The Army announced Tuesday that it is deactivating the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord as part of its force structure change.
The deactivation means the loss of more than 4,000 soldiers at JBLM and the loss of one of the most active brigades during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Congressman Denny Heck, D-WA, said the announcement didn't come as a surprise, as the Army is reducing troop numbers at military installations across the globe.
In JBLM's case, the Olympia Democrat said, "it was difficult to imagine a scenario where its force size was not reduced."
Currently, JBLM has about 36,000 active-duty soldiers, up from about 16,000 soldiers who were stationed there before the Sept. 11 attacks.
The 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team played a large role in overseas operations, as well as locally. For instance, it's Lakewood's Community Connector - its partner, so to speak - to JBLM.
Roughly 26,500 active duty soldiers will be stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord once the force structure change has been completed in 2017.
"Today’s announcement ensures that Joint Base Lewis-McChord will retain its status as the U.S. Army’s main West Coast force projection base," Heck said. "The base will continue to play an important role in the decades ahead as our national security strategy pivots to the Asia-Pacific region."
U.S. Sen Patty Murray, D-WA, released a statement saying the news is disappointing for many in the JBLM community, including herself, but she's encouraged that the Army will add battalions to other Brigade Combat Teams on base.
"These changes are never easy, and they will be a tough adjustment for the community, but they come as a result of the end of combat operations in Iraq and the reduction of operations in Afghanistan," she said. "In the coming months, I will continue working closely with JBLM leadership, community partners in the South Sound, and all those directly affected to make this transition as seamless as possible."