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Archives: Dec. 2011

Dec.
9th

Army sees first combat deaths in newly designed “double V” Strykers

The Army has recorded its first combat deaths in new “double V” hull Strykers that were designed to provide better protection against improvised explosives, according to an update on the vehicle in Stars and Stripes.

Three soldiers from the Alaska-based 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division were killed in two attacks while riding in a double V Stryker last month. News of their deaths reverberates at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the home of three Stryker brigades that could be called up to deploy to Afghanistan.

Commanders in the Alaska brigade told Stars and Stripes that the new Strykers are saving

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Dec.
8th

More than 29,000 airmen deployed from McChord since wars started

We used the last large Army homecoming from Iraq to Joint Base Lewis-McChord this week as an opportunity to tally up the number of soldiers who’ve deployed from there over the past decade.

Not counting Special Forces, the Army told us the number was 114,000 since 2001.

It took us an extra day to get the same numbers from the Air Force side of the joint base. It’s been sending airmen in small groups on a range of missions to the Middle East, mostly on assignments delivering supplies into combat zones.

McChord’s active-duty 62nd Airlift Wing has deployed

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Dec.
7th

Olympia resident becomes top NCO at JBLM Warrior Transition Battalion

The Army turned to a longtime Olympia resident to serve as the senior enlisted soldier in Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Warrior Transition Battalion.

Command Sgt. Maj. Sans Gilmore will be charged with leading about 500 ill or injured soldiers as they determine whether they can return to active-duty service or must begin looking for careers outside of the military, the Army announced today.

“This is probably the most important assignment I’ve ever had,” Gilmore said at a ceremony last week.

The Army earlier this year opened a $52 million complex for soldiers assigned to Lewis-McChord’s Warrior Transition Battalion. It’s a high

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Dec.
6th

Air Force Thunderbirds returning to Lewis-McChord for summer air show

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is shooting to bring back the really, really big crowds to its bi-annual air expo by lining up two of the Defense Department’s premier demonstration groups for performances at the July event.

The top of the bill goes to the Air Force’s Thunderbirds, a Nevada-based team that helped draw more than 375,000 people to McChord’s 2008 Air Expo.

They’ll be joined by the Army’s Golden Knights, a parachute team that serves as the Army’s official aerial demonstration group.

Booking the two groups is intended to send a signal that the Army and Air

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Dec.
5th

Lewis-McChord hosting its last large Iraq homecoming this week

Here’s another sign that the war in Iraq is almost over:

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Tuesday is hosting what it expects to be its last significant homecoming for soldiers serving there.

Over the past eight years, tens of thousands of soldiers have passed through the base south of Tacoma on their way to and from and Iraq. Tomorrow, about 170 service members will be reunited with their friends and family following shortened combat deployments.

About 100 Lewis-McChord soldiers will be left in Iraq after tomorrow’s homecoming. They’ll come home in small groups over the next few weeks.

The Army says the

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Dec.
2nd

Army leaving Camp Victory today: Check out TNT photos of Saddam’s gaudy palace through the war

Images of American soldiers leaving Al Faw Palace at Camp Victory outside Baghdad are all over the news today, and I’m sure evoking strong memories for the service members who passed through its gaudy marble walls over the past nine years.

I made a couple trips to the palace in 2008-09 during assignments for The News Tribune’s parent company, McClatchy. For me, it was a place to connect with the people who ran the war and an opportunity to stuff myself on familiar food because my diet was made up whatever McClatchy’s Iraqi cook wanted to make that day. To

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Dec.
1st

Tacoma native patrols the road out of Iraq for 82nd Airborne

An Army staff sergeant from Tacoma had a good view of the American withdrawal from Iraq, as seen in this photo from a patrol last week.

Staff Sgt. Christopher King of the 82nd Airborne Division was walking the streets of Baghdad to guard the road to Kuwait for the soldiers on their way home.

The journey through remains a dangerous one. Two weeks ago, an improvised explosive claimed the life of a specialist from King’s battalion.

“The closer we get to the time of our departure, the more they want to get after us,” Lt. Col. David Doyle

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