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Archives: Oct. 2009


First-hand account describes blast that killed seven from Fort Lewis

The explosion that killed seven Fort Lewis Stryker soldiers in Southern Afghanistan Tuesday came at the end of what had been an uneventful overnight mission in a dry riverbed, according to a Reuters news reporter traveling with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

The reporter’s first-hand account also tells how soldiers from another platoon of Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment narrowly missed detonating the same bomb earlier.

Read the Reuters account by clicking here.


Local links, Oct. 27

Be sure to check out this nice piece by my Olympian colleague, Christian Hill, about soldiers who lost limbs overseas and how they’re recovering with the help of prosthetics technology.

Other local links:

81st Brigade Combat Team
Moses Lake soldiers saluted [Columbia Basin Herald]

Hal Bernton in Afghanistan
A trip west with the ambassador [Seattle Times]
Hashing through Kabul [Seattle Times]

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
‘He died an American hero’ [Journal Times]
Remembering a soldier who used to call Wisconsin home [WITI-TV]

1st Special Forces Group

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Coumas’ parents release statement

The parents of Spc. Kyle Coumas, the Fort Lewis Stryker soldier killed Oct. 21 in Afghanistan, released a statement through the Fort Lewis public affairs office.

“Kyle Coumas was a man who believed that serving his country, being a part of a greater whole and being dedicated to preserving our nations freedom was the most honorable job a person could have,” Michael and Lori Coumas wrote.

“His selfless duty to his country came as little surprise to those who knew him. His earliest act of service began in 2003 when our family sponsored a platoon serving in Iraq.

Read more »


Striking back

It’s no secret that the troops of 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division have been hit hard while fighting in the orchards of the Arghandab River valley of Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

So today’s brief operational update from the ISAF communications office comes as good news. American and Afghan troops killed a dozen militants during a raid Sunday designed to “interdict” the region’s Taliban commander and his followers.

The force included ground and air strikes. The soldiers discovered – and then destroyed – a cache of AK-47 rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition belts and communications gear.


Rangers lead the way — in noise production

The Fort Lewis public affairs office has alerted the media that an exercise beginning today that involves special operators could get loud. And it’s not just limited to Lewis or the Yakima Training Center.

The exercise will involve troops from 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment; the 160th Special Operators Aviation Regiment and the Air Force Special Operations Command. They’ll be working in Fort Lewis, the Yakima Training Center, the Snoqualmie National Forest and “surrounding communities.”

The training isn’t open to the media – hey, the Rangers are pretty typically mediaphobic – but Fort Lewis assures us it’s gonna be high-intensity.

Read more »


Tan-colored Strykers coming soon

Stars and Stripes reports on a topic that has been a head-scratcher for years: Why does the Army send green-painted Strykers to desert climates, where they’ll drive alongside tan-colored Humvees and MRAPs?

That’s gonna change soon: The 401st Army Field Support Brigade announced in a press release that Strykers are gonna get a coat of dust-colored paint. The reason? “For soldier safety, first and foremost, as well as materiel uniformity,” the release said.

Of course, don’t expect this to happen immediately. From the story:

Soldiers in the field will not be authorized to repaint the Strykers themselves. That can

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Local links, Oct. 26

Stars and Stripes has a reporter embedded in Zabul province with 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment of 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. The story involves the coloring of Strykers (more on that in a later blog post).

Other local links:

81st Brigade Combat Team:
For Bremerton-Based National Guard Members, Silence and Celebration [Kitsap Sun]

4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
The Value of Vehicle Maintenance [DVIDS]
Zaidon School Renovation [DVIDS]
Nasir Was Salam Patrol [DVIDS]

17th Fires Brigade
Soldiers Physically Capable As 17th FB Test PT [DVIDS]

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A flight to remember

A nationwide program is giving World War II veterans a chance to visit the new war memorial in Washington, D.C. And the commander of the American Legion post in Bellevue organizing the fundraising drive in Washington state is hoping to raise enough money to cover the entire expense.

The cost of each flight is about $1,000, and one of the equirements is that every three vets must travel with a caregiver. A doctor and respiratory therapist must also accompany each flight.

“My dream would be to raise enough funds to pay the way for the volunteers as well,” Jim Broe

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