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Archives: June 2009


McChord welcomes new No. 1

News Tribune reporter Adam Lynn files this story after interviewing the new top airman in the Puget Sound area Friday:


The new commander of McChord Air Force Base will have his hands full as the Obama administration moves to draw down troops in Iraq and increase operations in Afghanistan.

McChord and its 4,600 military and civilian personnel and 43 C-17 cargo jets certainly will play a central role "if a decision is made to shift forces anywhere in the world," Col. Kevin J. Kilb said Friday.


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Slowin’ down

Postings will be a tad more erratic the next couple weeks. I’ll be on vacation, but I’m confident others back at the TNT will update this when news breaks.


What’s the problem with telling the Iraqis’ side?

And since I’m posting about Stars and Stripes, I should give the paper credit: It has the best coverage of Iraq by a Western media outlet today. It receives funding from the Department of Defense but is editorially independent — no S-2 folks poring over each story before it goes out. Its reporters certainly don’t envision themselves as stenographers for guys with stars on their shoulders.

But apparently they’re doing too good of a job for the military’s taste.

From today’s edition:

Asserting that Stars and Stripes “refused to highlight” good news in Iraq that the

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Stripes: ‘National Guard is key in Afghanistan’

Attention, National Guardsmen: The military wants you for Afghanistan.

Stars and Stripes has a story today about the importance of the National Guard soldiers — specifically ones with civil affairs-type expertise — in Afghanistan.

From the story:

Gen. David Petraeus, head of Central Command, has already suggested they could use more of the agribusiness development teams — manned by National Guardsmen from rural areas — that train Afghans in modern farming techniques. Thirteen already are in place.

An expansion of the State Partnership Program, which links state National Guard units with overseas militaries (Washington

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Vakoc in the Northwest Guardian

Fort Lewis spokesman Joe Piek shared this story he wrote for the Northwest Guardian about Fr. Tim Vakoc when the two were deployed to Iraq in 2003.

Soldiers gather for Christmas services

By Lt. Col. Joseph Piek
3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division

FOB PACESETTER, Iraq – As Arrowhead Brigade soldiers kept round-the-clock pressure on non-compliant enemy forces in the nearby town of Samarra, many 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Soldiers gathered from across the base camp to pause for Christmas services.

For one relatively silent night, the long-abandoned and cavernous Iraqi air force hangar that serves as a dining facility by day was transformed into a cathedral-like chapel.

Chaplain assistants from across the brigade as well as 296th Brigade Support Battalion volunteers arranged rows of plastic patio chairs like pews, as the praise band greeted churchgoers with familiar Christmas carols. Others passed out candles from a box deployed from Fort Lewis to mark the occasion.

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McChord hosts AMC Rodeo next month

The Air Mobility Command Rodeo returns to Fort Lewis next month. From the public affairs office:

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. – More than 100 teams and 2,500 people from the Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard, as well as allied nations, are expected to participate in Rodeo 2009, Air Mobility Command’s premier mobility competition, set to take place July 19 – 25, 2009 here.

“This year will mark the thirtieth anniversary of this competition with our international partners,” said Lt. Col. Philip Kase, Rodeo 2009 McChord director. “We are excited to continue this important friendship and look forward to an unforgettable Rodeo.”

The international competition focuses on readiness, and features airdrops, aerial refueling and other events which showcase the unique and wide-ranging capabilities of military security forces, and aerial port, maintenance and aeromedical evacuation personnel.

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