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Gyroscope

In the summer of 1955 the Army examined the individual replacement system. This system traditionally required the Army to maintain a large manpower overhead as a substantial percentage of its soldiers were always in transit. The Army believed that a unit replacement system would be more economical, improve esprit de corps, and provide more efficient units. In response, the Army Staff developed the GYROSCOPE program, which paired a division in the United States with an overseas division. Personnel from the paired divisions were to exchange places every three years. In addition, the divisions in the United States were to conduct basic and advanced individual training, cutting the training base and providing each soldier with a home throughout most of his career. It also theoretically made it possible to replace an entire division if it were destroyed in a nuclear attack.

Beginning in 1955 fourteen divisions participated in the GYROSCOPE program. To meet the changing needs of the Army, however, some deviation occurred during the duration of the program. For example, the l1th Airborne Division from Fort Campbell replaced the 5th Infantry Division in Germany in 1956, but the 5th's new station was Fort Ord, a former training center. Several benefits resulted: the European command received an airborne division, a unit it had wanted for some time; the U.S. Continental Army Command (CONARC), successor to the Army Field Forces, gained a post, Fort Campbell, and equipment to test a new divisional structure for the airborne division; and the number of divisions remained unchanged.

As the divisions rotated, the U.S. Army, Europe, and Seventh Army closely monitored their activities and readiness to determine the effect of the moves on the units. They found that divisional combat efficiency declined for a number of weeks before and after rotation, and Lt. Gen. Bruce C. Clarke, Seventh Army commander, recommended limiting GYROSCOPE to units smaller than divisions. In 1958 the last divisional exchange took place when the 3d Infantry Division from Fort Benning replaced the 10th Infantry Division. Thereafter the program involved only smaller-size units. On 01 September 1959 the Army terminated GYROSCOPE, following the recommendations of General Clyde D. Eddleman, Commander, U.S. Army, Europe, who believed that other replacement systems worked better with less disruption. GYROSCOPE helped to sustain morale, but the scheme did not save money or improve combat readiness.



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