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Archives: Aug. 2008


McChord crews prepare as Gustav looms

A C-17 Globemaster from McChord Air Force Base ferried response teams to Louisiana on Saturday ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Gustav.

The massive jet left shortly after midnight, picked up members and cargo from the 615th Contingency Response Wing at Travis Air Force Base in California and then landed at Louis Armstrong International Airport in suburban New Orleans.

It returned to McChord by mid-afternoon. The aircraft commander expects his crew will be sent to the Gulf Coast again, as early as today.

"It’ll be a matter of whether we can get in and out before the hurricane hits, or if we have to wait until after it hits," said Maj. Michael Maguire of the 10th Airlift Squadron, 62nd Airlift Wing.

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Similarities to past draw Stryker soldiers to Fort Steilacoom

American soldiers fighting a counterinsurgency. The enemy using hit-and-run tactics. Troops struggling at times to determine who was an ally or an enemy.

But we’re not talking about Iraq. Try a century and a half earlier, when soldiers fought off attacks by Indians at Fort Steilacoom.

The similarities between the two conflicts drew 30 members of the 402nd Brigade Support Battalion, a unit of Fort Lewis’ 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, to the grounds of the old fort – today Western State Hospital in Lakewood – on Thursday.

"Believe it or not, the stuff they’re using here – counterguerilla tactics – is not much different," said Lt. Col. Steve Allen. "It’s history, but we can take this and apply what we’ve learned here today to the conflicts we’re facing today."

Thursday’s trip off post began with a tour of the grounds and talks about the history of the fort and the tactics the soldiers used to combat the Indians.

The blurred line between friend and foe resonated with Capt. John Louch.

"There are some examples of how they had to deal with not necessarily knowing who the enemy is," he said. "Not all the Indians were enemies; many of them were friendly to them. You go over to Iraq, and it’s the exact same scenario."

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Kitty Hawk headed this way for last hurrah

Pop quiz time for all you amateur military historians. Which of the following is true about the USS Kitty Hawk?:

A) It is the Navy’s oldest active ship.

B) It was the first aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War to receive a Presidential Unit Citation for "exceptionally meritorious and heroic service.”

C) It was the first carrier summoned to deliver troops and aircraft to Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001.

D) It led a battle group during the initial “shock and awe” campaign against Iraq in 2003.

E) All of the above.

The answer,

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Air Cav flies home from Iraq

The first big wave of soldiers from the 4th Squadron, 6th Air Cavalry Regiment is scheduled to return to Fort Lewis from a 15-month deployment Tuesday afternoon.

Kisses and hugs galore await about 270 soldiers who flew, maintained and supported Blackhawk and Kiowa Warrior helicopter missions all over Northern Iraq. They’ll be reunited with loved ones at a ceremony scheduled early afternoon Tuesday in a hangar at the Army post. The News Tribune plans to cover it with words and pictures.

There are more than 600 soldiers in the 4-6 Air Cav, with the rest due home throughout

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DuPont loves the military, and it’s throwing a party this weekend

DuPont is hosting a military appreciation celebration this weekend.

It’s called Operation We Love Our Military, and it’s running tonight and Saturday.

The cause for the party?

"The military and their families live in and around the community and help to keep local businesses in operation," according to a press release. "Needless to say, the businesses of DuPont are very appreciative for their military neighbors and their families."

The celebration begins tonight at Ross Plaza with a hot dog barbecue and a screening of "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" at dusk, or about 8:45 p.m.

On Saturday,

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The leave wasn’t a celebration for everyone

Spc. Edward Mears sat atop the hill during the ceremony and silently watched his twin sons play in the grass. Deployment hasn’t been much to celebrate for his household.

"It’s tough," he said. "It’s tough on me. It’s tough on them. It’s tough on my wife. It’s tough on my daughter. These last 10 days have been like a breeze. They just went so fast."

Mears, a 36-year-old Tacoma resident, served with the 81st Brigade during its first deployment to Iraq in 2004-05. This time around is more difficult, he said, because his 4-year-old sons and 2-year-old daughter

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Bittersweet celebration

Randall Anderson took his family on a dinner cruise and a camping trip to make the most of his 10 days of pre-deployment leave.

That small slice of normalcy has ended for Anderson and others in the 81st Brigade Combat Team of the Washington National Guard. Now comes the difficult part. For Anderson, a 33-year-old specialist from Puyallup, that doesn’t necessarily mean entering a war zone.

"I’m not nervous when it comes to doing my job," he said. "I’m just not looking forward to leaving my family behind."

Anderson spent his last hours before deployment with

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