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Army cuts result in net gain for Hawaii

  • Army soldiers ran out of a helicopter after landing at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows during training exercises last week. Soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team from Schofield practiced air assault via helicopter at Bellows and moving through a mock Afghan village as they prepare for a deployment to Afghanistan.

Hawaii will gain about 165 soldiers under an Army-wide reorganization that will cut the force from 570,000 soldiers in 2010 to 490,000 by the end of 2017 — a 14 percent reduction across the Army, military officials announced today.

Army brigades of about 3,500 soldiers each will inactivate in Texas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Colorado, New York, Kansas, Georgia and Washington state — with some states seeing a reduction of two brigades. Two brigades in Germany also will be inactivated this year.

The Army will drop from 45 brigade combat teams to 33 overall.

The Army said the reductions reflect reduced budgets, including the 2011 Budget Control Act (separate from sequestration cuts) that trimmed Defense Department budget by $485 billion.

“I am very pleased that the Army decided to leave its force structure in Hawaii untouched for the near future,” said U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono. “This is important because the Army along with the other branches of the armed forces will play a critical role in President Obama’s strategy to rebalance to the Pacific. I will continue to work closely with my Senate Armed Services colleagues to ensure that our military has the capability to fulfill this national security imperative.”

Schofield Barracks is expected to receive about 110 more soldiers as a result of the reorganization, while Fort Shafter would get about 55 more soldiers.

Brigades at Schofield will gain enhanced engineer and firepower capability, the Army said.

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