Army changes tactics
WORTHINGTON -- Thirty-eight years after the Worthington Army Reserve Center became home to the 452nd Quartermaster Company, the Army is making changes to the local training facility.
Beginning in September, the center will no longer serve as a detachment unit of the 452nd, but instead will become Detachment 1, 79th MP Co., a training site for troops to become military police. The base will be a detachment of the Rochester Company.
A closeout formation ceremony is planned in Winthrop at noon Sunday, marking the changes for both the Winthrop unit of the 452nd Quartermaster Co. and the Worthington detachment. Winthrop will change over to an engineer company to be trained in building roads and bridges.
Craig Ahrens, unit administrator for the Worthington Army Reserve Center, said the Army had been talking about switching the local base to a military police unit ever since the troops returned from active duty in Iraq in February 2005.
"It was the wishes of the Army," said Ahrens, of Heron Lake. "They decided they needed more MPs than what they had."
The Reserve Center will remain open with training anticipated to be conducted once per month at the facility -- the same schedule as when the base served as a Quartermaster detachment. Ahrens said, however, that he doesn't know the extent of the training to be provided in Worthington. That information will come later.
Twelve of the soldiers who served with the Worthington unit of the 452nd will remain based at the Worthington MP Co., with the remainder of the 45-soldier detachment anticipated to be transferred to other units. In all, Ahrens said the local Reserve Center will serve as base to 30 soldiers.
With the change from a Quartermaster Company to a Military Police Company, the Worthington Army Reserve Center has cleared the commendations and records from the center. Plaques received by the local base, along with a history book about the 452nd's presence in Worthington, have since been handed over to the Nobles County Historical Society.
The Worthington Army Reserve Center was dedicated on Sept. 21, 1960, at 1012 Milton Ave., although the town has had its own Army Reserve unit since 1947. Over the years, the unit changed from the 3rd Battle Group to the 3rd Infantry, the 452nd Quartermaster Co., and now the 79th Military Police.
While as the 452nd, however, the unit saw the most action -- taking part in three separate tours of duty. Troops were called up from the Worthington unit during Vietnam, Operation Desert Shield/Storm and most recently Operation Enduring Freedom.
During those tours, Ahrens said the unit made it back home without a single loss of life. In addition, the Worthington Army Reserve Center received meritorious unit commendations for service in both Vietnam and Operation Desert Shield/Storm.
Ahrens said he expects an award for meritorious service during Operation Enduring Freedom, but that designation likely won't come before the unit's change on Sept. 1.