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USASOC reorganizes, welcomes new commander

By Sgt. Joe Healy

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Army News Service, Dec. 8, 2005) —The U.S. Army Special Operations Command said farewell to the commander who led its transformation to a 21st Century fighting force, and welcomed his successor in a ceremony at Meadows Memorial Field Dec. 6.

Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner assumed command of USASOC from Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr. Just a few days earlier, Kensinger’s transformation culminated with deactivation of two commands and standup of a new brigade and battalion.

Sustainment Bde, Troops Bn activate

The Special Operations Support Command (Airborne) and the 528th Support Battalion (Airborne) were deactivated and their respective successor units, the Sustainment Brigade (Special Operations) (Airborne) (Provisional) and the Brigade Troops Battalion (Airborne) (Provisional), were activated during a ceremony at Fort Bragg Dec. 2.

The unit reorganization is a direct response to new security threats that developed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred, said Col. Edward F. Dorman, III, commander of the Sustainment Brigade.

Historically, Army Special Operations Forces did not have the organic, rapidly deployable logistical support like the conventional Army; however, the reorganization now provides SOF consistent logistical staying power for forward deployed Soldiers, Dorman said.

“These new units will assist and support our Rangers and Special Forces,” Dorman said.

New Bde: AC/RC

The SOSCOM transformed into a multi-component Sustainment Brigade that now combines active-duty and reserve-component Soldiers into a deployable unit that synchronizes signal, health and support units together.

“The transformation of the 528th into the (Troops Battalion) tailors our support to Special Operation Forces,” Brig. Gen. Mark V. Phelan, deputy commanding general, USASOC, said. “They will always be there when you need them.”

“This ceremony joins both our history and our future,” Dorman said. “The lineage is not lost. SOSCOM and the 528th are closing one chapter. We are looking forward to future achievements from our new units.”

Dorman now commands the newly activated Sustainment Brigade and Lt. Col. Stephen R. Cain commands the Troops Battalion.

OPTEMPO peaked under Kensinger

Kensinger assumed command of USASOC Aug. 29, 2002. Since then, 13,000 Soldiers have deployed in 85 different missions around the world.

“The command experienced an operational tempo faster than any other time in the command’s history under Kensinger’s leadership,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker at the Dec 6 ceremony. “USASOC is a transformational example for the rest of the Army.”

“I chose this job as the final chapter in my Army story,” said Kensinger at his change of command. “Soldiers should go out with their boots on.”

Transformation continued during war

Kensinger discussed USASOC’s transformation as he reflected on his command.

“The creation of the USASOC Futures Center, Group Support Battalions for the Special Forces Groups and Ranger Support Companies for the 75th Ranger Regiment will have lasting effects on the major subordinate units,” said Kensinger. “Commanding these 28,000 Soldiers is inspiring and unmatched.”

Wagner no stranger to Special Ops

Wagner said he is looking forward to commanding USASOC, and he is already familiar with USASOC, having served in six special operations assignments including tours with the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 75th Ranger Regiment, and commander of Special Operations Command South.

“Our profession is who we are,’ Wagner said. “I will not forget we are a nation at war.”

(Editor’s note: Sgt. Joe Healy serves with U.S. Army Special Operations Command PAO.)

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