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Archives: March 2010

March
31st

Friends remember soldier’s smile, tenacity

Photo by Joe Barrentine/The News Tribune

Pfc. Erin McLyman wanted to return to Iraq. A broken neck couldn’t stop her.

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier suffered the injury during leave earlier this year. She told her commanders in the 296th Brigade Support Battalion she planned come back as quickly as she could.

Against the odds, McLyman rejoined her comrades on Feb. 14.

And less than a month later, an indirect-fire round killed the 26-year-old Eugene, Ore., native.

“It is no secret that she quite easily could have parlayed her circumstance to personal advantage,” Lt. Col. Elisabeth Crooks said Wednesday during McLyman’s memorial service at Lewis-McChord. “But Pfc. McLyman’s sense of duty and loyalty to her team drove her back to theater to stand beside Arrowhead soldiers in combat, once again.”

Crooks, who was reading comments made by battalion commander Lt. Col. Hayden Hungerford during a memorial service earlier this month in Iraq, didn’t give the date or events that led to McLyman’s injury. But Crooks talked of an extensive recovery period and said there was initially little hope McLyman would be medically cleared to return to combat.
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March
31st

Photog injured with 5/2 troops returns to work

Emilio Morenatti, the Associated Press photographer who was riding in a Stryker with Fort Lewis troops when it hit a roadside bomb, an incident that led to the loss of his foot, has returned to work.

Morenatti has shot some stellar photos from Afghanistan and Pakistan over the last few years. Check out a few of his photos here.

March
31st

The emotion of the memorial ceremony

The mother-in-law of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord Army Ranger killed in Afghanistan wrote an eloquent, emotional post about what it was like to attend the memorial service on base.

Sgt. Joel D. Clarkson of 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment died from wounds sustained during a firefight on March 13. The 23-year-old Alaska native died three days later at the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.

His mother-in-law, Doni Turner, wrote beautifully about the service. “Orion and I sat down in the quiet church, only soft piano music playing, and he took down a bottle and nestled into me,” she

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March
31st

TAPS and the truth about Area 51

The Seattle Times had two cool military stories over the weekend. An reporter on Sunday visited a weekend seminar of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The organization, known as TAPS, is widely known for doing some fantastic work for people who have lost loved ones in combat.

From the story:

After the session, the children carried balloons outdoors, letters to their parents written on tissue paper, attached to the strings.

“I love you dad. I miss you. I wish you were here. I’m in kindergarten now,” wrote Aly Wisenhunt, 5.

Trevor McCants, 14, and

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March
31st

More help for TBI, psychological health on way

The Army will soon activate a program at Madigan Army Medical Center that will develop, research and use technology solutions for psychological health and traumatic brain injuries for service members wounded in combat.

The National Center for Telehealth and Technology will be officially activated next month. It “seeks to identify, treat, and minimize or eliminate the short and long-term adverse effects of TBI and other mental health conditions associated with military service,” according to its Web site.

The center, which will employ eight active-duty soldiers and 67 civilians, will running by next month.

Its roots came from recommendations

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March
31st

Local links, March 31

I’m back from a few days off. If you haven’t read it, check out my Sunday stories about the Stryker vehicle. In the main story, I covered a bit of the history and what folks across the military (from joes to generals) and Congress think about the vehicle today. In a sidebar, I wrote about future modifications to the vehicles. And you should check out the print edition: It’s got plenty of cool graphics, a box descrbing the 10 variants and a timeline of the Strykers vis-à-vis Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Other local links:

Military spouses
Abrupt

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March
29th

O’Reilly’s full Stryker critique

I wrote the Sunday centerpiece about the Stryker vehicle. Most of the story quotes people who think the Stryker is the right platform for the military for today’s wars and future wars.

Of course, some disagree. One such person, Irish author Victor O’Reilly, was one of the system’s most vocal critics during the transformation a decade ago. He wrote a report for a congressman (he “measured my research material in yards and had sources from the CSA’s office to the Air Force”) before the first brigade went into Iraq that panned the system.

Years later, he’s still not convinced. I can to briefly summarize what he wrote me. But I hope it can spark conversation by posting his full critique here. It’s just below the jump:
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March
27th

Kidnapped American civilian contractor returned in Iraq

The Department of Defense announced today that an Army civilian employee supporting Operation Iraq Freedom was returned to Military Control on Thursday, March 25th. Issa T. Salomi, 60, of El Cajon, Calif., was believed to have been kidnapped in Baghdad, where he was assigned to U.S. Forces-Iraq. He became unaccounted for on Jan. 23.  Salomi’s permanent duty station is Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

The circumstances of his disappearance remain under investigation.

Military reporter Scott Fontaine wrote about the kidnapped contractor in an earlier story. Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord had participated in the search for him.

Read the complete article

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