One year ago, the Army’s vice chief of staff visited the local Association of the U.S. Army chapter and delivered news regarding troop levels at Fort Hood and efforts to deal with issues plaguing the force.

Gen. Peter Chiarelli, a former 1st Cavalry Division commander came back Thursday during the Central Texas-Fort Hood chapter’s first general membership meeting of the 2010-2011 year, this time to discuss remaining Base Realignment and Closure and post-traumatic stress disorder and suicides issues.

At the deadline for 2005 Base Realignment and Closure nears, a few changes remain at Fort Hood.  The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment still must convert to a Stryker brigade, which will begin when its troopers return from Iraq.  The regiment deployed to Iraq for an advise and assist mission in September.  Chiarelli said Thursday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center that the change will add about 440 soldiers to the regiment.  Fort Hood will also see the conversion of a battlefield surveillance brigade, which will add about 300 soldiers to the assigned strength, he added.

This puts the 2013 soldier population of Fort Hood at about 47,000, Chiarelli said.  There is a possibility that number could slightly increase as the Army continues to adjust its force and units are modernized.

The general also emphasized the importance of increasing dwell time or time at home stations between deployments for soldiers.  The ultimate goal is for soldiers who spend one year deployed to get three years at home before another combat tour.  For reserve Component soldiers, the goal ratio is four to five years of dwell time for every year deployed, Chiarelli said.

Soldiers need time at home to rest and recover; he said and that is the anwser to solving problems associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.  Problems with those issues result from people not having time at home, he added.

by Amanda Kim Stairette – Killeen Daily Herald