OAK CREEK — The 139-year history of a Wisconsin National Guard military unit is coming to an end.
Tracing its roots to 1880, the 257th Brigade Support Battalion will be “inactivating” in August as the U.S. military works to centralize its logistics operations and become more efficient. An Aug. 10 ceremony to mark the official end of the unit is scheduled at the battalion’s headquarters in Oak Creek, 8520 S. Howell Ave.
“Across the Army, the Army is doing away with … this type of brigade,” Wisconsin National Guard Capt. Joe Trovato said.
The 257th’s main tasks involved serving the statewide 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade via distribution of materials and maintenance, tasks that will be taken over by the 157th itself.
The inactivation directly affects 230 soldiers, although the Wisconsin National Guard promised that all of their positions will be preserved in some form.
“All soldiers in the affected units will have opportunities to transfer to different units within the organization or have the opportunity to reclassify into a different military occupational specialty, and no soldiers will lose their standing in the organization as a result of the change,” according to a press release. “The battalion’s inactivation will not affect the Wisconsin National Guard’s readiness to fulfill either its federal mission as the Army’s primary combat reserve, or its state mission as Wisconsin’s first military responder during times of emergency.”
Even though the battalion that occupies it is shutting down, the Oak Creek Armory will stay active; its operations will simply be taken over by members of the 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, which is currently based at Milwaukee’s Richards Street Armory.
“In terms of what the community sees (in Oak Creek), it won’t be changing,” Trovato said.
Directly affected by the inactivation will be a maintenance company in Kenosha, based at the armory at 4200 43rd Ave., which was part of the 257th. And a detachment of the 457th Chemical Company that was based in Burlington at 240 S. Wisconsin St. will be moving to Whitewater by consolidating with the company’s headquarters that had been in Hartford.
“In Burlington, we’re still considering our long-term options,” Trovato said, without elaborating on what could be in store for Burlington National Guard Armory.
“It has been a pleasure serving in the 257th Brigade Support Battalion in Oak Creek, Whitewater and Kenosha communities,” Maj. Sarah Bammel, the commander of the 257th Brigade Support Battalion, said in a statement. “I am confident that the new units will continue to provide the military presence and support to those communities as we inactivate the 257th BSB and consign the unit into history.”