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Units trade patches as restructuring continues across Fort Hood

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.Posted

Over the coming months, some Fort Hood engineers will be trading in the little seahorse patch for the iconic horse head of the 1st Cavalry Division.

Brigades in the division are continuing to transition to meet the new standards required by the Army’s force restructuring plan, which was outlined and announced this summer. The three brigade combat teams are bidding farewell to the name brigade special troops battalion to be reflagged as brigade engineer battalions.

These battalions will go from having one engineer company to two. The additional companies are coming from Fort Hood’s 36th Engineer Brigade.

“They’ll still be engineers and they’ll still be in an engineer company,” said Capt. Chris Lynch, logistics officer for the 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade. “They’ll move to another side of the post and then change out their patch.”

Behind the scenes, he said plenty of work is required to make the transition smooth, including equipment transfers, paperwork and meeting the new requirements of being part of a brigade combat team.

“During the transition our goal is to be down there manned, equipped and trained,” said Capt. Clint Kupari, commander of the 572nd Mobility Augmentation Company, 8th Engineer Battalion. His company will be following its battalion’s colors to join Cav’s 2nd Brigade around June.

“It’s logistically oriented to start with,” he said. “However, it’s pretty interesting to know it will add significant capability to the brigade combat teams. It’s beefing them up. ... The way it’s structured, it will make the engineers more relevant and a clearer identified force in the brigade combat teams.”

The previous set up had an engineer section that provided insight to the special troops battalion’s command team. Now the command team will be engineers, Kupari said.

“We’ll be able to build upon and train with one another and offer more to the brigade combat team.”

The Cav’s 1st Brigade has already transitioned its special troops battalion to an engineer, and 3rd Brigade will be next, according to division officials.

Until Kupari’s company moves, he said he will continue to train his soldiers to bring a professional unit across post.

“We’re leaning forward on being manned and equipped when we get down there,” he said.

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