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Get used to name changes at Lewis, McChord

Post by Matt Misterek / The News Tribune on Jan. 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm with 8 Comments »
January 28, 2010 4:19 pm

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 Milepost 118, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kelly Stowe said this afternoon.

It will be followed Monday with an identical sign on southbound I-5 at Milepost 127.59, about 500 feet north of the Highway 512 interchange near what is now the main entrance to McChord Air Force Base, which will now be known as JBLM McChord Field.

The Army post and the Air Force base are merging operations as the result of a 2005 order from the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission. They’ll be one of 12 such joint military installations across the nation.

Joining forces is meant to eventually save money and improve standards in support services ranging from security to aircraft fueling to medical and child care, military officials say.

Merging support operations does not alter the mission of either military branch, nor change its basic chain-of-command structure. There will, however, be a new garrison to manage the operations.

The milestone will be marked on Monday with a 10 a.m. ceremony casing the colors of the Army garrison that now runs Fort Lewis and unfurling the new colors of Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The two 7-feet-tall-by-14-feet-wide freeway signs cost about $10,000 in labor and materials, with the cost to be shared by the Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense, Stowe said.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. JustinD2515 says:

    My comment has been merged as well. IThinkThisIsAWasteOfMoney.

  2. witchiwoman says:

    Ha ha justin. I was thinking the same thing.

    Is it going to be called a Base or a Post now? Each branch is a bit particular about what they’re called, you know. I wonder if it will be changed to a Pase or a Bost? LOL.

    Who thought this up anyway?

  3. Weatherpunk says:

    Justin, this actually is going to end up saving quite a bit of money for both branches of service, and the taxpayer in the end. By combining manpower for redundant post/base community services, they can redistribute funds/personnel to other areas.

    The soldiers will continue training & doing Army missions and my fellow Airmen will continue to support US Air Force missions, but they’ll be sharing civil engineering resources, emergency response (Fire, Medical, Police) workers, and other administrative offices, in addition to government housing areas.

    It really doesn’t matter if Soldiers insist on still calling their section or the entire facility a post and if Airmen prefer using “base;” that part is trivial, honestly.

    I don’t know why the signs for I-5 cost so much, which may be a shady use of state funds, but the actual base merger is anything but wasteful.

  4. Back when I was a kid my friends and I rode across the two bases and didn’t know we weren’t suppose to be there until the MP at the gate on the other side told us so. I’d like to try that on “Joint Base Lewis-McChord” today. This was during the Vietnam war.

  5. knowumsayin says:

    In the late 90’s they did try an open post on Ft Lewis – anyone could drive right on post – no guards at the gate. They had to close it down again because people were using the post as a trash dump for old appliances, tires, cars etc.

    Anyone in the Air Force knows this is a real humilation to have to take down the fences and share the same services with the Army.

    It would be sorta like taking the fence down and allowing Mexico to merge with the U.S.

  6. JustinD2515 says:

    @weatherpunk – I should have clarified that I was talking about the signs when I left my comment. $5,000 a piece for freeway signs seems a little expensive.

  7. Daisydog says:

    “Anyone in the Air Force knows this is a real humiliation to have to take down the fences and share the same services with the Army…” Yeah, because we all know the Army is #1 anyway!

    No fences are coming down between the two bases. I know. I asked my Barber in Tillicum…….

  8. bobbysangelwife says:

    Ignorance abound….

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