Mo. Army National Guard to get leaner

Military police will grow, but the state Guard would lose 525 troops.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:49 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 25, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Army National Guard outlined a restructuring plan Monday that would place more soldiers in military police positions and fewer in field artillery and engineering units as part of the Pentagon’s plan to remake the Guard for modern warfare.

Adjutant Gen. King Sidwell described the reorganization as the largest since World War II.

The shuffling of duties and soldiers among the state’s 50-plus armories also is intended to concentrate various specialties geographically, which Sidwell said would help units respond more quickly to in-state emergencies.

As a result, however, some soldiers may have to learn new duties — becoming trained as a military police officer instead of an engineer, for example — to remain based at their local armories, he said.

The number of Missouri’s authorized Army Guard positions will decline by 525 to a total of 7,915 soldiers. Current Army Guard membership already is below that, at 7,825 soldiers, Sidwell said.

The changes are to begin this summer and run through September 2006, the Guard said.

Missouri’s reorganization is part of the Army Guard’s plan to reorganize itself into smaller, task-oriented groups, instead of broader divisions.

“We have to have a smaller, lighter, more agile force,” Sidwell said.

Engineers and field artillery personnel will both take large cuts. The number of engineers in the Missouri Army National Guard will be reduced from the current 2,400 to about 1,400 and field artillery personnel will drop from the current 1,000 to about 550. Meanwhile, the number of military police officers will eventually more than double from the current 600 to about 1,250, Guard officials said.

No armories will close under the plan, but the number of soldiers reporting to each armory will change — with some sites becoming responsible for more soldiers and others, fewer.

For example, the Warrenton armory will be assigned a total of 111 soldiers with the 3175th Military Police Company. It currently is home to 65 soldiers in a detachment of the 1438th Engineering Company and 66 soldiers in a detachment of the 745th Maintenance Support Battalion.

The Columbia armory, meanwhile, will have 191 soldiers assigned to it instead of 70. The site currently serves as a headquarters for the 1-128th Field Artillery Battalion. In the future, it will become a detachment headquarters for the 175th Military Police Battalion and a base for the 1140th Military Police Company and 4175th Military Police Criminal Investigation Detachment.

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