This article was published as part of a content-sharing agreement between Army Times and The Fayetteville Observer.

As a result of the Army announcing job cuts earlier this year because of force restructuring, the 82nd Airborne Division will lose its cavalry squadrons, while gaining a combat vehicle test unit, the division’s commander said this week.

Maj. Gen. J. Patrick Work spoke about the cuts during a video interview from Europe on Monday.

“It’s affected over a thousand of our paratroopers,” he said. “We take it very seriously and make sure that each of them are getting taken care of and understand the next several dance steps in the process.”

The Army announced in March that it will cut 32,000 jobs — while adding 7,500 jobs. The cuts include 3,000 to special operations forces, 10,000 in close combat forces and inactivating cavalry squadrons in continental U.S.-based Stryker brigade and infantry brigade combat teams.

The Army report stated that the cuts are of the job and not individual soldiers.

How cuts will impact the 82nd

The 82nd Airborne Division has three squadrons under its 73rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Liberty: 1st Squadron, 3rd Squadron and 5th Squadron.

“It’s no secret,” Work said. “The Army made a choice … the cavalry squadrons will inactivate in the next several months. We’re working through that process now.”

Work reiterated top Army leaders’ points that the force structure change aligns with the shift from counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations to large-scale combat operations.

“If you think of the heavyweights of the world and the way they’ll fight sustained land campaigns — what we’re seeing in Ukraine today — that’s the sort of war that our secretary and chief are trying to design an Army for; high-intensity, large-scale, sustained ground campaigns as part of a joint force,” he said.

Work said scouts in the three cavalry squadrons are in the process of preparing to turn in equipment.

Cavalry scouts who are junior paratroopers will change jobs, and senior noncommissioned officers are working with them to ensure they “maintain momentum with their careers,” Work said.

“That’s a tough place for them to be,” he said. “We recognize that.”

Leaders have found jobs for armor officers that allow them to remain competitive, he said.

“Those paratroopers have numerous options on what they choose to do in uniform,” he said.

Armored vehicle test unit

Another transition for the division, Work said, is standing up a M10 Booker test unit.

The M10 Booker, formerly called mobile protected firepower vehicles, provides infantry brigade combat teams with mobile, protected direct-fire capability to apply lethal and sustained long-range fires to light armored vehicles, enemy fortifications and dismounted personnel, an Army article stated last month.

The vehicle has a maximum speed of 40 mph, is equipped with a 105mm M35 primary weapon, a 7.62mm coax weapon, a 0.50 M2 commander’s weapon and has “the ability to identify threat systems earlier and at greater distances,” while allowing soldiers to move at a faster pace, the Army said.

The 82nd Airborne Division is the first Army unit to receive a M10 Booker and will test it during the next several months, “all culminating in fielding the first operational company” of the vehicles in the division by summer 2025, the Army said.

The first small tank mobile-protected firepower platform could arrive at the division as early as next month, Work said.

More than 50 armor specialists or tankers are already assigned to the division, he said.

“In many ways, change is what we do in the military,” Work said. “People come and go every summer. The commanders change. … We have really flexible people.”

Staff writer Rachael Riley can be reached at or 910-486-3528.

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