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3rd Armored Division Inactivation in 1992

Budgetary Considerations
- comments by Gen. Colin Powell -


For a basic understanding of the Pentagon's budgetary environment in 1991-92, below are excerpts from Colin Powell's 1995 autobiography, My American Journey. In 1992, then 4-star General Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

From Powell's 1995 autobiography (chapter: "Change of Command"):

"By early 1992, we were deeply into reductions to bring the armed forces down by the 25 percent the Bush administration had announced earlier. We started paying troops to leave the service after years of paying them bonuses to stay in. We cut back on recruiting, taking in just enough new people so that we would have the required sergeants and chief petty officers come on line ten years from now.

...We were bringing home thousands of troops from Germany every week, along with their families, cars, pets, and other possessions. We had to have an assignment and a home waiting for them at a stateside post.

... I felt a part of my life vanish the day that my first post, Gelnhausen [2nd Brigade, 3rd Armored Division, Coleman Barracks] was shut down. The keys were given to the Germans, and a U.S. rear detachment marched out to the tune of 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home.' The Fulda gap became a tourist attraction in the middle of a reunified Germany.

... Shutting down overseas installations was a breeze compared to closing stateside bases. People in Gelnhausen did not vote in American elections and did not have congressmen fighting for the folks back home.

... Another cost cutter [in 1992]: the Army wanted a new radio jammer to thwart Soviet commando attacks in NATO's rear. What attacks? What rear? What Soviets? We cut the request, and $200 million more was saved.

... Under Dick Cheney [Secretary of Defense], the service chiefs and I tried to be responsible stewards of the funds entrusted to us by the American taxpayer."

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