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Archives: July 2011

July
16th

South Sound women vets to benefit from new childcare at American Lake VA

Veterans in the South Sound will be among the first in the country to take advantage of a new Department of Veterans Affairs childcare program, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki announced today at a summit in Washington, D.C.

The Veterans Affairs hospital at American Lake was chosen as one of three pilot sites offering free, drop-in childcare. It’s intended to make sure that women veterans don’t skip doctor visits because they’re tied up with their children. Men can use the childcare services, too.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called for the childcare services in her position

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July
15th

Lakewood revives talks about improving Camp Murray gate

Lakewood officials appear to have something to announce next week about their efforts to improve traffic leading to Camp Murray’s main gate, but they’re not ready to disclose the news.

The city is hosting a special public meeting to give a Camp Murray update Tuesday. It’s also discussing the gate at two other public meetings Monday and Tuesday.

City officials declined to give a preview to what they plan to discuss. A spokesman for the National Guard also declined to comment.

City Manager Andrew Neiditz plans to give the first update on potential Camp Murray gate improvements at

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July
14th

Famed Iraqi metal band to play outside Lewis-McChord next week

Acrassicauda built a name for itself as Baghdad”s only heavy metal band, rocking out even as its members suffered personal losses in the Iraq War. It’s playing in Lakewood Tuesday in front of soldiers who’ve spent time in Baghdad, too, sharing in the experiences that forged the band’s songs.

Baghdad’s in the past for Acrassicauda, which now makes its home in New York. It’s on tour throughout the West, and it’s fitting Lakewood in between shows in Portland and Seattle next week.

Coffee Strong, a nonprofit that helps soldiers find benefits and counseling, set up the show here

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July
12th

Obama calls JBLM Rangers “legendary” in awarding Medal of Honor

Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry brought with him a few of his brothers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment today when he received his Medal of Honor at the White House.

President Obama apparently liked what he saw from the Delta Company crew. He called them “legendary”  in welcoming them to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

He revealed how important those fellow soldiers are to the Medal of Honor winner when he revealed that Petry has the names of fallen Rangers engraved on a small plaque bolted on to his prosthetic arm.

“They are, quite literally, part

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July
11th

Lewis-McChord’s I Corps on the ground in Afghanistan

Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s I Corps is on the ground in Afghanistan and taking the lead in orchestrating the war’s daily operations.

Lewis-McChord’s Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti today received his command as the No. 2 American officer in Afghanistan at a ceremony with his predecessor, Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez.

About 700 Lewis-McChord soldiers deployed with Scaparrotti to Kabul. They’re a major part of the International Security Force Afghanistan Joint Command (IJC), where they work with NATO and Afghan security forces.

“I’m humbled to be the new IJC commander and honored to be a part of the team with our

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July
11th

Wheels grinding on FOIA requests for “kill team” reports

At least a dozen news organizations or citizens have filed Freedom of Information Act requests seeking the Army’s investigation into the command climate of the Stryker brigade that contained a rogue group of soldiers who allegedly murdered Afghan civilians last year.

We’re among the news groups seeking the document, which reportedly is critical of the brigade’s commander as well as officers who were closer to the alleged war crimes that unfolded outside of Forward Operating Base Ramrod in Southern Afghanistan.

The investigation has been leaked to two news organizations and another reporter was able to view it. It’s

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July
8th

Officer faults command for “kill team” crimes, recommends dropping charges against sergeant

An Army investigator today recommended that prosecutors drop serious misconduct charges against a Stryker sergeant who allegedly joined discussions about plans to murder Afghan civilians during a deployment last year.

Maj. John Tincher found “no reasonable grounds” to believe that Staff Sgt. David Bram plotted to kill Afghans during his deployment with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division or that Bram planted evidence near the corpse of an Afghan after a shooting that his platoon captain regarded as suspicious.

Bram of Vacaville, Calif., isn’t out of the woods. It’s up Joint Base Lewis-McChord senior Army officer Maj. Gen. Lloyd Miles

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July
8th

Stryker sergeant guilty of assaulting fellow soldier; innocent of harming Afghans

UPDATE 5:35 p.m.

Sgt. Darren Jones was sentenced to seven months in prison and demoted to private for his role in assaulting then Pfc. Justin Stoner. He avoided a bad-conduct discharge, a punishment handed to three codefendants who have been convicted of the same crime against the whistleblower who led investigators to an alleged Stryker “kill team.”

Jones embraced two of his codefandants and three of his family members after his sentence was read. He told jurors earlier today that he wanted to stay in the Army and that he regretted his actions against Stoner.

UPDATE 12:50 p.m.

A Stryker

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