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UTAH TO GAIN 108 RESERVISTS, LOSE UNITS

SHARE UTAH TO GAIN 108 RESERVISTS, LOSE UNITS

A sweeping reorganization announced by the Pentagon will mean that Utah gets 108 more reservists overall, but some units - including a Naval Reserve and an Air National Guard group - will be deactivated.

In addition, the changes apparently will cut deep into the 419th Reserve Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base.Secretary of Defense William Perry announced that during the 1996 fiscal year, the Reserve force will be reduced by 1.6 percent nationally, amounting to 15,963 positions.

Overall, Utah will gain 108 reservists, bringing the state total to 12,192. However, individual units will cease to exist. Some reservists are expected to be transferred from units that are closing to others that remain active.

The biggest loss is the termination of 196 Air Force reservists. Although the Pentagon did not specify which unit is involved, the only Air Force Reserve group in Utah is the 419th Fighter Wing, based at Hill Air Force Base.

Maj. Ken Warren of the 419th Fighter Wing said the only drawdown that he knows about was announced in August 1995, in which about 80 positions would be lost in the 419th Civil Engineering Squadron and the 67th Aerial Port Squadron. He did not know why the Pentagon announced that 196 positions would be cut in the Air Force Reserve in Utah during Fiscal Year 1996.

Also targeted for inactivation is the 106th Air Control Squadron of the Air National Guard, based in Salt Lake City. According to the Pentagon, the Air Guard will lose 118 members in Utah.

Also to be decommissioned is the Naval Reserve Ship Intermediate Maintenance Activity. Designated the 620th Detachment, this group is based in Salt Lake City and trains to go to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, if needed, said Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Doersam of the Naval Reserve Command in Salt Lake City.

"Hopefully, the people can just be reassigned into another unit," she said. The detachment has 22 members, but the Naval Reserve in Utah is losing 37 altogether, which could include members of a center in Ogden.

The big gains for Utah are the 346 members to be added to the Army National Guard and 113 to be added to the Army Reserve.

However, the Army National Guard will take a hit also: the NCO Academy (designated BNCOC), based at Camp Williams, is to be deactivated.

In addition to the numbers change, the 96th Army Reserve Command, headquartered in Salt Lake City, is to change in name to the 96th Regional Command. It will be in charge of reservists in six states rather than seven.

The reorganization was intended to bring divisions between the reserve commands into the same boundaries as the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Doing that, we lost Idaho and all of our units in Idaho," said Staff Sgt. Melanie Rowton of the 96th.

Another unit to be deactivated is the U.S. Army Reserve's 321st Air Ambulance Detachment, Salt Lake City.