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Archives: April 2011


Governor signs bills giving veterans a leg up in job hunt

Veterans might have an easier time finding work after they leave the military under a couple of laws Gov. Chris Gregoire signed over the past week.

One signed yesterday allows private employers to establish preferences for applicants with military experience.

“As our veterans return from their duties overseas, it’s important for them to be reintegrated back into our communities. Employment can be a critical vehicle for this transition,” said the bill’s author, Jay Rodne, R-North Bend. “House Bill 1432 simply permits employers to give veterans preference in employment decisions, but it’s not a requirement. This will provide veterans

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Oregon lawmakers outline Army’s response to soldiers’ complaints about Madigan

The Army’s response to complaints from Oregon National Guard soldiers about care they received at Madigan Army Medical Center last year could lead to soldiers spending an extra week at military hospitals when they return from combat deployments.

Oregon Democrats Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Kurt Schrader revealed parts of the plan Wednesday following a meeting with Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli.

The details the lawmakers released include:

•    Requiring leaders of National Guard and Reserve units to stay with their soldiers while they receive post-deployment medical attention.
•    Allowing National Guard and Reserve

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Marines writer catches up with Gig Harbor native readying for Afghanistan

Here’s a hometown story we missed last month. The photo above shows Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Ellmer of Gig Harbor preparing for his May deployment to Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.

He connected with a Marine journalist while training at Twentynine Palms, Calif. Here’s an excerpt from Cpl. Colby Brown’s story on the unit’s live-fire exercises last month.

“Although no real enemy troops were present, some Marines became casualties. Coyotes, evaluators of the Company’s performance during the attack, would pick any Marine not in a properly covered position too close to a danger zone

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JBLM hosts seminar for survivors of fallen soldiers

Families seeking to cope with the grief of losing their loved ones at war can attend a seminar this weekend to learn from a nonprofit that counsels military survivors.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors is leading a grief seminar for adults and a “good grief” camp for children Saturday at American Lake Community Center. It was founded in 1994, and it says it has provided assistance to more than 30,000 surviving family members, casualty officers and caregivers since 1994.

Also Joint Base Lewis-McChord is hosting the Lost Heroes Art Quilt through Saturday. It’s on display

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Defense undersecretary says Oregon Guard soldiers received substandard care at JBLM

An undersecretary of defense this week acknowledged that Oregon National Guard soldiers returning from Iraq last year received poor treatment at Madigan Army Medical Center.

Defense Undersecretary Clifford Stanley’s April 13 letter to an Oregon senator was the latest high-level response to complaints that National Guard members were rushed through the hospital and treated as if they were second-rate soldiers.

The soldiers belonged to the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team. They obtained Madigan training slides that included slights to National Guard soldiers, such as one showing a trucker’s cap with the words “Weekend Warrior” to represent reserve soldiers.

Stanley said

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Chrysler Museum shows a 1941 jeep prototype tested at Fort Lewis

A little piece of Fort Lewis history will be a big part of the Walter P. Chrysler Museum’s “70 Years of Jeep” exhibit starting next week in Auburn Hills, Mich.

The show’s featured vehicle is the original 1941 Willys MA shown in the photo above. The museum says this jeep was delivered to Fort Lewis for testing by the 15th Infantry Regiment on July 5, 1941 in the run-up to World War II.

It was discovered “rusting away” at a farm near the base in 2001. It’s on loan to the museum from the from the private collection

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Budget deal means service members will get their full paychecks this week

The Pentagon today is reassuring service members and civilian employees in the Defense Department that they’ll receive their full paychecks this week despite the close call in Congress that nearly shut down the government Friday.

“Basically, all active duty and reserve service members will receive full mid-month pay on the 15th of April,” Pentagon spokesman Marine Col. Dave Lapan said. “It may be in two separate payments, but on the 15th everyone will receive their full allotted pay.”

Last week, service members readying themselves for the shutdown read announcements from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service

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JBLM families brace for shutdown; Army and VA hospitals to stay open

1:30 p.m. update: Madigan Army Medical Center will stay open through a shut down, but mostly for emergencies, urgent mental health services and pregnancy care. Madigan officials are posting updates online at the hospital’s Facebook page.

Here’s the hospital’s official announcement:

Madigan Healthcare System will primarily limit services to inpatient care, urgent and emergency outpatient care, as well as urgent behavioral health care or crisis intervention.  Some services will remain open such as those for dialysis, hematology and oncology.  All pregnancy care will continue, but pharmacy services will be limited.  Routine, wellness and specialty appointments, to include elective

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