FOB Tacoma

NOTICE: FOB Tacoma has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved FOB Tacoma.
Visit the new section.

Archives: Feb. 2012

Feb.
28th

Panetta “concerned” about dispute over PTSD diagnoses at Madigan, asks Pentagon undersecretary to follow up

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta today said he’s watching developments in an investigation into Madigan Army Medical Center’s behavioral health program and has asked the Pentagon’s top personnel officer to follow up on how the military can learn from the controversy over disagreements in PTSD diagnoses.

His remarks came at a defense budget hearing where Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., pressed him about his knowledge of Madigan’s forensic psychiatry team. That unit, created in 2008, reviewed PTSD diagnoses and sometimes adjusted them to other diagnoses.

The decisions were costly to some service members whose adjusted diagnoses did not entitle them to the

Read more »

Feb.
27th

JBLM welcomes home one airlift squadron as it waves goodbye to another

Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 62nd Airlift Wing is welcoming home one squadron of airmen on the heels of an announcement of a new deployment last week for another Air Force unit.

On Thursday, the wing’s 7th Airlift Squadron is due to come home from its 60-day deployment supporting the war in Afghanistan, operations in Libya and U.S. forces deployed in Kuwait and in African nations.

During its deployment, the C-17 squadron flew 707 sorties, moved more than 41,579 passengers and delivered more than 22.9 million pounds of combat sustainment cargo to U.S. forces. While deployed, the airmen serve under the 817th Expeditionary

Read more »

Feb.
24th

WA National Guard brigade taken off upcoming deployment roster

The Defense Department today took the 3,000 soldiers of the Washington National Guard’s 81st Brigade Combat Team off of a roster of units being considered for upcoming deployments.

Last May, the Pentagon sent a “notice of sourcing” to the 81st indicating that it could be tapped for a future deployment, one that likely would have sent the soldiers overseas next spring. The Defense Department did not say at the time where that deployment would have taken place.

The brigade deployed twice to Iraq, serving in 2004-05 and in 2008-09.

“The nature of being a citizen-soldier is a posture of perpetual

Read more »

Feb.
23rd

JBLM MPs at Bagram tell families they’re safe and working to calm tensions from Quran upheaval

One Joint Base Lewis-McChord unit has an especially close view on the unrest in Afghanistan following the improper disposal of copies of the Quran at the detention facility at Bagram Air Base.

The headquarters of Lewis-McChord’s 42nd Military Police Brigade is managing the prison at Bagram. The unit deployed early this winter with soldiers who trained for the challenges of working with Muslim detainees, the unit’s top noncommissioned officer said at her deployment ceremony last month.

“Our soldiers have to always be professional, apply standards and realize they have processes to follow,” Command Sgt. Maj. Dawn Ripplemeyer said at the

Read more »

Feb.
20th

Madigan chief placed on leave amid investigations into PTSD diagnoses at Army hospital

The head of Madigan Army Medical Center has been removed from command while the Western Region Medical Command concludes its investigation into a psychiatry team that adjusted diagnoses of certain soldiers who were seeking medical retirements.

Col. Dallas Homas’ leave was announced Monday evening by Maj. Gen. Phillip Volpe, who leads the Western Region Medical Command. Col. Mike Heimall, commander of Irwin Army Community Hospital, Fort Riley, Kan., is taking Homas’ place as interim commander.

Meanwhile, the Army Surgeon General this week is contacting the families of 14 soldiers whose diagnoses for post-traumatic stress disorder were adjusted by the Madigan

Read more »

Feb.
20th

Nine years after the fact, a Purple Heart is given

A Tacoma man who was wounded in Iraq will receive his Purple Heart nearly nine years late in a ceremony Tuesday at Joint Base-Lewis McChord.

Marine Corps veteran Kenneth McAllister will be presented with the nation’s oldest military decoration for combat wounds he suffered on April 1, 2003, while serving in Iraq with a 1st Marine Division tank battalion based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

McAllister joined the Marines in 2000 and was honorably discharged in 2004 with the rank of lance corporal. Last August he contacted the Tacoma office of U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell asking for help getting the Purple

Read more »

Feb.
17th

Stryker brigade commander says “justice was served” in “kill team” cases

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord commander who directly supervised the “kill team” courts-martial gave his first public remarks about the war crimes investigation today and sought to retake his brigade’s legacy from the controversies that have overshadowed it.

Col. Barry Huggins of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division has avoided questions about the courts-martial since he took command of the unit in July 2010. The cases came to a close early this month when the Army dropped murder and assault charges it pressed against Spc. Michael Wagnon, the fifth and final soldier it accused of killing noncombatants during patrols with the

Read more »

Feb.
17th

Remembrances for Anthony Shadid: “I wonder who can ever take his place.”

Count me among the many journalists who are saddened today by the death of New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid.

I met him once, and I regret that I didn’t have my copy of his book “Night Draws Near” to thrust in front of him and tell him how much I admired him. I’d love to have that today, even if it would’ve been bad form to ask for an autograph at a dinner party in Baghdad.

I lived in Washington, D.C. as a newspaper intern when the Iraq war started and I looked forward to

Read more »