April 1, 2006

Engineers headquarters inactivates as part of ongoing transformation

By Maj. Cotton Puryear
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Lopez helps roll up the organizational colors of the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment of the Engineer Brigade, 28th Infantry Division while Col. William C. Schneck. Jr., the brigade commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Smith, the brigade sergeant major, hold the staff. Lopez was the first command sergeant major when the brigade was re-designated in 1995. The unit conducted an inactivation ceremony on Apr. 1 at the unit's armory in Bowling Green. Va. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office)

BOWLING GREEN , Va. --Senior leaders of the Engineer Brigade, 28th Infantry Division took part in a ceremony on Apr. 1, 2006 to case the unit’s colors and inactivate the brigade headquarters organization based at the armory in Bowling Green, Va. The unit’s inactivation is part of an ongoing transformation process in both the Virginia National Guard and the United States Army, and a new unit will be stationed in the armory where the brigade headquarters once occupied.

Acknowledging that the inactivation ceremony was a “sad day” for many of those present, Brig, Gen. Bob Newman, the adjutant general of Virginia, said the transformation was a part of the Army’s transformation into a lighter, faster and more maneuverable force.

“This unit has a long history, and it has changed throughout the years as the mission it has been designated to perform has changed,” Newman said. “We are in a fight now to transform the Army and the Army National Guard into a different kind of fighting force. The tradition ideas of combat that we have known in years past have changed.”

Col. William C. Schneck. Jr., the engineer brigade commander, applauded the members of the brigade headquarters on the most recent accomplishments, including support the 276th Engineer Battalion’s combat tour in Iraq, support for Hurricane Katrina and handling the many challenges of transformation.

Instead of having engineers in dedicated engineer battalions or brigades, engineer companies will be assigned directly to maneuver brigades. “We are transforming into a modular force, and this will present combat engineers with a number of challenges,” Schneck said.

Among those challenges are making sure that highly-technical engineer equipment is maintained to standard, and making sure that engineers are properly trained and employed so they can accomplish their mission.

“The expertise of the engineer captains, lieutenant and noncommissioned officers will be key to making the new organization work successfully,” Schneck said.

The official lineage and honors of the Headquarter and Headquarters Company, Engineer Brigade, 28th Infantry Division go back to Apr. 10, 1914 when the unit was organized in the Virginia Volunteers at Richmond as the Field Company, Signal Corps. The unit has been through multiple realignments and re-designations over the years, and they were reorganized and re-designated as the engineer brigade headquarters on Sept. 1, 1995.

The Bowling Green armory will now be home to Tactical Command Post 2 (TAC CP 2) of the 29th Infantry Division headquartered at Fort Belvoir. Va. According to Capt. Chris Brown, the full-time operations officer for the unit, the TAC CP 2 has the mission of providing command and control for 29th Infantry Division. In addition, the organization also has training readiness oversight for numerous units in Virginia and other parts of the country.

Soldiers that were assigned to the engineer brigade headquarters had a number of options to continue their service in the Virginia Guard, Brown said. Some Soldiers were able to find slots in the new unit’s organization that called for their current military skill designation, and others have been given the opportunity to train for new skills to fill slots in the TAC CP 2. Some Soldiers elected to transfer to other units in the state where slots were available.

The official activation date for the TAC CP 2 was Feb. 15, and the engineer brigade headquarters will be official inactivated on Apr. 15.

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