MOREHEAD CITY — As part of a nationwide move to cut back on the U.S. Army’s marine capabilities, the 824th Transportation Company based in Morehead City will inactivate effective mid-August.
The Army reserve unit, known as the Heavy Watercraft Company, will officially inactivate Friday, Aug. 16. There will be a ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 9 at the reserve center on Fisher Street.
Brandon Redmon, CW2 for the reserve center, said the company has a detachment based in Tampa, Fla., that will also inactivate this summer.
“The Army Reserve is getting out of the watercraft business,” he said Tuesday.
Mr. Redmon said the Heavy Watercraft Company and others throughout the country received the official notice of inactivation in mid-March, though there were talks of the possibility as early as January.
“A lot of things are happening a lot faster than we’re prepared for,” he said.
More than 60 people will be affected by the inactivation between the reserve center in Morehead City and its detachment in Florida, Mr. Redmon said. He said some may be able to reclass to a different Military Occupational Specialty or revert to an old MOS, and the unit commander and staff are currently working with the reservists to ensure a smooth transition.
Others, however, may be forced into early retirement. As for the reserve center’s three full-time staffers, including Mr. Redmon, they are not sure what their future holds.
“We’re awaiting word on what happens to us,” Mr. Redmon said.
The Army has about nine watercraft reserve units throughout the country, and Mr. Redmon said they are still waiting on official confirmation to find out if all of them will inactivate. In total, about 1,200-1,500 Army watercraft reservists will be affected by the move.
“From what we know now, we believe all will be done away with very shortly,” he said.
The Army’s active duty watercraft units will remain in service. Mr. Redmon said the Heavy Watercraft Company’s boat, which was recently in the yard for maintenance, was transferred recently to active duty.
Other assets will either be decommissioned or transferred to active duty service. As for the reserve center property itself, Mr. Redmon does not yet know what will become of it.
The inactivation ceremony is still in the planning process, but Mr. Redmon said it will include a bring-your-own-dish potluck.
According to information on the website history.army.mil, the 824th Transportation Company was activated April 7, 1949, in Montgomery, Ala. It was later transferred to Beaufort in 1955 and finally to Morehead City in 1958. The reserve unit has been ordered into active duty service numerous times over the years, most recently from February 2014 to March 2015.The Heavy Watercraft Company and other Army watercraft reserve units like it train soldiers and maintain boats. The watercraft units are relatively small arm of the U.S. Army’s capabilities.
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