Troop cuts hit Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg will lose 842 active-duty soldiers over the next two years as the Pentagon reduces the size of the U.S. Army by 40,000 people.

The cut represents about a 1.6 percent loss of personnel at Fort Bragg, which has 52,280 active-duty soldiers.

No civilian jobs at the post will be cut.

“It could have been much worse,” said George Breece, a member of the N.C. Military Affairs Commission, under the state Department of Commerce. Breece also is chairman of the board of the Fayetteville Regional Chamber of Commerce, and is an Army veteran.

When the Department of Defense first announced this year it planned to reduce the size of the Army from 490,000 to 450,000 members by 2017, it was feared that Fort Bragg could lose 1,200 to 1,500 people.

“We’re disappointed. You hate to lose a job, any job,” Breece said. “But the fact that the number is so low speaks volumes about how much the Army values Fort Bragg. We remain our nation’s first responders.”

Rep. Renee Ellmers, whose district includes Fort Bragg, was more critical of the Pentagon’s plan.

“Further cuts are not the answer, especially at Fort Bragg as it is home of America’s contingency corps and the U.S. Army’s most critical installation,” Ellmers said in a statement. “These cuts take us backwards– and at a time when there are mounting threats abroad, it is all the more imperative the U.S. maintains a robust military.”