories under a plan to reorganize its units and consolidate operations.

The Guard will vacate the Richland Center and Burlington armories. In addition, armories in Merrill and Baraboo will lose the units that currently occupy those facilities but will remain open for Army National Guard Soldiers participating in the Recruit Sustainment Program.

The once-vacated armory in Berlin will be reopened under the reorganization plan.

The reorganization will be effective beginning later in 2014 and be complete by late 2015.The moves are part of a major Army-directed unit reorganization. The reorganization also allows several units currently spread out in multiple locations across the state to consolidate operations in fewer locations to improve command and control of the unit, unit cohesion, efficiencies and accountability. Each location was strategically chosen so as not to affect the Wisconsin National Guard's overall readiness.

The Wisconsin Army National Guard created a re-stationing committee made up of unit commanders and state Army leadership to assess required changes and identified units to consolidate while also working to reduce travel time and costs for individual Guardsmen travelling to armories and units travelling to training areas.

The Wisconsin National Guard will maintain ownership of the affected armories, and it will honor its commitments to maintain each property and will periodically check each facility for security purposes and to ensure each building's structural integrity.

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."

Wisconsin Army National Guard leaders strategically chose which armories to vacate to minimize the impact on the organization's ability to carry out its domestic and international missions."We remain always ready and always there," Dunbar said. "We are committed to serve the people of the State of Wisconsin in times of civil emergency, natural disaster and when our nation calls on the Wisconsin National Guard to serve in times of war and conflict."

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