By Mr. Robert Timmons (IMCOM)August 20, 2015
Fort Jackson soon will bid farewell to what has been called "one of the best Advanced Individual Training units" in the Army.
Commander Lt. Col. Dennis W. Kerwood of the 187th Ordnance Battalion and Command Sgt. Maj. B. Scot Kernan, the unit's senior enlisted leader, will encase the battalion colors at 10 a.m. Friday during an inactivation ceremony on Fort Jackson's Victory Field.
Army force realignment has led to inactivation of the unit, whose mission is to train "warrior mechanics." The battalion conducted AIT before its operations moved to Fort Lee, Virginia, and elsewhere.
The 187th Ordnance Battalion was constituted May 1, 1936, and activated April 1, 1942, as 3rd Battalion, 54th Quartermaster Regiment at Fort Custer, Michigan. It was designated as the 187th Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Battalion on Oct 7, 1942, and saw action across the globe during World War II.
In 1945, the unit was inactivated at Camp Shanks, New York. It was reactivated Jan. 12, 1987 when the 12th Battalion, 4th Combat Training Brigade was redesignated the 187th Ordnance Battalion.
In 2014, Maj. Gen. Ross E. Ridge, commander of the Center for Initial Military Training, called the unit one of the best he had seen "across TRADOC, not only in terms of separate and secure, but also motivation and discipline of cadre and Soldiers, and pride in the unit."
With training completed, the battalion's training companies already have inactivated, said Capt. Eduardo Colon, commander of the unit's headquarters company.
Kerwood said he was proud his unit had accomplished its mission to "provide our Army with the most disciplined, physically fit, respectful and relevant warrior mechanics possible" while developing "all of our leaders to ensure they leave Fort Jackson better than they arrived."
The unit's physical fitness regimen also gives Kerwood a sense of pride.
During its time at Fort Jackson, the battalion was noted students' graduating with high Army Physical Fitness Test scores. All classes had an average score of 261 points during the latest 26 months, with one platoon of 52 trainees averaging 279 points, Colon said. That top score is almost twice what Soldiers need to graduate.
"Inactivation shouldn't be confused with deactivation," said Sgt. 1st Class Travis Bowen, HHC's first sergeant. In Army tradition, an inactivated unit can be reactivated; a deactivated unit usually is gone forever.
The unit cadre will drop as a result of normal attrition, Bowen said. Some Soldiers will move to other bases; some will retire or leave the service after their enlistments are over; and a few will move to other units around Fort Jackson.
Once the 187th inactivates, it won't fade into memory -- the Army saves all unit historical files.
Army Regulation 870-5, para 7-6 and 7-7 states that once a unit inactivates, its organizational historical files and historical property - including flags and guidons -- are stored under guidance from the Center of Military History.
If a unit is reactivated, it will regain the historical property.
The unit also accomplished one last objective, Kerwood said.
"As our student population dwindled and the inactivation loomed closer," the objective to provide the Army with the best resources possible became clear, he said. Those resources included "facilities to Fort Jackson; equipment, training aids and heraldry items to the Ordnance School and needs of the Army; and disciplined, competent, engaged leaders in support of the Army's personnel needs."