News: Centurions combat multiplied
Story by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - The 725th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division increased its combat power by formally adding two additional companies to its ranks during a patch ceremony March 17, 2014 at the National Guard Headquarters Building at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
The two newest units in the Spartan Brigade are the 4th Quartermaster Detachment and the 716th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company. The Centurion Battalion’s numbers increased by a couple hundred paratroopers recently, both with these two new units, and the recently-acquired 8th Forward Surgical Team, which is currently deployed to Afghanistan on a nine-month rotation.
The new Centurions moved over from the 2nd Engineer Brigade, U.S. Army Alaska as part of ongoing, Army-wide force restructuring. Under the changes, USARAK is scheduled to decrease the amount of Soldiers stationed at JBER, while increasing the amount at Fort Wainwright.
The patch ceremony, featuring new paratroopers donning the 4-25 IBCT (ABN) shoulder sleeve insignia and maroon berets, formally welcomes the units into the brigade while significant logistic operations occur behind the scenes. Service Members, Department of the Army civilians and contractors are responsible for transferring, turning in, and accounting for large amounts of unit property as the realignment efforts take place.
The Spartan Brigade and Centurion Battalion’s Family Readiness Groups will grow as well, welcoming new Families to the units.
The new Centurion paratroopers are happy to be united with the large airborne community of the 4-25.
The 4th QM Det. commander, Capt. Sloane Mauldin, who hails from Fredericksburg, Va., said, “I originally was with the 4-25, and I came over to the 2nd Engineer Brigade specifically to command this company, so I’m excited to go back home, and be in an airborne brigade again.”
“My troopers are absolutely excited to be part of a unit with such great airborne lineage and history as the 4-25,” said Mauldin.
The 716th EOD Company’s Executive Officer, 1st Lt. Josiah Hennig, who hails from Stratford, Conn., said, “The 4-25 has been very welcoming, and we are excited to work with them and be a part of the team.”
The 4-25’s Commander, Col. Matthew McFarlane, said, “This ceremony is a great way to punctuate that the 716th EOD and the 4th Quartermaster are now part of the Spartan family.”
“There are many aspects that go into this,” said McFarlane, “from mission command responsibilities of equipping and sustainment to family care. We are ensuring we guide our leaders and all of our soldiers in leader development, and interacting with post agencies to make sure we can take care of the entire formation and their families.”
Units across Alaska are meeting the challenges presented by the Army’s force restructuring, according to Maj. Gen. Michael H. Shields, USARAK commanding general. He said the patch ceremony is the right way to welcome new units as they transition throughout his command.
“This is a progression of several moves within USARAK, and this is a great way to recognize these units and soldiers for their service and of course, the great history and tradition of the 4th of the 25th,” said Shields.
Shields said USARAK has plans to restructure many units in the future, to include some aviation units, as the command continues to realign its force structure both at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and at Fort Wainwright.