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Archives: Oct. 2008

Oct.
31st

Puyallup sailor grants grandfather’s wish: a burial at sea

For years, Eugene Morgan didn’t talk much about his experiences aboard the USS Indianapolis.

The Seattle man served aboard the Portland-class cruiser during World War II including on July 30, 1945, when the ship came under attack from a Japanese submarine and sank in the Pacific Ocean near the Marianas Islands.

Morgan was one of 317 survivors among the crew of almost 1,200. Eventually, as the anti-war sentiment waned in the decades following the Vietnam War, he began to share his story.

Nearly a decade ago, he shared it with his grandson, Jason Witty of Puyallup.

Witty joined the Navy after graduating from Puyallup High School 11 years ago. Today he’s a machinist mate 1st class.

Morgan died of a heart attack in June at age 87. Among his last wishes was to be buried at sea near the spot of the Indianapolis’ sinking.

His grandson fulfilled that request earlier this month.

Read more »

Oct.
31st

One year in prison for Army officer who received illegal gratuity

My colleague, Adam Lynn, was at U.S. District Court in Tacoma today and reported on the sentencing of Cedar Lanmon, an Army captain who pleaded guilty to one count of accepting illegal gratuities. Prosecutors say he accepted $25,000 from an Albanian entrepreneur hoping to land work for the military in Iraq.


From the story:


Lanmon declined an opportunity to speak before his sentencing, but in an 11-page letter submitted to the judge he attempted to explain his conduct.


Operating in a war zone and a foreign culture muddled his thinking, Lanmon wrote. In addition to getting

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Oct.
31st

The agreement that could change I Corps’ mission

Another day brings more bad news about the viability of a negotiated security deal between the United States and Iraq. Both countries are working against a Dec. 31 deadline, when the United Nations mandate that authorizes American troops in Iraq is set to expire.

Some Iraqi lawmakers want changes to the agreement. Sticking points include the jurisdiction over American forces and a timeline for the withdrawal of all American troops.

“The window for any kind of discussions, negotiations is rapidly coming to a close,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military has told Baghdad it would shut down military operations and other vital services on Jan. 1 if the deal isn’t passed. Those other vital services, according to McClatchy’s Baghdad bureau, include “activities that support Iraq’s economy, educational sector and other areas.”

This – along with American presidential elections next week and Iraqi provincial elections in January – could drastically change I Corps’ mission when it takes over day-to-day operations in Iraq in the spring.

Read more »

Oct.
30th

Fort Lewis Marines (yep) return from deployment

There was no band. No speeches. The members of the Marine Corps Reserve unit based at Fort Lewis stepped off the bus and walked directly into the arms of their family members.

For Sgt. Arsenio Diga, that meant no wait in holding his 4-month old daughter, Jaynah, for the first time.

Diga and about 45 other Marines of the headquarters and service company of the 4th Landing Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group returned home after a seven-month deployment Thursday.

"It’s a bit overwhelming right now," said Diga, a 25-year-old Renton native.

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Oct.
30th

Exercise prepares I Corps for deployment to Iraq

Five large projection screens displayed a schedule, a map of Iraq, flowcharts and a live broadcast of MSNBC. Soldiers sat in front of computer monitors, typing constantly and receiving updates from around Iraq.

Over the public-address system, a voice announced news of a suicide bombing in Mosul, followed by an ambush by insurgents firing rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. The target: the mayor and police chief.

Thursday afternoon’s scenario at Fort Lewis was part of a two-week mission rehearsal exercise involving more than 900 local troops.

Next spring the soldiers of I Corps will go to Iraq to run day-to-day operations of the American military’s presence in the country. That responsibility has been rotated among the Army’s other three corps since the beginning of the war in 2003.

Two Stryker infantry brigades from Fort Lewis are expected to join their I Corps comrades in Iraq later in 2009.

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Oct.
30th

Dept. of Labor to hold veterans job fairs across the state

The U.S. Department of Labor is hosting a series of job fairs across the country – including 12 in Washington – as part of its HireVetsFirst initiative.


"The qualities America’s service members are known for – discipline, strong work ethic, leadership and technical skills – are highly valued by employers," Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said in a release. "These job fairs are part of our effort to help America’s service men and women transition back to civilian life when their tours of duty end and are an excellent opportunity for employers looking for great workers."

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Oct.
30th

Washboard abs, an M-4 and tofu

Do you know a solider who craves bean sprouts with his MRE? What about an airman who pines for something that grows on a pine tree come dinnertime? A Marine who won’t eat marine animals? A friend in the Navy who loves navy beans?


PETA’s looking for you.


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals just launched its first Sexiest Vegetarian Soldier contest. (Despite the name, it’s actually open to all members of the armed forces who "are defending the country and animals at the same time.")


Here’s the pitch from PETA:


"Why is going vegetarian

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Oct.
29th

Marine reservists coming home from Iraq deployment

Marines from a Washington reserve unit are returning from a seven-month deployment to Iraq tomorrow. Friends and family will welcome them at a ceremony at the Marine Home Site Training Center at Fort Lewis.


The 45 Marines, all from Western Washington, serve with the Headquarters and Service Company of the 4th Landing Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group. They deployed to Anbar Province in April and worked as a provisional security company.