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Archives: July 2012

July
12th

JBLM announces fallen soldier in Afghanistan – third this week

A hard-hit Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade has lost another soldier in Afghanistan – the second in a span of five days – as the Army today announced the death of Spc. Sterling W. Wyatt, 21, of Columbia, Mo.

Wyatt was killed Wednesday when his vehicle was attacked by an enemy bomb in the southern province of Kandahar, where several thousand Lewis-McChord soldiers are deployed.

Wyatt was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and was serving his first tour of duty, according to unit records.

He joined the Army in November 2010, trained as an infantryman and was

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July
12th

Reports: Attacks increase in Kandahar province while plummeting in Kandahar city

This summer, the communities around Joint Base Lewis-McChord are becoming too familiar with the dangers of southern Afghanistan. Lewis-McChord has lost 17 soldiers in Afghanistan this year, and there are several months left in the summer fighting season.

That’s why it’s worth reading this Christian Science Monitor report on improving security in Kandahar city, the center of the volatile Kandahar province where most Lewis-McChord soldiers are stationed this year.

Afghan officials told the newspaper that enemy attacks there are down 75 percent in the city this year, a sign that Afghan security forces are improving and defeating insurgents

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July
9th

JBLM corporal from Texas killed by an IED in Kandahar

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker soldier from Texas was killed in Afghanistan Saturday, the Defense Department announced today.

Spc. Juan Navarro, 23, was killed Saturday in an enemy attack in Kandahar Province. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Friends and family of Navarro have been mourning him today on social media web sites. One of his last Facebook posts mentioned the plans he was making to go to college after his deployment. He was scheduled to end his enlistment next spring.

Army friends quoted another one of Navarro’s last

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July
9th

JBLM soldier dies in Kandahar on fifth deployment

The Defense Department today announced the death of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord intelligence soldier in Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province.

Staff Sgt. Raul Guerra, 37, of Union City, N.J. died July 4 in Kandahar’s Spin Boldak district. The Defense Department did not say how he died. He was serving on his fifth deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq.

Guerra served in Lewis-McChord’s 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. He enlisted in 1999 and initially trained as a mechanic. Guerra deployed to Afghanistan three times with a unit from Fort Bragg, N.C. between 2002 and 2006.

In 2007, Guerra changed specialties in

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July
6th

Relatives of Panjwai victims tell Iranian TV that accused killer Bales was not alone

Iran’s state-owned Press TV this week aired interviews with men who say they’re relatives of the 16 civilians who were allegedly killed in Kandahar Province’s Panjwai District by Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.

The men in the video return to the argument that there were multiple soldiers involved in the March 11 incident.

“It was not one person who did this. Other U.S forces were guarding outside our homes during the shooting,” one of the men told Press TV.

Bales, formerly of Lake Tapps, is awaiting a court-martial at Lewis-McChord where he could face the death

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July
6th

Long trains of Army trucks are coming home to JBLM from a month in the CA desert

It’s hard to miss the long trains of Army trucks sitting next to Highway 5 this weekend near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

They belong to Lewis-McChord’s 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which recently completed a month of training at Fort Irwin, Calif. It likely will take a few days to unload all the equipment.

The brigade has about 4,000 soldiers, and it expects to deploy to Afghanistan late this fall.

Here’s a story from Lewis-McChord’s Northwest Guardian describing some of the cultural training the brigade undertook at Fort Irwin. The soldiers anticipate deploying to a battleground where Afghan forces

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July
5th

Dicks “not troubled” by GAO report on joint-basing costs; says JBLM has solid future

Unfortunately I missed a phone call from Rep. Norm Dicks before I filed my story for today’s paper on cost overruns that limited the Pentagon’s savings from the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission.

That BRAC round matters to the military community in the South Sound because it led to the merger of Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base, resulting in Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The Pentagon expected to save $2.3 billion by combining 26 installations into 12 joint bases in that BRAC effort. Instead, it’s likely to save $249 million.

Dicks, D-Belfair, said he is “not troubled”

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July
3rd

Lt. Gen. Brown stresses strategic shift to the Pacific as he takes command of I Corps at JBLM

A veteran officer who led one of the first Stryker brigades to fight in the Iraq War returned to the South Sound on Tuesday and took command of more than 35,000 soldiers in Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s I Corps.

Lt. Gen. Robert Brown relieved outgoing Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who last month completed a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan with the I Corps. Scaparrotti is headed to the Pentagon, where he will be director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As the war in Afghanistan draws down, the Army wants Brown to make two important pivots for the I Corps, one overseas

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