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Archives: Jan. 2010


Get used to name changes at Lewis, McChord

Reporter Kris Sherman, who is working on a larger upcoming story about changes at Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base, reports the following:

If your head whipped around on I-5 near DuPont today and you thought, “What was that?” when you passed a sign reading “Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) next 6 exits,” it wasn’t your traffic-befuddled brain.

It was a brand new highway sign, heralding change at the South Sound’s two big military bases. Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base are merging into one installation Monday.

The first sign of the change went up on northbound I-5 at

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A different Iraq

UPDATE: Per request, here’s a slideshow of Joe Barrentine’s brilliant work from the past six weeks.

ARMY LIFE SUPPORT AREA, Kuwait – Joe took this photo of rusty bullets while riding in a Humvee with soldiers from Fort Lewis’ 17th Fires Brigade. As we prepare to leave the Middle East after more than six weeks, I think this photo represents the Iraq war, circa 2010: The potential for great violence abounds, but the country has quieted.

Joe and I visited two Stryker brigades, an intelligence brigade, an artillery brigade and I Corps during our time in Iraq, and without question

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The rise and fall of the wigglestick

BAGHDAD – Maybe the Iraqis will finally get the hint.

American troops across the country – including plenty from Fort Lewis – have criticized Iraqi soldiers and policemen for using the ADE-651, a modern-day divining rod whose makers claim can detect pretty much anything deemed illicit, like guns, bombs, counterfeit money and even ivory. Oh, and it works underground, underwater, from an airplane going overhead and through walls.

The Iraqi government has reportedly spent $85 million on the devices, which don’t even use batteries. It’s mockingly called the magic wand and the wigglestick. As one platoon leader ranted

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Biden visits Lewis troops in Iraq

Joe Barrentine/Staff photographer

BAGHDAD – Lt. Jill Ogues first learned the news from an intelligence report: Vice President Joe Biden was coming to Baghdad, and he was going to make an unannounced stop to meet Fort Lewis soldiers at a dining facility.

This called for action.

Ogues and two other lieutenants from Fort Lewis’ 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division arrived at the chow hall 15 minutes before Biden appeared and chose a table near the side entrance where the vice president entered. And when he arrived with entourage in tow, the officers had prime seats.

Their table was one of the first he visited at the dining facility Saturday. Biden asked the lieutenants about their jobs, their hometown and how long they had been in Iraq. He thanked them for their service and posed for photographs.

“It’s a thoughtful gesture – him coming here, spending time with us,” said Lt. Caitlin Conley, the leader of 4th Brigade’s military police platoon. “He’s got a busy schedule while he’s here. He’s got to meet with leaders and generals and guys like that, but it’s nice he made time for soldiers.”
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More McChord relief flights headed to Haiti

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Relief efforts by McChord aircrews to Haiti continue.

Master Sgt. Dean Miller, a spokesman at McChord, said another C-17 Globemaster III cargo jet was scheduled to depart at 1 p.m. today headed for the Caribbean nation devastated by last week’s earthquake.

 A third flight departed McChord at 8 p.m. Sunday. The crew of five on that flight will travel to Charleston to load bottled water for immediate transport to Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince. Once unloaded, the crew will airlift evacuees back to the United States, according to a press release.

The two initial flights left

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‘Don’t hit your golf balls at the Al Faw Palace.’

BAGHDAD – Joe and I have landed in Baghdad, the final leg of our Iraq journey. We’ll soon be bringing you stories from I Corps, which is running daily American military operations throughout the country.

When I was hammering out our itinerary before we left, I envisioned Baghdad being the start and finish point for us. The start because we needed press badges, available only from the Green Zone, and the end because the creature comforts of Baghdad are unlike anywhere else in the country.

I’m writing this from the back patio of the Joint Visitor Bureau, which sits just

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