Last of its kind: 31st Chem inactivates at Fort Hood
December 21, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas -- The last Biological Integrated Detection System company in the Army was officially inactivated during a ceremony here, Dec. 12.
The 31st Chemical Company, 2nd Chemical Battalion, 48th Chemical Brigade inactivated as the BIDS vehicle has been replaced by a more advanced generation of equipment.
"The company is being inactivated because the technology we use in this company for biological detection has now been incorporated into the new Stryker platform and the nuclear, biological, chemical vehicle," said Capt. Jon Phillips, commander, 31st Chem. Co. "So they can now use the technology we use, plus more, with less Soldiers."
The Stryker is an armored vehicle with uses such as troop transportation, mobile gun system, weapon carrier, medical evacuation and now nuclear, biological, chemical reconnaissance.
"We are an old guard unit and the last to change out," Phillips said. The new platforms of biological detection equipment has been fielded for approximately three years before this last "old guard" unit inactivates to provide a security net while the effectiveness of the new systems was being observed.
"In 2009, with the pending fielding of the new Strykers NBCRVs that contain the biological detection capabilities, the Army elected to remove the BIDS from active-duty service," said Lt. Col. Christopher Hoffman, commander of 2nd Chem. Bn. "In spite of this decision, Soldiers and leaders in this fine company have maintained their capability to support our homeland and contingency operations when called upon."
The ceremony was considered the turning of a page for this company.
"This is the beginning of an end," 1st Sgt. Reinerio Urbina, the 31st Chem. Co. first sergeant, said. "There is still work to be done."
The company will complete its mission by transitioning Soldiers and materials to active-duty positions.
"We started moving Soldiers to new units," Phillips said. "We have to transfer all our equipment, some of which may be going to other units in the fight."
The 31st Chem. Co. has a long history of conducting biological defense operations throughout several periods of reactivation since 1942.
"Our history dates back all the way to World War II," Phillips said. "There have been Soldiers of our unit who have made great contributions to contingency operations since then."
Although they are being inactivated now, the company is capable of being reactivated once again to fight another fight.
"While it is sad to see this guidon cased today," Hoffman said, "I am confident … one day we will once again witness the 31st Chem. Co., colors in front of an equally great group of 'Dragon' Soldiers with a new set of capabilities to confront a new enemy."