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Archives: July 2012


Two Lewis-McChord soldiers killed in Afghanistan

A recent West Point graduate and a veteran service member are the latest Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers killed in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Lt. Sean R. Jacobs, 23, of Redding, Calif., and Sgt. John E. Hansen, 41, of Austin, Texas, died Thursday from injuries sustained following the explosion of an improvised explosive device in Kandahar province.

Both soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and had deployed with the unit in April.

Army records say Jacobs began his military service in May 2010 after graduating from West Point. He trained as an artillery officer before reporting

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Washington National Guard has new boss – Brig. Gen. Bret Daugherty

Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced a new adjutant general for the Washington National Guard – its first new leader in 13 years.

Brig. Gen. Bret Daugherty will take over the position from Maj. Gen. Timothy Lowenberg, who is retiring after 44 years of military service.

Daugherty is currently the National Guard’s assistant adjutant general. After his promotion, he will be commander for all Washington Army and Air National Guard forces, as well as director for the State’s emergency management and enhanced 911 programs.

Daugherty has more than 32 years of military experience, including 22 years in the Washington National

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Just for fun: Spot the Stryker soldier getting down in Kandahar to “Call me, maybe”

We at FOB Tacoma recently spent way too much time with the car radio on a summer road trip, giving us a great appreciation for Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call me, maybe.”

We could never quite move like the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker soldier near the end of this choreographed “Call me, maybe” routine from Kandahar Air Field. We’re not saying that we want to move like this, just that it’s not in our typical range of motion. Look for the Indianhead patch.

“Where you think you’re going, baby?” sounds a little different when it’s sung by a Marine

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Start planning your visit to this weekend’s 2012 Air Expo at JBLM

There’s a buzz out there for this weekend’s 2012 Air Expo at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. I’ve had a few calls today from readers looking for more information about how to get there and what they’ll see.

Here’s a link to my Monday story previewing the show. Below you’ll find the information you’ll want to plan your way on and off base this weekend.

Get more details here at the air expo’s web site.

The Washington State Patrol will be out in force looking for backups along Interstate 5 and State Route 512. Trooper Guy Gill is

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Last of soldiers from JBLM’s 14th Combat Engineer Battalion heading home this week

A year in southern Afghanistan is coming to an end for Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 14th  Engineer Battalion.

The soldiers spent their deployment clearing roads of buried bombs in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Jeff Van Sant from Q13 spent several weeks with them early in their deployment and came back with this package of stories on the dangers they faced.

More recently, the battalion suffered its only casualty when Staff Sgt. Alexander Povilaitis, 47, was killed by an enemy bomb in Kandahar. His friends at a memorial last month said Povilaitis embodied the battalion’s motto of “rugged.”

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Washington recognized for protecting military voting rights

Washington today was one of 15 states praised today by the Military Voter Protection Project for – you guessed it – looking after the voting rights of service members at home and abroad.

Check out the report here.

Washington stood out in part for passing a law last year that moved up the state’s primary elections from September to August to provide service members more time to receive and return their ballots.

The Military Voter Protection Project looked at states’ outreach efforts, their use of electronic and web-based services, their willingness to adopt communications programs to

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3rd Stryker Brigade soldier killed in Zabul Province

A 25-year-old Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier from Illinois died Friday in Afghanistan after his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device.

Sgt. Michael E. Ristau, of Rockford, Ill., died July 13 after the attack in Zabul Province, according to an Army press release.

He was assigned to 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Stryker Brigade at JBLM.

Ristau joined the Army in July 2004 and has been at Lewis-McChord since he completed his training. The Army says he deployed to Afghanistan with his brigade in December 2011.

The Army said Ristau was married and had two sons.

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Special operators in JBLM helicopter teams close the book on “exciting” but classified tenure

It wouldn’t be Special Operations without a little bit of mystery.

Use your imagination to figure out what the elite helicopter teams in Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 4th Battalion, Special Operations Aviation Regiment mean when they say they deploy to “multiple theaters.”

They’re not only talking about the war in Afghanistan.

“There’s relatively no place on the planet they can’t employ these aircraft with precision,” the regiment’s senior officer, Col. John Thompson, said at a Lewis-McChord ceremony Friday on a tarmac decked out with the unit’s blackened Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters.

The “Night Stalkers” peeled back the classified curtain a little

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