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Archives: May 2012


Bremerton-based Navy K-9 handler killed in Afghanistan

A Navy K-9 handler based in the Puget Sound was killed Wednesday in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced today.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Brazas, 26, was killed during a combat operation in the Panjwai District of Kandahar Province. He was assigned to the Naval Base Kitsap Security Detachment in Bremerton.

A high school friend told Brazas’ hometown TV news station in Greensboro, N.C. that the sailor had recently moved to Seattle and that he was a father. Brazas joined the Navy in 2006, Naval Base Kitsap spokesman Thomas Danaher said.

“My husband died serving his country,” his wife,

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5th JBLM soldier in 10 days dies in Afghanistan

On the day the nation remembered those who died in service to their country, the Pentagon identified the fifth soldier to be killed in Afghanistan in 10 days.

Spc. Vilmar Galarza Hernandez, 21, of Salinas, Calif., died Saturday in the Kandahar province of southern Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device, according to the Pentagon.

He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. The brigade deployed to Afghanistan in April.

Hernandez is the brigade’s second fatality since it deployed in April. Pfc. Cale

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Several Memorial Day observances to be held Monday

There will be numerous Memorial Day observances around the South Sound on Monday to honor those who gave their lives in service to the nation. Here are some of the events that are open to the public:

* Sumner will hold its event at 10 a.m. at the Sumner City Cemetery, 12324 Valley Avenue East in Puyallup. The Rainbow Girls will place a flower on the memorial as the names are read of Sumner veterans. The Sumner City Cemetery began as two cemeteries: the pioneer cemetery began in 1864 and the “town” section began in 1902. Veterans at rest at

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Another Lewis-McChord soldier dies in Afghanistan

A junior Army officer from Joint Base Lewis-McChord was killed in combat Wednesday shortly after his arrival in Afghanistan, the U.S. military announced.

2nd Lt. Travis Morgado, 25, of San Jose, Calif., died when insurgents attacked his patrol with a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon.

He is the third Lewis-McChord soldier killed in Afghanistan in a single week. Two soldiers assigned to the 17th Fires Brigade died Friday in eastern Afghanistan.

Morgado, who was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, entered the Army in November 2010 and received his commission through the Officer Candidate

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Soldier accused of killing 5 comrades faces charges at JBLM

An Army sergeant accused of killing five other U.S. service members in the deadliest act of soldier-on-soldier violence in the Iraq war is being held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and faces murder charges there.

Army officials said this morning that Sgt. John Russell has been referred to a general court martial at the base south of Tacoma and is being held in pre-trial confinement there.

Russell did not train at Lewis-McChord and was not stationed there at the time of the murders, but his unit was attached to a Lewis-McChord unit on the ground in Iraq.

Russell is accused of

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Retiree fair will draw thousands to JBLM

More than 3,000 South Sound area military retirees or their beneficiaries are expected to attend Friday’s annual appreciation event at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

They are invited to get health services such as blood sugar and cholesterol testing; they can receive information about medical, dental and other benefits; they can update or replace identification cards or on-base vehicle registrations; they can seek legal assistance; and they can visit booths to learn about veterans’ resources in the community.

Some individuals may want to explore a review of their veterans’ benefits, especially in light of recent changes in federal law that expand

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Maj. Gen. Lanza will lead division at JBLM

The Army this morning released the name of the two-star general who will command the new division headquarters that sets up this fall at Joint Base Lewis-McChord – the first division HQ here in more than 20 years.

Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, an Iraq war veteran who currently works as the Army’s chief of public affairs, will assume command of the 7th Infantry Division Headquarters when the unit is reactivated Oct. 1.

“The growth of this installation, and its increased significance in our nation’s defense strategy, makes this an important and challenging assignment,” Secretary of the Army

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Army Rangers to be honored at public event Thursday

The Army Ranger battalion based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will take another rare turn in the public spotlight at the Tacoma Dome at 6 p.m. on Thursday evening, May 10.

Rangers with the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment will be presented with military awards for combat actions.

The public is welcome to attend the event at the exhibition hall inside the dome.

In addition to the individual awards, the battalion will receive two unit awards for their role in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq in the summer of 2005. One operation resulted in the capture of a terrorist leader

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