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Archives: July 2008

July
22nd




The support troops from the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis – the 296th Brigade Support Battalion – have commissioned this artwork to capture their experiences during the last deployment to Iraq. It’s by Paul Stuecke, the Olympia artist who’s probably best known for his paintings and posters about the United States Military Academy at West Point.


The battalion’s Family Readiness Group is selling prints and will use the money for its programs. Contact Nicole Rosen from the 296th FRG

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July
22nd

Welcome news for 81st Brigade convoy security teams

USA Today has a story that will come as welcome news to the Washington National Guard’s 81st Brigade Combat Team: Convoy attacks in Iraq are down to their lowest rate since the early months of the war.


At the high point of the insurgency in 2006, one in every five convoys got hit; in the first six months of 2008, fewer than one in 50 was attacked, the newspaper reported, citing Pentagon data.


At the same time more U.S. logistics convoys are moving across the country than at any time in the war, USA Today said.


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July
21st

AUSA region convention is here this weekend

Association of the United States Army members from six western states will gather Thursday through Sunday in DuPont and Lakewood for the association’s Region 6 convention. The AUSA Fort Lewis chapter is the host.


They’ll have work sessions Friday and Saturday and a black-tie dinner Saturday night at the Great American Casino at State Route 512 and South Tacoma Way. The guest of honor and keynote speaker is Maj. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.


They’ll also get briefings from various operations at Fort Lewis, including the 17th Fires Brigade

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July
21st

Fort Lewis MPs home from Iraq

Fort Lewis says about 150 soldiers from the 170th Military Police Company got home early Monday after a 15-month tour in Iraq – the company’s third tour of the war.


They deployed in May 2007 to train Iraqi police in Al Anbar Province. According to a Fort Lewis press release, they opened a police academy and trained officers at locations around the huge western province.


The 170th worked as part of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Regimental Combat Team 5.


The company lost one soldier on this deployment: Pfc. Aaron J. Ward, 19, of San Jacinto,

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July
21st

McChord says Air Expo draws 377,000+

The base is out with attendance numbers: 377,616 over the two days.


That’s more than twice the estimate of 150,000 that base officials figure was their previous high.


They used turnstiles this time at the two entry control points to the flightline, but at times they waved people around the counters to keep the crowd moving, said Staff Sgt. Oshawn Jefferson, a base spokesman.


Event planners figured they’d get a large turnout, with good weather, the Thunderbirds headlining the event and folks opting not to make long summer road trips due to high gas prices.


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July
18th

Fort Lewis soldier in trouble with the feds

The Associated Press is reporting that Capt. Tomoaki Iishiba of Fort Lewis is charged in federal court with trying to ship firearms sights to Japan without an export license. FOB Tacoma readers may recall a short profile I wrote about Iishiba at Yama Sakura in December.


Hard to tell from the AP story how big a deal this is. It indicates Iishiba purchased the sights from a U.S. company. But it doesn’t make clear whether prosecutors believe this was a technical sort of violation – failure to obtain the license – or whether they think he was deliberately trying

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July
18th

A Thunderbird’s homecoming

As we noted in today’s story, Maj. Christopher Austin – the pilot of No. 2 – is a local product. Although it says in the program he’s from Huntington Beach, Calif., he’s really out of Port Orchard and graduated in 1990 from South Kitsap High School.


He says he’ll have his mom and sisters and nephew and a ton of friends from high school out to watch the shows over the weekend.


So growing up over there in a Navy town, and in a region where the Navy’s precision flyers are the big deal, does he see the

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July
18th

Tacoma airman dies in Iraq

Tech. Sgt. Jackie L. Larsen, 37 of Tacoma, died Thursday at Balad Air Base in Iraq of non-combat natural causes, the Defense Department and the Air Force said Friday.


Larsen was assigned to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing from Beale Air Force Base, north of Sacramento.


She was serving in Iraq as a paralegal at Baghdad International Airport, according to a Beale press release.


The Beale release said Larsen was from Tacoma but was originally from the Philippines. She joined the Air Force in 1990. At Beale she was the lead noncommissioned officer in the base

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