By Linda D. Kozaryn, American Forces Press ServiceFebruary 26, 2007
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska, Feb. 23, 2007 - The 25th Infantry Division's 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team here is the first unit to employ the Army's new "reset" process to rapidly refurbish everything from M-16 rifles to state-of-the-art Stryker combat vehicles.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came here yesterday to check out the new process. Accompanied by Maj. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., commander of U.S. Army Alaska, Pace toured a huge maintenance facility where work is under way.
The 3,000 troops and 200 contractors employed in the effort "are dedicated to getting these machines cleaned up and turned faster than normal -- in this case, probably in four months instead of six," Pace said.
"That doesn't mean they're going to go back into combat in four months," he stressed. "But it means they'll be ready quicker than normal, thanks to the terrific energy on the part of the workers here and being able to buy the spare parts to get things fixed."
Jacoby said the reset mission is all about transformation. "Alaska is on the leading edge of supporting the war by providing modular forces for combatant commanders," he said.
"This is not business as usual for Fort Wainwright," he said. "What you see here is not business as usual for the United States Army.
"We're proud to be a part of this," Jacoby continued. "I'm privileged to have the chairman up here and to get a chance to show him great soldiers, family members and civilians who are putting their nose to the grind stone and holding up our end of the bargain."
Army Col. Burt Thompson, commander of the 25th Infantry Division's 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, said his people are focused on getting equipment coming out of Kuwait "ready to get back into the fight."
In the past, he said, when units needed to refurbish equipment, they sent it off to maintenance depots and the process took about six months. The new reset process aims to cut two months off that timeline by doing the majority of the work at home station.
"Can it be done' I think we're proving that it can," he said. "The priority here is to get this brigade reset in 120 days. The (Army) chief of staff made this a priority, and we're not going to let him down."
The brigade commander pointed out that the reset process involves more than just getting unit equipment ready for deployment. It also involves receiving and training new personnel.
"It's about the ability to marry people with equipment (in order) to execute a realistic, collective training strategy, which will begin for us in about June," he said. "We'll carry on with that until we're told to get ourselves on a fast chart to prepare for deployment."
In December, the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team was officially redesignated the 25th Infantry Division's 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. While most of the troops in the brigade today are newly assigned, about a third carried over from the old brigade, Thompson said.
"We're getting about 1,000 more soldiers by June, on top of about 1,200 we've already got," he said. "There's a lot of new folks, new leadership. It's a brand new team."
The 1,200 soldiers who served with the 172nd spent 16 months in Iraq. The newcomers will learn as much as they can from the combat veterans, Thompson said.
"They're enjoying it because they're seeing this thing develop before their eyes," he said. "They're going to get lots of new and refit equipment. They're excited about it."
Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Gabriel Cervantes, who joined the unit a week ago, agreed.
"Our soldiers are motivated," he said. "They are up for the task. It's all about attitude, and their attitude is great."