FORT IRWIN • The Army will be changing the number of soldiers stationed at four installations over the next two years, including Fort Irwin, which will decrease by 295 soldiers.
Three units at Fort Irwin will be impacted by the changes — the 79th Ordnance Company, the 557th Maintenance Company and the 699th Maintenance Company, according to an announcement by the Department of the Army.
The reduction at Fort Irwin will take place between Oct. 1, 2010, and Sept. 16, 2011, according to Scott Jones, strategic planner for the 916th Support Brigade.
The 79th Ordnance Company, which works with explosive devices, said Jones, will be activated and deployed overseas.
It is unknown whether the unit will be sent to either Iraq of Afghanistan, according to Fort Irwin Spokesman John Wagstaffe.
The 699th Maintenance Company will be converted to a modular design, which means the unit will require less workers but with more specialized skills, according to Jones. Maintenance companies provide support services to combat units like taking care of equipment out in the field. Soldiers — from both maintenance companies — with the skills needed by the newly formed unit will keep their jobs. Other soldiers from those companies will either be retrained or reassigned to a different location, said Jones.
And some, he said, may decide to leave the service.
"You're going to have your normal attrition," Jones said. The cuts will impact soldiers in the units of all ranks, from privates to first sergeants, he noted. Jones said that the reduction of soldiers may mean jobs on post previously held by soldiers may be filled by civilian workers.
Fort Irwin currently hosts approximately 4,466 active duty soldiers and 243 soldiers from the Army Reserve and the National Guard, according to Wagstaffe. There are also an additional 3,500 to 5,000 soldiers that rotate through the fort every month for training, he said.
The other installations affected by the change include Fort Riley, Kan., which will increase by 2,440 soldiers; White Sands Missile Range, N.M., which will increase by 418 soldiers; and Fort Carson, Colo., which will decrease by 376 soldiers.
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