FOB Tacoma

NOTICE: FOB Tacoma has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved FOB Tacoma.
Visit the new section.

Archives: Feb. 2011

Feb.
25th

GAO says Pentagon can do more to fix traffic around growing bases like JBLM

Another government report is urging the Pentagon to improve roads around growing military installations, such as Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Today’s comes from the Government Accountability Office, which found that the Pentagon’s main fund to pay for off-base traffic improvements is difficult to use and poorly understood.

The National Research Council earlier this month reached a similar conclusion, finding that the threshold to utilize the Defense Access Roads program is out of reach for military bases in developed areas. It requires traffic to double around a base before the Pentagon can open its coffers to pay for

Read more »

Feb.
24th

Judge rejecting appeals to stay in the Army from soldiers linked to war crimes

Soldiers linked to the war crimes investigation unfolding at Joint Base Lewis-McChord shouldn’t expect to stay in the Army.

That’s one way to read yesterday’s sentencing for Spc. Adam Kelly of Montesano, who was convicted of assaulting a comrade who blew the whistle on drug use in their platoon while it was deployed to Afghanistan.

He’s one of 12 soldiers in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division accused of misconduct at Forward Operating Base Ramrod last year. Five of them are accused of murdering three Afghan civilians during patrols.

The charges Kelly faced were on the less serious side of

Read more »

Feb.
23rd

Soldier to be sentenced after character witnesses testify

A Stryker soldier from Montesano is awaiting sentencing today after being convicted of assaulting a comrade and participating in a conspiracy to carry out that beating.

Lawyers are calling character witnesses to help an Army judge determine a sentence for Spc. Adam Kelly at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Kelly pleaded guilty this morning to beating up then-Pfc. Justin Stoner with six other soldiers after Stoner complained about drug use among members of his platoon in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Army judge Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks also found Kelly guilty of joining a conspiracy to harm Stoner.

Read more »

Feb.
23rd

“You Are Not Forgotten” is more than a slogan

Linda Brown, right, and daughter Lisa Newlander, show MIA bracelets they wore over the last year in honor of James Leslie Moreland/Staff photo by Janet Jensen

When I asked Linda Brown of Puyallup the one thing she wants people most to know about her brother’s remains coming home after 43 years missing in action from the Vietnam War, she said:

“Don’t every give up. Never, ever give up.”

I wrote about Brown and her family for a story published Tuesday. Her brother, U.S. Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class James Leslie Moreland, a Siver Star recipient, is coming back to U.S. mainland soil. He will be buried in May beside his parents’ graves in Ashby, Ala.

She and her daughter, Lisa Newlander, both lauded the U.S. government and its Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) for its perseverance in continuing to search for, find and return the remains of veterans lost in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Cold War, the Gulf War and other conflicts.

So did Kathy Strong, a 50-year-old Walnut Creek, Calif., woman who has been wearing a MIA bracelet in honor of Moreland since she was 12. She is part of the story of Moreland’s homecoming, too, and Moreland’s family is grateful for a stranger who wished every day for the return of Moreland’s remains.

This story has been covered by the Contra Costa Times and the Birmingham News.

As a reporter, I knew of the “bring every service member” home policy of the government, but in the process of writing the story this week, I learned even more about the great lengths to which this department goes.

Among recent releases posted on its website is news about:

11 World War II airmen whose remains have been recovered and are being returned to their families for burial “with full military honors.” They were aboard a B-24D Liberator flying out of Port Moresby, New Guinea, when their aircraft disappeared. This news was released Feb. 11

An airman missing from the Korean War, 1st Lt. Robert F. Dees 23, of Moultrie, Ga. The department announced Jan. 21 that his remains have been identified to his family for burial. His F-84 Thunderjet crashed during a bombing run in North Korea on Oct. 9, 1952. The news was released Jan.21.

Two airmen missing from Vietnam Air Force Col. James E. Dennany, 34, of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Maj. Robert L. Tucci, 27, of Detroit, Mich., disappeared Nov. 12, 1969, while flying an F-4D to escort a gunship on a night strike mission over Laos. News of their repatriation was released by the DPMO on Jan. 11.

Read more »

Feb.
23rd

Soldier admits assaulting comrade, but denies cover-up

News Tribune military reporter Adam Ashton reports this morning from a courtroom at Joint Base Lewis-McChord:

A Stryker soldier from Montesano this morning pleaded guilty to beating up a comrade at a base in Afghanistan last year, but he’s fighting charges that he did so to cover up drug use and other crimes in his platoon.

Spc. Adam Kelly, 26, is one of seven soldiers accused of assaulting then-Pfc. Justin Stoner after Stoner told a noncommissioned officer that some of his platoon mates had been smoking hashish in his room.

Stoner’s complaints triggered an investigation that led to charges

Read more »

Feb.
22nd

Earthquake spares Lewis-McChord airmen assigned to Christchurch

Tuesday’s powerful earthquake in New Zealand struck the take-off point for crews of Joint Base Lewis-McChord airmen stationed there to support scientific research in Antarctica.

Those airmen are safe, but it’s not clear yet if the disaster could delay their regular flights to Antarctica’s McMurdo Station.

“Everyone’s accounted for and there are no injuries. The planes are fine,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jim Masura of the 446th Reserve Airlift Wing by way of an Air Force public affairs officer.

Fifteen airmen from the reserve wing are in Christchurch, New Zealand, the earthquake’s epicenter. They’re paired with a contingent from the

Read more »

Feb.
22nd

Montesano soldier faces 11 years in prison over alleged misconduct in Afghanistan

A Stryker soldier from Montesano on Wednesday will face charges that he assaulted a private at a base in Afghanistan last year to help cover up other misconduct in his platoon.

Spc. Adam Kelly, 26, faces up to 11 years and six months in prison if he’s found guilty of assault, conspiracy and drug-use charges when his court-martial concludes at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

He allegedly joined six of his comrades to beat up then-Pfc. Justin Stoner in May after Stoner raised concerns about soldiers in his platoon smoking hashish at Forward Operating Base Ramrod.

Stoner’s complaints opened up an Army

Read more »

Feb.
17th

London paper drops Lewis-McChord commander’s name as possible Petraeus successor

The Pentagon this week tried to douse a scoop in the Times of London that suggested Gen. David Petraeus would leave his assignment leading coalition forces in Afghanistan before the end of the year, but that hasn’t stopped speculation on who might follow him.

The same paper reported today that Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the senior Army officer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is among the candidates if Petraeus opts for a stateside assignment. The Times has a pay wall, so here’s a link to a story at one of its sister papers, The Australian.

The Times

Read more »