FORT BENNING, Ga. - The first Fort Knox, Ky., unit pegged for relocation to the Maneuver Center of Excellence has cranked up basic combat training on Sand Hill.

The 2nd Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment, succeeded 1st Battalion, 378th Infantry Regiment - a Reserve unit from LaFayette, La. - at a transfer-of-authority ceremony Jan. 11 in the 30th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception) headquarters building. The battalion represents the 192nd Infantry Brigade, which now falls under the Armor School as part of the Base Realignment and Closure shakeup.

"We are excited to have another great command team join (us) in the challenging mission of training new Soldiers for the generating force," said Col. Terrence McKenrick, the 192nd Infantry Brigade commander. "Your leadership, experience and expertise will ensure we continue to enforce standards and discipline. ... We look forward to the many accomplishments that your team will achieve as we strengthen the Army's foundation and continue to build the world's best Soldiers."

Known as "The Professionals," the 2nd Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment, is the first Fort Knox battalion headquarters to complete the BRAC move to Fort Benning. They're led by Lt. Col. Christopher Willis and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Brown.

"It's a huge honor," Willis said. "It means a lot to be the spearhead, the first unit from the Armor School down here at Fort Benning."

Willis took over as battalion commander in June 2009, and Brown came on board soon after that. They immediately began planning the move.

The headquarters element stood down four companies at Fort Knox, cased the battalion colors in early October and arrived at Fort Benning a month later. It brought 12 Soldiers and picked up another 100 cadre members here. The latter includes three companies plucked from the 47th Infantry Regiment's 2nd and 3rd battalions, which were reassigned into the new formation to finalize the transfer.

Willis praised the efforts put into preparing for his battalion's arrival.

"You have all bent over backwards to make us feel we're part of the team," he told the audience.

The 2nd Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment, had conducted basic training at Fort Knox since January 1987. Working alongside a sister battalion, they produced more than 140,000 Soldiers for the Army.

Meanwhile, the 1st Battalion, 378th Infantry Regiment, was inactivated following its 10-month stint at Sand Hill. The "Gladiators" graduated 2,000 Soldiers along the way.

The unit came to Fort Benning last March with four Reserve companies out of Kentucky, Alabama, Florida and Virginia. Those Soldiers primarily served under the 47th Infantry Regiment.

"Through extraordinary hard work and outstanding leadership, you have improved all aspects of training," McKenrick said. "You set the highest standards of performance and professionalism while taking great care of our cadre, Soldiers and their families."

Lt. Col. Joseph D'costa, commander of 1st Battalion, 378th Infantry Regiment, said his unit faced some of the "busiest and most challenging times" in the past year.

"This battalion spent countless hours helping civilians become Soldiers," he said. "We could not have asked for any more dedication from this group of patriots. ... We live in a dangerous world. There has never been a greater need for an Army that is well-disciplined and well-prepared."

Counting trainees, the new battalion will number about 1,250 personnel at any given time. Its first cycle began Wednesday.

Willis said cadre anticipate a different basic combat training landscape at Fort Benning.

"It was smaller up there. Down here, there are a lot more units training, so we have to plan a little further out," he said. "Additionally, the environment down here is different - it's hotter, we have longer summers, but the winter's a little bit milder. Up there, we had to worry about cold-weather casualties. Down here, we're worried more about heat casualties in the summer."

Page last updated Wed January 19th, 2011 at 12:54