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Archives: Nov. 2007


Upcoming memorial ceremonies

Memorial ceremonies for the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division soldiers killed in recent bombings in Iraq will be held Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 at Evergreen Chapel at Fort Lewis.

The Nov. 28 ceremony, scheduled for 1:30 p.m., will be for Sgt. Christopher R. Kruse and Cpl. Peter W. Schmidt, who died Nov. 13 in Mukhisa, and Sgt. Kenneth R. Booker, who died the next day, also in Mukhisa.

The Dec. 5 ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m., for Pfc. Marius L. Ferrero, Cpl. Jason T. Lee and Cpl. Christopher J. Nelson, who were killed Nov. 18 in

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The Stryker “math problem”

The 3rd Brigade’s new commander, Col. David Funk, referred to it as “a math problem” when I asked him about when or if the brigade might next be called on for an overseas mission.

Funk didn’t divulge any dates or timetables, so what follows is pure conjecture on my part. Make of it what you will.

The Army has seven Stryker brigades. Where they are now, and what they might do next:

&bull 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division: Safely esconced again at Fort Lewis and on their way out for a big chunk of block leave (W00t!).

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Smith’s praise for the 3rd Brigade

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Tacoma, presented outgoing brigade commander Col. Steve Townsend a signed, framed copy of the remarks he made on the House floor Oct. 23 noting the unit’s return from Iraq.

Read them here in the Congressional Record.


Where they’ve fallen

With Tuesday’s announcements from the Department of the Defense, the number of Fort Lewis soldiers to be killed in the Iraq war stands at 174.

    Mosul 46

    Baghdad 38

    Baqouba 18

    Taji 9

    Tal Afar 9

    Muqdadiyah 5

    Balad 5

    Total of all others 44

The post’s troops and their families have paid a dear price for the continued security of Mosul and Baqouba, in particular – two areas where U.S. military officials have reduced troop levels but say they’re watching carefully for renewed activity by insurgents.


Launch pad Lewis?

The deputy commanding general billet at Fort Lewis and I Corps has turned into a launch pad-slash-revolving door.

The latest: Brig. Gen. Donald M. Campbell has been selected for assignment to command Fort Knox and the U.S. Army Armor Center and School, the Army chief of staff announced Tuesday.

Campbell, a tanker, has been at Fort Lewis since July.

No word yet on his successor.

Before Campbell, Brig. Gen. William J. Troy held the job for 12 months before being promoted to major general and moved to the Pentegon as vice director for

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Auburn parade winners

Award winner’s announced Tuesday in the Auburn Veterans Day Parade held Saturday:

&bull General’s Award – Best in Parade: Kamiak High School Marching Band

&bull Admiral’s Award – Best Military Drill Unit: Fort Lewis Marching Unit

&bull Harold Page Memorial Award – Best Veterans Marching Unit: Washington State POW/MIA Color Guard

&bull Colonel’s Award – Best Motorized Unit: Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association

&bull Veteran’s Award – Best Animal/Mounted Unit: Backcountry Horseman of Washington, Pierce County Chapter

&bull Mayor’s Award – Best Musical or Drill Unit:

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One of the last surviving veterans of World War I

Here’s a Veterans Day story by former Fort Lewis marketing director, author and amateur historian Phil Raschke:

John Babcock of Spokane has the honor to be the last surviving veteran of the Canadian forces of World War I.

During WW I, Canadian forces numbered nearly 620,000 and suffered over 214,000 casualties. Today, only Babcock still remains standing.

At 107, he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

John Babcock, right, and author Phil Raschke hold a photo of Babcock’s World War I unit – D Company, 146th Overseas Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. The photo was taken Sept. 5, 1916 at Camp Valcartier near Quebec while the unit was en route to Nova Scotia for training and then deployment to England. Babcock is the last surviving Canadian veteran of World War I.
Photo courtesy of Phil Raschke.

He needs a walker to get around, but he still enjoys going out to lunch with friends, chatting with visitors and receiving letters from queens and prime ministers.

In a recent interview, Babcock proudly noted he obtained his private pilot’s license at age 65 and his high school diploma at 95. Today, he delights in entertaining visitors by reciting the alphabet backwards, tapping out Morse Code messages and signing his name with either his right or left hand.

Back in 1916, Babcock was able to enter the military by looking older than his real age of 15. He trained with the 146th Overseas Battalion in Nova Scotia and then convoyed through U-Boat infested waters to England.

Upon arrival, his training continued near Brighton on the English Channel. Babcock’s favorite memory was a daily 6 a.m. march to the channel wearing only a long gray coat and canvas shoes. Upon arrival at the beach, all 1,300 soldiers would get “buck naked” and plunge into the cold water. To the watching civilians, it “was quite a sight,” Babcock said.

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Memory Lane

Was Googling “fort lewis” and “army” and “construction” and came across this one that I hadn’t seen in a few years – from back in the day when the Army was still feeling like it had to put on the full-court press for the Stryker brigades.