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By John LovettTimes Record • [email protected] Arkansas Army National Guard’s 217th Brigade Support Battalion officially deactivated Alpha and Bravo companies on Thursday at Fort Chaffee as part of the Department of the Army’s reduction in field artillery.One company of 113 soldiers will remain in the support battalion for the 142nd Field Artillery Brigade.The restructure means the loss of 114 positions for the battalion and a reduction in support functions such as water purification, fuel storage and transportation, wheeled vehicle maintenance and supply sections, a news release from the Arkansas National Guard states. Alpha was a quartermaster company and Bravo was a maintenance company.According to the release, the soldiers were provided opportunities to fill open positions in other units of the 142nd Field Artillery and some moved over to positions with Arkansas’ 39th Infantry Brigade.Some soldiers also chose interstate transfers to units closer to their homes, and some opted to retire or not renew their enlistments, National Guard Public Affairs Officer Lt. Col. Keith Moore wrote in the news release.The 142nd Field Artillery Brigade is one of eight Army National Guard artillery brigades that are restructuring their support battalions. A name change was part of the restructuring. The 217th Headquarters Company is now the 217th Headquarters Support Company.Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed last February to shrink the Army to its smallest size in 74 years. At the time, Hagel said U.S. forces must adjust to smaller budgets while facing an even more unpredictable world that requires a more nimble military.The 142nd Field Artillery Brigade has served in every major U.S. conflict — with the exception of Vietnam — since World War I. The unit mustered into active service in 1941 in support of World War II in defense of the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, according to an announcer at the ceremony Thursday.The 142nd also deployed multiple units during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The brigade was redesignated in 2014 as the 142nd Field Artillery Brigade after having become the 142nd Fires Brigade in 2005.Col. Gregory Bacon, a Dardanelle native, assumed command of the 142nd Field Artillery Brigade in October. It is the largest Army National Guard unit in northwest and western Arkansas. Bacon replaced outgoing commander Col. Troy Galloway, who served as leader of the brigade since October 2011.

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