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Archives: May 2011


Send us your Memorial Day events; check out Armed Forces Day at JBLM

We’re getting ready to publish a list of Memorial Day activities late next week and we don’t want to miss your event.

You can send the details to me at by Wednesday, May 25.

And if you’re looking for a way to recognize Armed Forces Day on Saturday, here’s an invitation from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The following is a press release from the base.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA – Joint Base Lewis-McChord will open its gates to the public for the base’s annual Armed Forces Day celebration this Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The celebration

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“Kill team” defendant takes a step back to try to clear his name

The youngest of five Stryker soldiers accused of murdering civilians in Afghanistan last year won a request to re-open a pretrial hearing, giving his attorney an opportunity to present evidence that wasn’t available previously.

Pfc. Andrew Holmes, 20, of Boise is in custody at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He faces life in prison if he’s convicted of murdering an Afghan teenager during a patrol with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in January 2010.

Holmes first appeared before an Army investigating officer for a so-called Article 32 hearing in November. At the time, key witnesses refused to testify because they had

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Washington National Guard on notice for deployments

About 3,000 soldiers in the Washington National Guard are available for deployments overseas, the Army announced today.

The 81st Brigade Combat Team and 506th Military Police Company received notices of sourcing from the Pentagon, meaning they could be tapped for an upcoming deployment.

The units have not received formal mobilization orders.

“We will continue to ensure our families are cared for, our civilian employers are informed and our soldiers are proficient in their warrior tasks,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy Lowenberg, the adjutant general of the Washington National Guard.

The 81st Brigade Combat Team has participated in two large

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Combat medic James Leslie Moreland buried with military honors three decades after he disappeared in Vietnam

Sgt. James Leslie Moreland is laid to rest with military honors in Alabama Saturday. His sisters, Linda Brown of Puyallup and Anita LeMoine of Olympia were among more than 400 people there to celebrate the life of the Special Forces combat medic 43 years after he went missing in Vietnam.   Photo courtesy of John Bowden

Forty-three years after he went missing in Vietnam, U.S. Army Sgt. James Leslie Moreland received a hometown burial attended by more than 400 people, draped in American flags, steeped in tradition for a fallen soldier.

You can read our previous story about him here.

The service at a rural Alabama cemetery 40 years south of Birmingham drew people from across the nation, The Birmingham News reported.

Moreland’s sisters, Linda Brown of Puyallup and Edna Anita LeMoine of Olympia were presented with the Alabama Distinguished Service Medal for their brother, a Green Beret posthumously awarded a Silver Star for his heroism in a fierce battle at Lang Vei, South Vietnam, on Feb. 7, 1968.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley made a surprise appearance at a memorial service on Friday night, the eve of Moreland’s burial. He presented the family with a flag that had flown at the state Capitol.

Kathy Strong, the California woman who wore a MIA bracelet in honor of the Special Forces medic for nearly 40 years, finally removed it and placed it in Moreland’s casket.

The soldier, his remains finally identified through DNA, came home to rest.

“Never in my dreams would I have thought it would be like this,” LeMoine, 73, told the Birmingham News, speaking of the crush of people and the patriotic ceremony.

Here’s a piece of The Birmingham News story:

“I hope everyone knows why we are here today,” said Col. Paul Longgrear, Moreland’s commanding officer, in the eulogy. “We are not here to celebrate a burial.

“He was already buried in the debris of war. . . . We are here today to celebrate a homecoming.”

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Army speeds up green goals at JBLM

Joint Base Lewis-McChord aims to get greener faster under an Army push to limit the military’s impacts on environmental resources.

It was one of 18 military installations around the country designated last month for a pilot project called “Net Zero.” It’ll be asked to completely offset its water use by 2020 and divert the equivalent of all of its waste from landfills by that date as well.

Army leaders admit they’re ambitious goals and it’s not clear where the money will come from to fund some of the improvements. They’re starting with environmentally friendly policy changes that generate

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Family of Lakewood teen who overdosed at Fort Lewis sues Army

The family of a Lakes High School sophomore who died of a drug overdose on Fort Lewis two years ago is suing the Army and a security contractor, alleging they were negligent in allowing a private to take the girl on post.

Leah King’s family is seeking $10 million from the Army and Doyon Security Services of Federal Way, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court. The Army declined to comment on the case.

The lawsuit alleges the death of King, 16, caused her family pain and suffering and a long-term economic loss.

It says the security company

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Changes at the top for Lewis-McChord Air Force and medical units

Summer will bring a few new commanders to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates today announced that the top medical officer stationed at the base would move on to the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Maj. Gen. Philip Volpe currently leads the Western Region Army Medical Command, which oversees Army hospitals in 20 states. Its headquarters is at Lewis-McChord. Volpe has been stationed there since late 2009.

Volpe is to be succeeded by Brig. Gen. Richard W. Thomas, the Army’s assistant surgeon general for force projection. Thomas has served

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Leno calls the military “the best audience”

Jay Leno learned 20 years ago that military audiences are ready to laugh.

The Tonight Show host said he found that out while performing for about 80 soldiers in front of a tank on a hot day in the desert during Operation Desert Storm.

“I told one joke and these guys just fell down laughing. They probably hadn’t heard a joke in a year,” he said.

Leno touched down on an Air Force runway to perform a free show Saturday night for a much larger military crowd at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The Air Force Reserve sponsored the gig, and handed

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