As part of the Army’s plan to reach an active-duty end-strength of 450,000, it will reorganize the 25th Division Stryker brigade and combat aviation brigade this spring. The Army’s plan to reduce the force to 450,000 are not new, but details about where those cuts would be made had not been released until now.
The 25th is reorganizing its Stryker Brigade into an infantry brigade. The moves will result in a loss of about 1,200 soldiers and 330 Stryker vehicles, according to Maj. Gen. Charles Flynn, the commanding general of the Hawaii-based division.
The Strykers will be re-assigned to the Washington National Guard. Back in July, when the Defense Department announced brigade realignments as part of the downsizing, the plan was to convert the Washington National Guard’s 81st Armored Brigade Combat Team into a Stryker Brigade Combat Team. Currently, the 81st operates a combined fleet of M1A1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles,
With the loss of the Strykers, the 25th will be forced to release, 1,200 soldiers. They will be sent to the Joint Readiness Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, for extensive training to become qualified for assignment within an infantry brigade.
Simultaneously, division is exchanging its OH-58 Kiowa scout helicopters in its Combat Aviation Brigade for 24 AG-64 Apache attack helicopters as part of the “Army’s ongoing aviation restructure initiative. According to Flynn, the Apaches are expected to arrive by ship in April.
The 25th Division’s troop cuts and conversion are mirrored at other Army posts. In the downsizing involved to get to 450,000 troops by the end of fiscal 2018, the Army’s July announcement stated Schofield Barracks was one of six installations that would each lose more than 1,000 troops. The others are: Fort Benning, Georgia (3,402 troops), Fort Hood, Texas (3,350), Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska (2,631), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington (1,251), and Fort Bliss, Texas.
In 2012, the active-duty Army had an end-strength of about 570,000 soldiers. At the end of fiscal 2016, troop strength is projected at 475,000; at the end of fiscal 2017, 460,000; and at the end of FY2018, 450,000.