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173rd Airborne On The Chopping Block

Washington,
D.C. (November 4, 2013)-
Pentagon officials are set to announce plans that will
accelerate the post-war drawdown later this week. Among the proposals being
submitted to congress include measures that will deactivate the 173rd Airborne
Brigade Combat Team based in Vicenza, Italy and in locations around Germany. The
proposed measures that will be taken by the Base Realignment and Closure
Commission (BRAC) due to budgetary constraints has forced commanders to make
hard choices. The American facilities along with all heavy equipment will soon
be turned over to the Italian Armed Forces in a similar fashion to the exit of
troops from Iraq. The Italian military will decide on the future use of the
property.

Sources
in the Pentagon have reported that the decision was not an easy one, but
commanders were given an ultimatum by Secretary Hagel and decided that the 82nd
Airborne Division would have to be the sole mass tactical airborne asset of the
United States military. Allegedly, the recent developments stemming from the
conviction of Col. James Johnson, who was convicted of fraud, bigamy, and
conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman played no small role in the
decision. One general officer, which spoke on condition of anonymity said,
“That unit is forever tainted by the misconduct of its commander. This was an
easy choice. We fully appreciated the great sacrifices made by the Sky Soldiers
of the 173rd, and their storied history, but at some point hard decisions have
to be made for the good order and discipline as well as fiscal well being of
the armed forces.”

The
local media has already been reporting on the issue, as many locals are
outraged at the sudden proposition. The closure of the American base and it’s
supporting facilities are likely to cause a massive loss in revenue and
business for the local residents who are already on shaky ground economically.
Local government officials have expressed concern about the prospect of losing
both the physical and fiscal security provided by the American military, which
has been in place for decades. Liquor stores and houses of ill repute are
expected to be hit the hardest. One hardworking local employee, Savannah, who
like many in her line of work goes by only one name, wondered how she and
people like her would survive the departure of the 173rd. “We dedicated
our lives to supporting US troop morale,” she said, speaking through an
interpreter “and now, they’re just going to pick up and leave us. What
will we do? How will we live? This is just like what the US did with their
interpreters and other supporters when they left Iraq.”

An
official timeline will be released along with the announcement in D.C. later
this week, but as of right now sources will only speculate on when the last
soldier will leave Italy. The rumors have already started floating through the
barracks in the 173rd though, as many soldiers have received unexpected
separation notifications through AKO over the past weeks. Several efforts were
made to reach senators on the Armed Services Committee, but the only response
we received was from a senator who spoke on condition of anonymity, “We thought
about simply disbanding the 173rd and re-assigning all of their troops, but we
need to cut manpower too. We have found that it is far easier to simply cut
whole units than to make case-by-case decisions with anything approaching
objectivity.” When asked how these troops would fare given the
unexpectedly abrupt nature of their dismissals, he added, “We are
concerned about the cuts being made to the Army ranks, but we are positive that
the Fisher House and other Non-Government Organizations will step up to take
care of them during their transition, they did an excellent job for us during
the shutdown” The senator then turned back around to complain to the gym’s
front desk attendant about the lack of fresh towels available.

This has been a Hit the Woodline SATIRE piece and should not be regarded as truthful. No reference of any individual, company, or military unit seeks to inflict malice or harm.

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