FOB Tacoma

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Archives: Sep. 2008

Sep.
30th

As many as 10,000 Lewis soldiers in Iraq next year

It’s official: I Corps is heading to Iraq next year to take on day-to-day operations.

And the unit that runs Fort Lewis will have two familiar brigades under its command.

The Department of Defense announced the major units in its next rotation Tuesday, and joining I Corps will be the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and the 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division – both based at Fort Lewis. The announcement likely caught few people by surprise on post, where personnel have expected this decision.

A firm timetable hasn’t been set, but I Corps is expected to arrive in the winter. The two Stryker brigades will arrive during by summer; a more exact time or location hasn’t been determined because it’s not certain which units they will replace, I Corps spokeswoman Maj. Kathy Turner said.

With smaller units also expected to deploy, as many as 10,000 Fort Lewis personnel will be serving in Iraq next year, Turner said.

This will be I Corps’ first combat deployment since the Korean War. 3rd Brigade will make its third trip to Iraq, and this will be the first time 5th Brigade sees combat.

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Sep.
30th

Surprise surprise: Fort Lewis units to Iraq (updated)

It’s hardly been a secret, but the Department of Defense made it official this morning: I Corps, the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, are all in the next rotation for Iraq.


I don’t have anything official in terms of a timeline, but I am told the Corps headquarters will go early in the year — late winter, early spring — and that the two Stryker brigades will deploy in the summer or early fall. Not sure which one goes first.


The Corps’ deployment is historic — its first since Korea.

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Sep.
25th

I don’t want you to read it somewhere else first

I have decided to take The News Tribune’s offer of a buyout and leave the paper after 21 years here as a reporter and editor.


It’s hard to go, for sure, but the truth is I have been thinking about a change for some time now. I’m looking forward to starting something new.


I’ll wrap things up here next week. I don’t think the editors have decided who will cover the military beat, but I suspect they’ll make that assignment soon.


In the meantime, thank you, readers, for your interest and your support.

Sep.
25th

Jailhouse interviews

KXLY TV in Spokane interviewed the two Fort Lewis soldiers accused of deserting and then going on a petty crime spree to feed their addiction to prescription painkillers.

Below is the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office press release about the arrests.

And I’m just going to leave it at that.

Deserters Nabbed In Mini-Crime Wave

A pair of U.S. Army deserters was arrested Tuesday after Spokane Valley property crimes detectives linked them to a series of thefts and other criminal incidents committed during the past two months.

Michael W. Grenkavich, 21, and Mitchell L. Rea, 22, have been living a transient lifestyle in Spokane since deserting from Ft. Lewis within two days of each other last July. Grenkavich had ties to the
Spokane area prior to enlisting in the military.

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Sep.
24th

POW/MIA memorial is a big hit

Interest in the new POW/MIA memorial wall at Tacoma’s War Memorial Park has taken off since our original story published in early September.


At that time the project’s ringleader, retired Army Lt. Col. Joseph Zelazny of Tacoma, said it looked like there would be 42 black granite tiles mounted in time for the Sept. 19 dedication ceremony. Each engraved tile briefly states the service record of a former local prisoner of war or service member who went missing in action.


We caught up with Zelazny this week and he was pleasantly surprised about underestimating the number.


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Sep.
19th

Joe Galloway at Fort Lewis PX

Author and McClatchy military columnist Joe Galloway will be at the Fort Lewis PX 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to sign copies of his new book, “We Are Soldiers Still.” (Review here.)


It’s a followup to his “We Were Soldiers Once … And Young” with retired Lt. Gen. Hal Moore.


If you don’t have a Department of Defense sticker or ID, but you want to get a signed copy or meet the author, you can still get on Fort Lewis. Go to the visitor center at the main gate – Exit 120 off of Interstate 5

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Sep.
19th

Military as a path to citizenship

Following up on the story Thursday about the annual naturalization ceremony at Fort Lewis: The military – and in particular, the military during wartime – has long been a path to U.S. citizenship.


The numbers tell the story, as published by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics. (Download Table 20.)


The government first started tracking naturalizations in the military in 1918 – the last year of World War I –  when 63,993 service members took the Oath of Allegiance. That was out of a total of 151,449 new citizens that year.


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