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Archives: Sep. 2011


National Guard moving maintenance shop, employees from Camp Murray to JBLM

The Washington National Guard is moving forward with a plan to relocate some of its Camp Murray employees to the other side of Interstate 5 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

It’s scheduled to break ground tomorrow on a $21 million vehicle maintenance shop that will bring 50 employees and a fleet of Camp Murray vehicles to the active-duty base.

The National Guard in July pledged to Lakewood that it would reduce some of the traffic heading into Camp Murray by assigning more employees to posts at Lewis-McChord. It was one of the incentives the state Military Department offered to

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Web impostors mimic JBLM Medal of Honor recipient, Petraeus

Here’s one drawback to receiving a Congressional Medal of Honor: Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry of Steilacoom is now one of a handful of soldiers who’ve become regular targets for web impersonators.

The Army Times reported this week that the Army’s Social Media Division has been seeking out fake Facebook profiles for well known soldiers such as Petry or fellow Medal of Honor recipient former Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta.

“Yesterday, I went looking for Sgt. 1st Class Petry, I found two and I took them down,” Staff Sgt. Dale Sweetnam, who leads the effort, told

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JBLM artillerymen preparing for Afghanistan deployment

About 250 artillerymen in Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 17th Fires Brigade are preparing for a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, the Army announced this week.

The soldiers will be spread out at different locations throughout the country, manning batteries to support infantry units. They are expected to serve a one-year deployment.

The soldiers are assigned the 1st Battalion, 377 Field Artillery Regiment. That unit has fought on two yearlong missions in Iraq, most recently returning from a deployment in July 2010.

Its mission shows that soldiers from Lewis-McChord will have a greater role in Afghanistan in 2012. Most of its units have

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Lewis-McChord Ranger killed while leading assault in Afghanistan

An Army Ranger from Joint Base Lewis-McChord was killed in a firefight Saturday while he led an assault against an enemy position in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province, the U.S. Special Operations Command announced today.

Sgt. Tyler Holtz, 22, a member of the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, was serving on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan.

His commanders praised him as an elite soldier in a news release from the Special Operations Command.

Holtz “was a courageous and incredibly talented Ranger who died while leading his men against determined insurgents,” said Lt. Col. David Hodne, commander of the Lewis-McChord-based Ranger battalion.

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“Kill team” suspect Holmes sentenced to seven years in jail for Afghan murder

12:10 PM UPDATE:

“Kill team” suspect Pfc. Andrew Holmes will spend seven years in prison for murdering an Afghan boy during a patrol in January 2010, Army Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks announced this morning.

Hawks wanted to sentence Holmes to 15 years in prison, saying it appeared to him that Holmes had not confronted “the awful moral gravity” of what he did when he shot 15-year-old Gul Mudin as the Afghan stood in a poppy field.

His sentence was capped by a pretrial agreement that limited his confinement to seven years. Holmes will receive credit for the 499 days he

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“Kill team” suspect pleads guilty to causing Afghan’s death


Army Judge Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks accepted “kill team” suspect Pfc. Andrew Holmes’ guilty plea, and the court is preparing for closing arguments that could help determine his sentence.

Hawks asked Holmes a series of questions today to determine whether the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker soldier believed he was guilty, and whether Holmes understood the terms of his plea deal.

The questions revealed a chaotic environment at Forward Operating Base Ramrod in Afghanistan, where Holmes’ leaders put him in compromising situations.

For example, Holmes told the judge that Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs of Billings, Mont., handed him

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Plea talks continue as Army schedules court-martial for “kill team” suspect










The Army’s moving forward with tomorrow’s court-martial for “kill team” suspect Pfc. Andrew Holmes, but it’s not clear yet whether Holmes has a plea deal or if he’ll stand trial before a military jury.

Army spokesman Maj. Chris Ophardt said the plea negotiations are still taking place at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Holmes, 21, is the youngest of five soldiers from the 5th  Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division who were accused of murdering Afghan civilians last year.

Negotiating a settlement is appealing for Holmes’ defense team because it removes the possibility that

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JBLM major who fought Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell celebrates “Repeal Day”

Maj. Margaret Witt won a long battle against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell last fall when a federal judge ordered the Air Force to reinstate her into her unit, Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 446th Reserve Airlift Wing.

She’s in Washington, D.C., today celebrating the repeal of the 18-year-old policy. She released the following statement through the ACLU:

September 20 marks the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It also marks the end of decades of discrimination against gays in this country by our own military.  Almost 14,000 military members were discharged since 1993 under DADT, but over 100,000 were discharged

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