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Archives: Dec. 2006


Arrowhead 6 says thanks

In our telephone interview Thursday night for the front-page story in Sunday’s paper, Col. Steve Townsend told me he wanted to say thanks for the support the community is showing to the families of his brigade’s deployed soldiers.

It doesn’t exactly fit in a news story, but we’re glad to pass along the Stryker brigade commander’s sentiments.

“Let ‘em know the Arrowhead Brigade is doing just fine. And we know here that the installation at Fort Lewis, the great staff back there at I Corps and the local community are doing a great job of taking care of

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South Pole air drop


It was a pity that this top photo ran in black and white in today’s paper, so I wanted to post it here – the blue sky of Antarctica is unlike any I’ve ever seen, and this picture does it justice.

The lower photo shows the payloads floating to the ground. The C-17 is just visible to the right of the picture.

These photos are courtesy of Forest Banks, the

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5/20 on patrol in Baghdad


Soldiers from the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment from Fort Lewis patrol Baghdad’s Adhamiya neighborhood last week as part of operations with Iraqi security forces aimed at stopping sectarian violence.

U.S. Army photo/Spc. Jeffrey Alexander

There hasn’t been a ton of news flowing out of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division lately, which, granted, is not entirely a bad thing. But we’re keeping the feelers out there in hopes that we can tell readers at least a bit about what the

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National Guard engineers come home

The Washington National Guard’s 803rd Engineer Detachment was due home tonight at Camp Murray after nearly a year in Iraq.

The unit’s 51 soldiers kept the electricity flowing and built defensive fighting positions, among other missions, at the U.S. military base at Abu Ghraib and at the Victory Base Complex, west of Baghdad.

For its work the 803rd earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation:

“The Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) is awarded to the 803rd Engineer Team (Utilities) for exceptionally meritorious performance of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-07 from 23 December 2005 to 22 December 2006

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One goal short

Plucky Iraq managed to reach the Asian Games soccer final, despite the kidnapping and murder this past week of a leading club chairman.

This could have been great news for the local GIs working the streets of Baghdad – Iraqis are football crazy, and winning might have induced everybody to chill out for a little while, at least.

Alas, Iraq fell in Friday’s final, 1-0 to hosts Qatar.

Still, it was enough to prompt a congratulatory press release from leading U.S. officials in Iraq, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. George Casey:


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Soldiers Medal for Martinez

There was one detail I wasn’t able to get into my story today about Staff Sgt. Moises Martinez, decorated Wednesday for his actions at the Tacoma Mall shooting in November 2005.

It’s the part about how he was quick on his feet. The auditorium at the the Battle Command Training Center was packed with senior officers, senior NCOs and a couple general officers, including the incoming Forces Command boss, Lt. Gen. Charles Campbell. The Secretary of the Army, Francis J. Harvey, gave a quick speech and pinned the medal on Martinez, and then everybody clapped for a long

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Deep Freeze deep pockets


The Operation Deep Freeze team from McChord Air Force Base passed the hat to come up with $2,000 for local charity in their temporary home of Christchurch, New Zealand. Men and women from McChord donated to the team’s annual holiday fund the past couple months, then had a group out for a visit and tour of the C-17.

Pictured here are the McChord team and visitors from the Cookie Munchers Charitable Trust, a charity that helps underprivileged children with dyslexia in the Christchurch area.


Fr. Tim Vakoc update

I’m only about, oh, a month late on this one, but good news like this keeps, and maybe there are some around here who haven’t heard.

Fr. Tim Vakoc, the Catholic priest who was chaplain to the 44th Corps Support Battalion in Mosul when he was critically wounded in May 2004, in late October spoke his first words in some two-and-a-half years. Fr. Tim lost his left eye and suffered a severe brain injury when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb; he was returning to the Mosul Airfield after saying Mass for Fort Lewis Stryker brigade

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