FOB Tacoma

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Archives: Sep. 2010

Sep.
20th

Early morning homecoming set for returning Fires Brigade battalion

About 150 soldiers are due back to Joint Base Lewis-McChord from a year in Afghanistan very early Wednesday morning. 

The contingent from the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Fires Brigade gets its homecoming at at 1:30 a.m., Wednesday at Soldiers Field House.

About 250 Soldiers from 5th Battalion deployed to Afghanistan last October, supporting the NATO-led effort with artillery batteries at bases in eastern Afghanistan and southern Afghanistan. They primarily were charged with clearing routes, providing convoy security and helping with detainee operations.

Four soldiers from the battalion were killed

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Sep.
20th

More soldiers from 201st surveillance coming home

More soldiers in the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade are expected to return home from Iraq to Joint Base Lewis-McChord today. They’re scheduled to hold a welcome-home ceremony at 6 p.m. More information is available here, as well as at the brigade’s Facebook page.  A third group of soldiers is still on its way home.

Last week, the 201st formally transferred its authority in southern Iraq to the 67th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade of the Nebraska National Guard.

At the ceremony, Col. Robert Whalen of Tacoma said the hardest part of the brigade’s yearlong tour was the death

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Sep.
17th

Eleven soldiers and airmen become citizens at JBLM

Eleven foreign-born soldiers and airmen were sworn in as American citizens today at Joint Base Lewis-McChord during a ceremony marking the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.

Five military spouses were sworn in as American citizens, too. The new citizens come from 10 countries:  the Philippines, South Korea, Peru, American Samoa, Argentina, Tanzania, Germany, Cuba, Finland, and Nigeria.

Since September 2001, 62,746 foreign-born soldiers have become American citizens, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. They come from at least 20 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sep.
17th

Lewis-McChord commander to lead forces in South Korea

President Obama today nominated the commanding general at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for a promotion that would have him lead U.S. forces in South Korea.

Maj. Gen. John Johnson has been the top commander at the base since June, when Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby left the Army I Corps after three years at Fort Lewis to take a position at the Pentagon.

Johnson served with Jacoby in Baghdad, when the I Corps managed day-to-day operations for the U.S. military in Iraq 2009-10.  Johnson was the deputy commanding general for operations. Johnson also led a brigade in Iraq in 2003 at

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Sep.
16th

Army suicides decline from June high

The Army on Thursday kept attention on suicides within its ranks by disclosing that as many as 23 soldiers took their lives last month. The announcement coincides with September’s designation as suicide prevention month, and it follows troubling statistics that showed a spike in suicides in June when 32 soldiers killed themselves.

The Army publishes the statistics as it seeks to make soldiers aware of mental health services that are available to them.

“Our efforts continue to evolve as we learn more about the multiple factors contributing to suicides and high-risk behavior within our Army family. 

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Sep.
15th

Golf course dedicates putting green for POW/MIA

The American Lakes Veterans Golf Course on Friday plans to remember prisoners of war and soldiers who remain missing in action by dedicating a new nine-hole putting green in their honor. The ceremony coincides with national POW/MIA Recognition Day.

It’s been a busy year at the golf course with the completion of a new Rehabilitation and Training Center and an ongoing campaign to build nine more holes. It’s used by veterans and military personnel, and by patients at hospitals that serve them.

“Many hours of volunteer labor contributed to

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Sep.
13th

New commander named for local Army forces

The Department of Defense this morning named a new commanding general for I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced that President Barack Obama nominated Army Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti for promotion to lieutenant general and assignment running Army operations at the joint Army-Air Force base south of Tacoma.

Scaparrotti most recently served as commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

If the Senate confirms the appointment as expected, Scaparrotti will become the 63nd commanding general in the 93-year history of the Army installation, recently known as Fort

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Sep.
11th

‘Advise and assist’ Stryker brigades? ‘Operation New Dawn?’

It came to our attention this week that the Defense Department is using kinder, gentler terminology to describe its deployed units in Iraq, now that President Obama has pulled out all “combat” troops.

For example, according to a casualty press release we read, the 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, is now called a “Stryker Advise and Assist Brigade” rather than the traditional “Stryker Brigade Combat Team” – even though the soldiers are presumably still driving the same 20-ton vehicles equipped with the same .50-caliber guns, grenade launchers, etc. And even though they are

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