FOB Tacoma

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Archives: Oct. 2009


Making a difference

Fort Lewis soldiers, their families and civilian employees are working around the South Sound area on community projects as part of Make a Difference Day.

Here’s what’s going on, according to the public affairs office:

42nd Military Police Brigade: More than 30 soldiers will expand walking trails, refurbish a walking bridge and clean out a ravine in Steilacoom. Another 25 soldiers will rebuild decking at Weber Court Park.

4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division: Soldiers from the brigade’s rear detachment will help with landscaping and clean-up at Fort Steilacoom Park.

593rd Sustainment Brigade: Twenty-six members of the 80th Ordnance Battalion will

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Triple Nickel uncases colors

The Fort Lewis engineer brigade that returned last month from a yearlong deployment in which it oversaw construction projects across Iraq uncased its colors during a ceremony Friday morning.

The 150 soldiers of the 555th Engineer Brigade’s headquarters deployed in September to oversee operations in 16 of the country’s 18 provinces. It was the third deployment to Iraq for the unit nicknamed the “Triple Nickel.”

The uncasing ceremony symbolizes the completion of a unit’s return to Fort Lewis; a similar ceremony in which the unit command cases the colors precedes a deployment overseas.

About two-thirds of the 3,200 service members

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Local links, Oct. 23

Many of today’s local links are stories about Spc. Kyle A. Coumas, the 5th Stryker Brigade soldier killed in Afghanistan. Coumas is the 18th member of the brigade to die since it deployed in July.

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division:
Lockeford soldier dies in Afghan bombing [The Record]
Kyle Coumas, of Lockeford, killed in action [Lodi News-Sentinel]
Another 1st Battalion casualty from Fort Lewis [Seattle Times]
2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment prepping for Afghan rotation [Stars and Stripes]
Qalat Shoe Drive [DVIDS]

17th Fires Brigade
Women’s Newspaper [DVIDS]

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Bomb kills Fort Lewis Stryker soldier

A Fort Lewis soldier was killed Wednesday in southern Afghanistan when a bomb detonated near his vehicle.

Spc. Kyle A. Coumas, a 22-year-old infantryman from Lockeford, Calif., was killed in Kandahar province, where much of 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division battling an entrenched Taliban presence.

Coumas is the 18th soldier from 5th Brigade to die since the 4,000-member unit left Fort Lewis in July. Twelve of those deaths have come from Coumas’ 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment.

He is the second Fort Lewis soldier in the past four days to die in Afghanistan. Spc. Michael A. Dahl Jr., also of

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Stop lossed? It’s pay day


Got stop-lossed and sent back to Iraq or Afghanistan? You’ve got some cash coming your way.

Well, it’s probably a check. But either way, it can be exchanged for goods and services. A provision in the recently passed defense supplemental appropriations bill allows service members who were called back to duty $500 per month.

It’s open to members of all branches, including the National Guard and the reserves. Payments are retroactive to Sept. 11, 2001.

Here are some facts to know, courtesy of Sen. Patty Murray’s office:

– Effective Oct. 21, active, reserve, and former service members will be eligible to be compensated for each month, or portion of a month, they were retained beyond their contracted separation or voluntary retirement date.

– Payments are retroactive to Sept. 11, 2001, and cover involuntary service performed through Sept. 30, 2009.

– Claims may be submitted starting Oct. 21 and must be filed by Oct. 21, 2010.

– Service members who have received regular stop-loss pay for service performed after Oct. 1, 2008, will be compensated only if they were in stop-loss status before that date.

– Retroactive compensation will be paid lump sum for the months served in stop-loss status.

– Service members will not receive retroactive stop-loss pay if they received regular stop-loss pay for the same period.

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Alleged gunman’s link to Fort Lewis

We’ve received a few e-mails about why the soldier accused of killing five American troops at a stress clinic in Baghdad might be tried here at Fort Lewis, especially given that he served with a Germany-based engineer battalion.

Here’s the answer:

Sgt. John Russell was assigned to the 54th Engineer Battalion when he deployed to Iraq. When the unit arrived, it was attached to Fort Lewis’ 555th Engineer Brigade.

After Russell allegedly killed the five service members on May 11, he was assigned to the Triple Nickel headquarters and placed in pretrial confinement in Kuwait. When the brigade headquarters

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Local links, Oct. 22

Today’s local links:

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division:
Family friend creates memorial fund for soldier who once called Carlisle home [The Patriot-News]

McChord Air Force Base:
New runway increases possibilities for Camp Guernsey [Platte County Record-Times]

555th Engineer Brigade:
Soldier accused in stress clinic slayings is back in U.S. [Stars and Stripes]

3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division:
Fort Myers, Fla., Native Provides Support to Balad School [DVIDS]

17th Fires Brigade:
Iraqi Army, 17th Fires Brigade Conduct Joint Medical Mission [DVIDS]


Local links, Oct. 21

Hal Bernton, the Seattle Times reporter working in Afghanistan, talked with KUOW-FM yesterday about his experiences in South Asia, including an embed with 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Other local links:

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division:
Bomb kills Fort Lewis soldier in Afghanistan [The News Tribune]
Fort Lewis soldier dies in Afghanistan [Seattle Times]
23-year-old soldier from Moreno Valley dies in Afghanistan battle [Valley News]
Habersham man wounded in Afghanistan [The Northeast Georgian]
Lone Medic [DVIDS]

I Corps/Multi-National Corps-Iraq:
Report Finds Lapses in Handling of G.I. Accused

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