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Archives: June 2012


New Special Forces commander at JBLM is a veteran of Afghanistan invasion

The top post for a Special Operations officer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord changed hands Thursday at a ceremony for outgoing 1st Special Forces Group commander Col. Francis Beaudette.

That area of Lewis-McChord grew under Beaudette’s watch with the addition of a new battalion under the 1st Group. His soldiers deployed repeatedly to Afghanistan, Iraq and on missions to support Asian allies, such as the Philippines.

The base’s Special Operations footprint now includes about 1,600 soldiers in the 1st Group, about 600 or so in 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and the elite helicopter crews in the 4th Battalion,

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Wounded JBLM soldier gets a visit from President Obama at Walter Reed

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier wounded by a mine May 31 in Afghanistan received a visit from his commander in chief today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Spc. Josh Wetzel of Glencoe, Ala. lost his legs to an enemy bomb during a foot patrol with Lewis-McChord’s 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. His family has providing updates about his recovery to 11,000 followers at a Facebook page called Prayers for Josh Wetzel. The above photo is from the family’s Facebook page.

He has also been in touch with his community through his hometown local media.

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“We lost a year” general says about former JBLM Stryker commander Col. Harry Tunnell

Add this to the literature of investigations looking into the leadership of former Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade commander Col. Harry Tunnell: The No. 2 American general in Afghanistan once waned to oust Tunnell during his combat tour in 2009-10.

That insight comes from a new book by Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City.

An excerpt from Chandrasekaran’s Little America: The War within the War for Afghanistan focusing on Tunnell ran today in It’s another layer to the well documented dissonance between Tunnell and his NATO commanders.

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“Sgt. McNabb, that mustache of yours could scare a man to crying”

I did not get a chance to reflect the lighter side of Sgt. First Class Barett McNabb in my story from yesterday’s memorial to him and two other Stryker soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Instead, I wrote about the mentorship he provided to his platoon in the 562nd Engineer Company.

That’s not quite the full picture his friends shared at the memorial. They looked up to McNabb and they revealed their affection by teasing him about his well-trimmed mustache.

“Sgt. McNabb, that mustache of yours could scare a man to crying,” wrote one friend who called McNabb

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General: JBLM Stryker forces in fight for last Taliban strongholds

Two Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker brigades are fighting in the main battleground of southern Afghanistan this summer, the war’s outgoing deputy commander said in an interview today.

About 7,500Lewis-McChord soldiers are centered on hostile territory in between Kandahar and Helmand provinces. It’s considered the birthplace of the Taliban and insurgents are throwing all they can at that territory to tip the balance against Afghan government and NATO forces.

“We don’t have a hold yet,” on the Kandahar districts of Maiwand and Panjwai where the Lewis-McChord brigades are mostly stationed, Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti said.

He spoke to reporters this morning

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Pentagon cutting checks worth $47 million to replace schools at JBLM

The Defense Department is releasing $47 million to replace two schools on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Tacoma, announced today. It’s the first part of a major renovation of the base’s elementary schools that will replace a  total of six campuses that are operated by Clover Park School District.

The money comes from a $250 million fund Dicks helped create two years ago after a Pentagon study showed dozens of substandard schools on military installations all over the country.

George Behan, Dicks’ spokesman, said the money will come in time for Clover Park to break ground on the schools

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JBLM soldier shot to death by enemy fire in Kandahar Province

A Stryker sergeant from Joint Base Lewis-McChord was shot to death in Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province on Tuesday, the Defense Department announced tonight.

Sgt. Jose Rodriguez, 22, served with the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment. His death marks the fourth fatal casualty for that roughly 700-man unit since it hit the ground in Kandahar Province in late April.

Rodriguez fought in nearly the same territory with a Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade during his deployment to Kandahar Province in 2009-10. That deployment was a difficult one, with 37 fatal casualties for the brigade.

He died in Kandahar’s Maiwand District, a rural and

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Retiring JBLM general served all over the world, led I Corps in tough year at home

The deputy commander of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s I Corps is retiring tomorrow, ending a 32-year Army career in which he led an infantry brigade in Iraq, served as a representative for North Korean nuclear negotiations and worked with Egyptian armed forces.

Maj. Gen. Lloyd Miles spent the last two years of his Army life at Lewis-McChord, where he oversaw brigades training for combat missions in Afghanistan and served as Lewis-McChord’s senior Army officer during the yearlong deployment of Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti.

In Scaparrotti’s absence, Miles managed a challenging year for the I Corps at home. Lewis-McChord saw

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