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It has been on post at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground since 1972 and soon, it will be gone for good.

The Army’s Environmental Command, its main entity responsible for ensuring all Army institutions are good environmental stewards, has been busy relocating to San Antonio, Texas, and will mark its official departure — when its colors are transported to Fort Sam Houston — with a ceremony Thursday.

It is part of the trickle of military personnel and civilians that has steadily left for other, often distant Army sites as part of the base realignment process known as BRAC.

Little by little, hundreds of men and women are being replaced by the new organizations that promise to bring a net increase of about 7,000 new jobs to APG by 2012.

“Almost everything is in transition,” Aberdeen Proving Ground public affairs officer George Mercer said, explaining that who and what is at APG has been changing constantly. “On any given day, it’s a snapshot.”

The Environmental Command is just the latest unit to bid farewell to Aberdeen. As part of the Insular Management Command, the organization has moved nearly half of its 200 members — almost all of them civilians — to Texas, public affairs specialist Cathy Kropp said.

“It’s somewhat significant for APG that this command has been on the post for so long,” she said.

The unit had many temporary as well as permanent facilities, but is down to about six buildings, Kropp said.

The buildings’ futures are up to the garrison, which is considering either demolishing them or using them for other organizations, she said.

Several other major units that were due to move out in conjunction with BRAC are also largely gone from APG.

About two-thirds of the roughly 2,000 students and staff members of the Ordnance Center and School have left for Fort Lee, Va., Mercer said.

The Army Material Command Band has been moving its 100 members in phases to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.

The Ordnance Museum, which has drawn its share of visitors to admire historic artillery pieces since the 1940s, began leaving last year for Fort Lee as well. It is technically part of the ordnance school but has its own BRAC-related plan.

“It had very few personnel but a large public impact,” Mercer said about the museum.

The most notable unit to move to APG has been the team C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), which expects to be finished building its new facilities by September 2011.

Also coming in is the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, which is moving to the Edgewood Area.

Mercer said those organizations already have people here because they want to hit the ground running when facilities are built.

Overall, “in terms of facilities, we are ahead of schedule on all of them,” he said about the BRAC moves.

“That has progressed very, very satisfactorily,” he said. “In terms of the people, it depends on the unit, but almost all of [the commands] have people on the ground working now. They have been very active, very busy and I think, again, just like the facilities, the personnel have been ahead of schedule. It’s kind of good to see because if you’d have told me five years ago we would be this good on it, I’d say, ‘Yeah, right,’” Mercer said.


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