Permanent Deployment: JBER prepares to curtail hundreds of soldiers

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by Whitney LB Miller

ANCHORAGE - The military landscape here in Alaska is changing as the U.S. Army begins to downsize their forces across the board. Sending hundreds of soldiers and their families packing sooner than they expected.

'Your Military Link" reporter Whitney LB Miller takes an in depth look at what this means for operations on JBER and the entire state as the 2nd engineer brigade begins to pack up and ship out in "permanent deployment."

When a soldier signs on for a tour of duty in the Last Frontier they plan to stay here for at least Three years.

The 2d engineer brigade has received orders to curtail some men and women a lot earlier.

Under the budget control act of 2011 the united states army all across the nation is under strict orders to reduce and reorganize their forces.

A mandate that is directly affecting troops of the 2d engineer brigade on JBER.

Colonel Pete Andrysiak began commanding the brigade in 2012 and says he knew all along that the brigade would inactivate in 2015.

"it wasn't a surprise I wasn't blind sided when I showed up here to Alaska," said Andrysiak. "I knew that was one of the missions that we would have. Historically if you study history you know that after a war we typically downsize."

The federal goal with the new act - cut roughly 80,000 soldiers. Bringing the force down to a total of 490,000 active duty members.

On JBER the 2nd engineer brigade would loose an estimated 780 soldiers.

"The hard part is the people, " said Andrysiak. "When you have families that make decisions to move to a place and stay for a period of time they get settled they get comfortable."

Of the 700 plus positions on the table - a little more than 300 will be curtailed - 30 individuals are moving up to Fairbanks and the remaining four hundred plus will be moved to other units on JBER until their tour is complete. At that point those positions wont be re-filled.

Finding a place for these soldiers to go and assignments for them to fill is a tough job that falls on the shoulders of one woman Sgt. Andrea Reyes.

"At first I thought it was pretty difficult because your dealing with the soldiers and family members and their careers are on the line," said Reyes.

Keeping in mind each soldiers family make -up, Reyes was tasked with reviewing their skill level and current assignment then she places them in the best possible fit.

Reyes says all in all there are still units on JBER that need support.
Nearly 12 hundred soldiers will remain in the second engineer brigade until they inactivate.
In the meantime its business as usual.