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Archives: Nov. 2009

Nov.
24th

Questions surround death of Fort Lewis soldier

The parents of a Fort Lewis soldier killed in Iraq earlier this month says someone shot their daughter on an American military base near Kirkush.

Staff. Sgt. Amy Tirador of Colonie, N.Y., died Nov. 4 in what the military called a non-combat incident. Her mother told The News Tribune on Tuesday that her 29-year-old daughter was shot execution-style, in the back of the head.

The military is investigating, a process that could take two or three months. Until then, officials are releasing few details.

“It was not a suicide,” said her mother, Colleen Murphy. “And it was not an accident. There are so many scenarios about what could have happened, and that’s why everyone is being so closed-mouthed about it.”
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Nov.
24th

Local links, Nov. 24

Stars and Strips caught up with the Washington National Guard soldiers fighting roadside bombs in Afghanistan. The 741st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion left in April; they’re now working as Task Force Paladin.

Other local links:

I Corps/Multi-National Corps-Iraq
Lewis Bound: I Corps Analytical Element Completes Year-long Tour [DVIDS]

Washington service members
Family mourns death of soldier [Joplin Globe]
Memorial funds set up locally to honor soldier killed in Afghanistan [Joplin Globe]

Fort Lewis
Police: Soldiers Accused Of Home Invasion Sparked By Divorce [KIRO-TV]

62nd Medical Brigade
Medical colonel deploys

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Nov.
23rd

Blast kills Marysville soldier

A Snohomish County soldier was among two paratroopers killed in southern Afghanistan last week when an insurgent detonated a car bomb near their unit.

Staff. Sgt. John J. Cleaver of Marysville and Sgt. Daniel A. Frazier of St. Joseph, Mo., died Nov. 19 near Forward Operating Base Shajoy in Zabul province. The two men served with 4th Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.

Cleaver’s mother told The Joplin Globe of Missouri the soldiers were delivering supplies when a truck pulled up beside them and detonated. Several other soldiers were injured.

Cleaver enlisted in the Navy in 1995 and served in Kosovo and

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Nov.
23rd

Local links, Nov. 23

Sean Naylor of the Army Times has this cool piece about soldiers from Fort Lewis’ 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment using info ops in their fight against the Taliban.

From the story:

As a crowd gathered to watch the spectacle, loudspeakers mounted on a Stryker rammed the message home: “We took these weapons from the dead Taliban that decided to fight Task Force Legion, and we took them from the cowardly Taliban that surrendered to us and are currently sitting in our jail.”

The in-your-face challenge to the insurgents was unprecedented. For years the Taliban had held sway here

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Nov.
21st

For fiancees of the deployed, a legal limbo

Catlin Ang doesn’t dread the knock on the door and the visit by two soldiers in dress uniforms. If the unthinkable happens in Afghanistan, she’ll likely find out over the phone.

The 22-year-old Fife resident is the beneficiary of Spc. Nick Torres’ life insurance. She is carrying their child, due this month. She’s helping him make sure his bills back home are paid while he’s deployed with his Fort Lewis Stryker brigade.

But the two are engaged, not married. The Army recognizes legalities, not promises.

“It’s a little unfair, to be honest,” she said. “The only thing that’s different is a piece of paper. I’m pregnant with his child. I’m taking care of his business back home, but I don’t have any rights.”

Countless others – fiancées, boyfriends, girlfriends and domestic partners – are in a similar situation. They wake up in the middle of the night to have a Skype video chat with their significant other in Iraq or Afghanistan. They fret over the latest headline about a bombing in Kandahar or Baghdad. They trade e-mails with family members of the deployed and attend official functions.
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Nov.
20th

Flying dolphins

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U.S. Air Force photo

Tech. Sgt. Heather Normand of Tacoma has loaded a variety of cargo on jets over the years: food, water, troops, toilet paper, generators, helicopters, Humvees and more.

But the the latest mission for the loadmaster from McChord Air Force Base has an added wrinkle. The cargo will munch on frozen fish throughout the flight.

“Dolphins will be a first for me,” the 33-year-old Normand said Friday. “It’s definitely my most unique cargo so far.”

Two aircrews from McChord’s 446th Airlift Wing leave today for New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific. In an event dubbed Lagoon MINEX 2009, the American military — with a little help from four bottlenose dolphins ¬ is working alongside French, Australian and New Zealand forces to find and destroy more than 200 contact mines in the waters around the island.

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Nov.
20th

Local links, Nov. 20

On a day that soldiers, family members and friends gathered to pay their respects to Spc. Aaron S. Aamot and Spc. Gary L. Gooch Jr., the Pentagon released the name of another casualty from 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division: Spc. Joseph M. Lewis.

Other local links:

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Fort Lewis remembers two soldiers from a hard-hit platoon [Seattle Times]

Madigan Army Medical Center
Former local man shot at Fort Hood still improving [The Bulletin]

Fort Lewis
Deployed Magician Brings Laughter, Entertainment to Iraq [DVIDS]

Nov.
19th

5/2 cav scout killed in Afghanistan

Spc. Joseph M. Lewis
Spc. Joseph M. Lewis

A Fort Lewis soldier on his first combat deployment was killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday when a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle.

Spc. Joseph M. Lewis of Terrell, Texas, served as a cavalry scout with 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. He is the 29th member of the brigade to die since it deployed to southern Afghanistan in July.

Lewis, 26, first joined the Army in June 2005 and served a yearlong tour in South Korea. He arrived at Fort Lewis in February 2007 and was serving with the brigade’s 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment when he was killed in Kandahar.

“We are heartbroken, but are proud of Joe’s dedication and service to our country,” his family said in a statement to his hometown newspaper, the Terrell Tribune. “He loved his job, country, family and friends. Joe wanted to be a soldier since he was a child. The family called him ‘G.I. Joe.’

“He was fun loving and would do anything to help others. We shall miss him. We ask for your prayers and support for all the members of our military stationed all over the world.”
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