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Archives: July 2010


Military police unit comes home to hugs

About 150 soldiers with the 66th Military Police Company at Joint Base Lewis-McChord returned home from a year in Iraq and reunited with loved ones at a ceremony Thursday night.

The MP unit, known as the War Eagles, deployed in July 2009 to Baqouba, Diyala province, where it assisted, trained and mentored Iraqi Security Forces on everything from crime scene investigation to election security.

The soldiers of the 66th are part of a mass surge of some 18,000 soldiers returning this year to the base south of Tacoma, with the vast majority coming home this summer.


Marine who grew up in Kitsap County killed in Afghanistan

A Marine who grew up in Kitsap County died in Afghanistan on Sunday. Cpl. Joe L. Wrightsman, 23, of Jonesboro, La., was supporting combat operations in Helmand province.

He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Read the complete story by the Kitsap Sun here.


Change at the top of just-returned Stryker brigade

The Army is moving quickly to change commanders of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade fresh from a year of hard duty in southern Afghanistan.

Col. Harry D. Tunnell, IV, will relinquish command of the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Thursday morning as part of a “welcome home” and uncasing of the colors ceremony at the local base. Also during the event at Watkins Field, a Silver Star medal will be presented to one soldier, and injured and wounded soldiers will ceremonially reunite with the brigade.

Taking command of the 4,000-member brigade is Col. Barry F. Huggins, who is

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Updated: Backups on SB I-5 reached 13 miles at JBLM air show

UPDATE 3: The air show at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is causing southbound backups of approximately 5 miles, from Bridgeport Way north to 48th Street AT 1:15 p.m. Backups three miles are also occurring on SR 512.

UPDATE 2: The WSDOT reported around noon that the air show at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is causing southbound backups of approximately 13 miles, from Bridgeport Way north to about the Pierce/King County Line. There are also now northbound backups of about one mile to Gravelly Lake Drive. Backups of more than three miles are also occurring on SR 512.


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What it feels like to hit 5 Gs in a Patriot jet

News Tribune reporter Doug Pacey, who normally covers prep sports, had a chance to go up in an L-39 jet with the Patriots Jet Team on Thursday in advance of the McChord Air Expo. The Patriots are the headliners at the show Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Here’s a first-person account of Pacey’s experience.

Before going up, we were put through safety training. Jeff Jess, master of jet operations, taught us how to do something we hoped we wouldn’t need to utilize – open the canopy, bail out of the jet and pull the ripcord on the parachute. The jets do

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Weekend air show is as big as it gets at Lewis-McChord

An estimated 300,000 visitors are expected to converge on McChord Field Saturday and Sunday for the biggest public event this year at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

They’re coming to enjoy the first air expo since 2008 (it’s now held roughly every two years), the first since Fort Lewis and McChord became a joint base, and the first in a long while not to feature a performance by the elite Thunderbirds flying team.

Instead the marquee act this year will be the privately operated Patriots Jet team. We had a photographer and reporter up in the air with them today.


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5th Brigade commanders back from Afghanistan

Most of the nearly 4,000 soldiers in a battle-weary Stryker brigade that spent a year in Afghanistan will have returned home to Joint Base Lewis-McChord by the end of this week, according to officials at the local base.

The arrival of the brigade commander and his command team late Tuesday signifies that the deployment is all but over. The ceremonial end won’t come until the unit’s colors are uncased in the next few weeks.

Members of the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division started returning home in the third week of June, with a big surge over the July 4 holiday

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Sound to Narrows race comes to Iraq – minus the Sound and the Narrows

The Sound to Narrows run in West Tacoma has a history of military participation. This year, that tradition reached all the way to Iraq, where a pair of deployed Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers pounded out 12 kilometers at the same time the race was happening here – but without the shade of Point Defiance trees to keep them cool.

Sgt. James Maarsingh, a Tacoma native, and his buddy Spc. Kingsley Grant, of St. Petersburg, Fla., ran together at 6:45 p.m. in Iraq on June 12. With the time difference, their fellow soldiers back home would’ve been starting the race

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