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Archives: March 2010

March
26th

62nd Medical Brigade prepares for deployment

Photo by Peter Haley/The News Tribune

It seemed like just a short while ago, Sgt. Lorenzo Lopez said, that he returned from a 15-month deployment to Iraq.

“Time flew,” said Lopez, a 22-year-old human resources specialist with the 62nd Medical Brigade headquarters who came back from the Middle East in October 2008. “It slides right through your fingers.”

But the Joint Base Lewis-McChord unit leaves next month for Afghanistan, the fourth time since 2003 the military has called the brigade headquarters to serve in a combat zone. Brigade officials cased the unit colors at Soldiers Field House at Lewis-McChord on Friday, the last formal event before leaving for a deployment overseas.

About 150 people will deploy and will provide command for all major medical units that provide care to NATO troops across Iraq. Subordinate units will provide a range of care, including routine medical and emergency services, surgery, dental care, medical logistics, preventative medicine, combat stress clinics, optometry, medical laboratory support, blood services and veterinary services.

The brigade will command units from all branches of the armed forces, and most of its troops will serve at Bagram Air Field Brigade commander Col. John Collins will serve as the top medical officer for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and provide oversight of all American military medical treatment facilities across the country.
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March
26th

Lewis-McChord soldier laid to rest

The Washington Post has a moving article about the burial of Sgt. Anthony A. Paci, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier killed March 4 in Afghanistan.

More than 200 family members and friends turned out for Paci’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, the Post reported. Paci’s death in a Stryker rollover left behind three children, all younger than 3 years old.

From the story:

As members of the Army’s Old Guard fired three volleys, Sgt. Paci’s family and friends drew closer around his wife, three children and parents. The crowd took a few steps closer in support of the

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March
26th

Local links, March 26

War resistor Pvt. Travis Bishop has been released from his incarceration at Joint Base Lewis-McChord three months early, the Seattle Times reported.

Bishop, a former Fort Hood-based soldier, began doubting the war in Iraq during a deployment. He refused to deploy to Afghanistan but said he wasn’t aware of an opportunity to file as a conscientious objector.

His lawyer charged at an October press conference that Bishop and another war resistor had been mistreated while in custody, allegations Lewis-McChord spokesmen deny.

Other local links:

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry

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March
25th

Medical units respond to Haitian earthquake

Staff Sgt. Karen Harless thinks often the Haiti’s children: kids of all ages wandering the crumbled streets of Port-au-Prince, their parents nowhere in sight. When they saw American military vehicles, they’d flag them down and ask for food and water.

“The first couple times we saw that it was pretty tough,” said Harless, the platoon sergeant of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 153rd Medical Detachment. “I have three kids myself. They were just walking around with nothing to do and nowhere to go.”

Harless was part of a 10-person blood services detachment who left Lewis-McChord in late January to help with the U.S. military’s humanitarian mission in Haiti. Two weeks later, 55 soldiers from the 56th Multifunctional Medical Battalion headquarters left for Haiti.

The base’s 62nd Airlift Wing also has a presence in there: an aerial port squadron that offloads cargo at the airport, a maintenance team and aircrews that ferry supplies between Port-au-Prince and Charleston Air Force Base.

The troops are part of an American military force that arrived a week after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake destroyed much of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and killed an estimated 230,000 people.
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March
25th

Local links, March 24

The 62nd Airlift Wing public affairs shop has an article about a staff sergeant serving in Chile as part of the U.S. military’s response to the Feb. 27 earthquake.

Other local links:

3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Suffering and Triumph in Iraq: a Sheikh’s Story [DVIDS]
Army and Navy Receive Medical Training [DVIDS]
Illuminating the Night to Increase Bases Safety [DVIDS]
Aruba Suq Micro-grant Surge Shows Unprecedented Progress [DVIDS]

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Army hero Sgt. Anthony Paci laid to rest today [The Trentonian]
Progress in

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March
24th

University Place resident tapped as CASA

A retired major general with military and business roots in western Washington was tapped to be a civilian advisor to the Army’s top civilian leader.

James M. Collins took an oath Monday to begin a two-year term as Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (or CASA) for Washington.

Collins, a University Place resident, served more than 35 years in the Army and retired after serving as deputy commander of I Corps at Fort Lewis. He later spent 22 years with the Federal Way-based Weyerhauser Company, most recently as the timber company’s vice president for procurement and energy.

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March
24th

Local links, March 24

Not too many stories of local troops out there today:

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Dad’s return from Afghanistan surprises kids [The News Tribune]

62nd Medical Brigade
Just What the Doctor Ordered: a Mission for Fort Lewis’ 56th Multi-Functional Medical Battalion [DVIDS]

Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Army Mail Training Ramps Up During Silver Scimitar [DVIDS]

March
23rd

A surprise homecoming

Photo by Tony Overman/Staff photographer

Kirra Reiter buried her face into her father’s camouflage jacket and squeezed him hard. Her little brother, Jarrod, stared at his dad and smiled.

And Capt. Troy Reiter, a travel-weary Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier back from the war in Afghanistan, soaked in every minute of his children’s surprise to see him.

“This was worth it,” Reiter said. “Just very, very much worth it. I’m so glad I did it.”

Reiter, a company commander with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, made his kids’ day Tuesday by showing up unexpectedly at Meadows Elementary School in Lacey.

Minutes later, the family appeared overwhelmed by emotion.
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