FOB Tacoma

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Archives: Feb. 2012

Feb.
16th

Army accuses private of stealing $630K worth of weapons accessories from JBLM Stryker brigade

The Army today announced that it charged a 22-year-old private with the theft of more than $600,000 worth of equipment from his Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade.

The Army would not say whether it believes Pvt. Nicholas Solt of Slatington, Pa., acted alone in an alleged scheme to steal and resell weapons accessories from his unit. Solt is under confinement at Lewis-McChord. The Army did not say when it arrested him.

“Our investigation remains ongoing,” Army Criminal Investigative Division spokesman Christopher Grey said.

Solt, 22, faces 59 years in prison if he’s convicted on six criminal charges including larceny of

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Feb.
16th

Stryker soldier receives $50K gift from country star on Ellen DeGeneres show

Sgt. Chad Sparks of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 2nd Stryker Brigade can focus a little easier on getting ready for his upcoming mission in Afghanistan. His visit to the Ellen DeGeneres show yesterday left his family in good hands to cope with his  nine-month deployment.

Sparks on the show received a $50,000 check from country star Dierks Bentley, who was moved by a letter Sparks’ wife wrote to DeGeneres. Watch the video here.

Ashley Sparks described her husband as “truly the man every girl dreams of, an honest, hard-working, dedicated soldier.”

She wrote that the family recently fell

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Feb.
14th

WA National Guard aviators home from Kuwait in time for Valentine’s Day

About 180 Washington National Guard soldiers came home from the desert last weekend, ending a yearlong deployment in Kuwait.

The soldiers flew and maintained UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters to support American aviation assets in the Middle East and in Afghanistan. They belong to the 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment, and are based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The Army calls the unit the “Raptor” battalion.

“We are thrilled to have the Raptors home.  They are a vital asset to our state and nation, and having them home safe is an early Valentine’s Day gift
for all of us,” said Maj. Gen.

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Feb.
13th

Defense budget steers more money to Washington for military construction at JBLM, Kitsap

Spending on military construction in Washington State continues to rise in President Obama’s 2013 budget request despite talk of nationwide defense cuts.

The state would gain $581 million for work at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Naval Base Kitsap and Naval Station Whidbey Island, up from $519 million in Obama’s 2012 defense budget.

About half of the state’s military construction work in 2013 would take place at Lewis-McChord. The base south of Tacoma stands to receive $91 million for a long-awaited sewage plant upgrade, as well as $73 million for a new battalion complex.

The base’s growing Special Forces units

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Feb.
10th

With “kill team” trials behind them, some families of convicted soldiers stand by Gibbs

Last week’s abrupt conclusion to the Army’s two-year “kill team” investigation at Joint Base Lewis-McChord led me to call several of the families whose lives were upended by successive courts-martial. Check The News Tribune Sunday for the story I’m writing from the interviews on how they’re rebuilding their lives with the trials behind them.

One impression that stood out: Some of the families are standing by convicted “kill team” ringleader Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs.

This isn’t too surprising given that so many of Gibbs’ friends and fellow soldiers attended his November court-martial. They’ve been pulling for him along

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Feb.
9th

Surgeon general insists Army is not pressuring clinicians to avoid PTSD diagnoses

Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho yesterday cast her investigation into a forensic psychiatry team at Madigan Army Medical Center as a push to ensure that the Army delivers a consistent diagnosis for post-traumatic stress disorder across the service.

Her testimony before a congressional subcommittee represented her first public remarks on the investigation since The Seattle Times reported that the Army is investigating the forensic psychiatry team’s reversal PTSD diagnoses for 14 soldiers who passed through Madigan.

According to a Defense Department summary of her testimony, Horoho told lawmakers she launched the investigation to “look into the

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Feb.
8th

JBLM commander delivers optimistic message on progress in Afghanistan

Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s senior leader today said he’s cautiously optimistic about NATO’s ability to hand more control of security in Afghanistan to local forces.

Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti is the No. 2 commander in Afghanistan. He deployed in July with about 500 soldiers from Lewis-McChord’s I Corps.

Today, Scaparrotti told reporters the Army is sending more advisory units to Afghanistan to support the country’s growing army.

“With over 300,000 Afghans in uniform, freedom of movement has increased, insurgent support bases have been reduced, and the people are gaining respect for their Afghan security forces.  I believe this trust

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Feb.
6th

Scam artists claim to be deploying JBLM soldiers in bogus car ads

Scam artists pretending to be Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers are hocking cars on the web with deals that sound too good to be true.

Officials at Lewis-McChord received several calls last week from would-be buyers who grew suspicious about claims made on web sites such as craigslist and cars.com.

The ads show off different cars – one is a 2003 Audi; another is a 2006 Dodge Ram – but they share a suspicious request to pay for them immediately through an Amazon-related web site.

In one of them, a woman claiming to be Sgt. Sarah Harper says she has an

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