Transition Begins for Milan Guard Unit
A major change is underway for an Illinois Army National guard unit based in the Quad Cities. The 123rd Field Artillery Battalion in Milan has been "in-activated" as of Wednesday, and will become the 123rd Engineer Battalion.
Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Krista Soria, says guard leaders decided they needed more soldiers trained as engineers.
"For the combat areas, they're going to set the initial entry operations, setting the theater then doing any re-construction projects that might be needed overseas in support of the warfight. For the state mission, it's anything from snow and ice removal to road construction."
The "new" battalion will have 350 to 400 soldiers, down about 50 from the artillery battalion.
Soria says some of her soldiers have already been trained as engineers, while the rest are in the process of being re-trained.
"For the soldier, this is a new training opportunity for them and a new skill set. And it can be transitioned to new opportunities for them both in the military and the civilian sectors."
The change began earlier in August when the colors for the Field Artillery Battalion were "cased," or retired.
Soria says the unit won't officially become an engineering battalion until September lst next year.