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Archives: June 2008

June
30th

Calling the 81st Brigade

Moving this previous post back up to the top:


The 10-day stretch between Aug. 8 and 18 promises to be an emotional, hectic and special time for the Iraq-bound troops of the 81st Brigade Combat Team and their families and loved ones.


The Washington National Guard soldiers will be between a month-long trip to the Yakima Training Center and their departure for Fort McCoy, Wis. After some more training there, they’ll depart directly for Iraq.


If you’re an 81st soldier, or close to one, what are your plans for that last bit of free time before the

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June
30th

A new appeal track for medically discharged soldiers

Much has been said and written the past few years about the Army’s system for evaluating soldiers’ injuries and rating their fitness for duty or a return to civilian life – critics contend the system is too complex and biased against the soldier.


The Pentagon on Monday announced the formation of a new level of appeal, the Physical Disability Board of Review, to be run by the Air Force.


The PDBR will reassess the accuracy and fairness of the combined disability ratings assigned to service members who were discharged as unfit for continued military service by

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June
27th

4th Brigade welcome home ceremony Tuesday

The 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, back from 15 months in Iraq, will have its big redeployment and awards ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Watkins Field.


Before the ceremony, Spc. Michael Gallagher will be presented with the new Jeep Liberty he was given as part of Chrysler’s “Honoring Those Who Serve” campaign.


Gallagher had the SUV customized to pay tribute to five of his comrades from A Company of the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, who were killed during the deployment, and company representatives will present him with the finished vehicle Tuesday.


Note: If

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June
27th

Horse tales?

Folks at the Fort Lewis public affairs office say they’re starting to get a little suspicious about a rumor that keeps coming back to them that someone had released numerous horses onto the post’s training range and that soldiers had shot them all.

“Somebody out there is spreading this rumor,” spokesman Joe Piek said Friday. “There is absolutely no truth to it.”

We got a call Friday morning from a woman who said she’d heard it from a local horse person, and directed us to a local veterinarian for confirmation. The vet said he knew nothing about any such report.

A Fort Lewis spokeswoman said the rumor first reached the post June 2, when an Eastern Washington wire service reporter working on a story about rising hay prices called to check it out. The reporter said she’d heard it from a truck driver.

Then Thursday, a reporter from an area weekly called the post and asked about it.

Post spokeswoman Catherine Caruso said she checked with range control officers and with investigators who track the post’s extensive illegal dumping problem. No horse sightings.

“We have not had any reports of any horses – feral, abandoned, whatever – on Fort Lewis in quite some time,” Caruso said.

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June
27th

The Soldiers Project

I’m still getting calls from time to time from therapists who are interested in participating in The Soldiers Project, an effort to provide free mental health counseling for returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. I wrote a story about the project a month ago.


Check out the Soldiers Project web site or to be referred to one of the project’s therapists, e-mail soldiersprojectnw@yahoo.com or call 206-290-1035.

June
26th

More on the Guard bird to California

California asked for help through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, kind of a mutual aid agreement between the states, and Washington agreed to provide a CH-47 Chinook and crew to head down to help fight the wildfires, Washington Guard spokesman Lt. Keith Kosik said.


The aircraft from the Washington Guard’s 66th Theater Aviation Command, based at Fort Lewis, will leave Friday morning and head to Sacramento. From there it will be deployed where the CalGuard needs it, he said.


The Chinook will be equipped with a 2,000-gallon bucket.


The crew will be gone a

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June
26th

Behind the scenes on joint basing

The Hill has an interesting piece today about Sen. John McCain’s complaint that the Air Force may be trying to wriggle out of the joint basing decisions that were set out in the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure round.


The Hill story focuses on concerns in Alaska and Hawaii, but we’re also hearing lots of chatter here about friction in the joining of Fort Lewis and McChord – in particular, McChord concerns about having to work under the direction of their Army brothers and sisters at Lewis.