This Fort Liberty unit is being deactivated — again

by Vern Evans

This article was published as part of a content-sharing agreement between Army Times and The Fayetteville Observer.

A Fort Liberty, North Carolina civil affairs battalion will remain only in the history books after a two-year process to deactivate the unit is completed in June, a spokesman for the 18th Airborne Corps said this week.

A January 2022 Army Structure Memorandum, part of the total Army analysis of its force structure, directed that the 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion to be deactivated, Sgt. Maj. Daniel Bailey said. Initially, the deactivation was to be completed by September but that date changed to June.

The 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion is the U.S. Army Forces Command’s only active-duty civil affairs component and is aligned with the 16th Military Police Brigade under the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Liberty, according to the Army.

“The 83d maintains readiness in order to support any worldwide contingency mission,” with soldiers skilled in civil reconnaissance, civil and network engagement and civil information management and “prepared for multi-domain operations and large-scale combat operations,” the unit’s website states.

What’s next?

Bailey said orders to deactivate were published Oct. 20, 2022, and the Army personnel system normally stops assigning soldiers to an inactivating unit one year before the inactivation date.

“The 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion completed all mission requirements in the fall of 2023 and began a deliberate reassignment of all remaining personnel, to be complete by June 2024,” he said.

About 160 of the unit’s 263 soldiers have already been reassigned to the Army Special Operations Command’s civil affairs units or civil affairs staff positions in other units, Bailey said.

The remaining soldiers with other job specialties will be reassigned across the Army, “with priority to fill requirements” at Fort Liberty, he said.

“Soldiers are reassigned to meet the needs of the Army,” Bailey said.

Unit history of inactivation, reactivating

According to the Army, this year is not the first time the 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion has been deactivated.

The unit’s storied past traces to its first activation as the 41st Military Government, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, at the Presidio in Monterey, California, on Aug. 24, 1945.

It was deactivated May 31, 1947. After the Korean War’s end in 1953, it was reactivated March 18, 1955, at Camp Gordon, Georgia, before being designated as the 41st Civil Affairs Company on June 25, 1959.

In 1965, during the Vietnam War, the company was assigned to the Headquarters Company, I Field Force, Vietnam, in Nha Trang, where it participated in major campaigns and earned the Meritorious Unit Citation.

The unit was again deactivated Feb. 29, 1970, during the drawdown of American forces in Vietnam and was most recently reactivated on Sept. 16, 2012, as the active-duty Army’s, U.S. Central Command-aligned civil affairs battalion for conventional forces.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion was deactivated in 1947, after the Korean War. The Korean War began in 1950 and ended in 1953. This article has been updated to clarify that.

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