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Archives: Aug. 2012


JBLM Stryker sergeant dies in Kandahar Province

A Stryker sergeant from Joint Base Lewis-McChord died in Afghanistan Saturday, the Pentagon announced tonight. The cause of Sgt. David Williams’ death is under investigation.

Williams, 24, was serving on his first combat deployment. He was assigned to Lewis-McChord’s 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at a base in Kandahar Province.

Williams of Frederick, Md. joined the Army in 2008 and served in South Korea as a human resource specialist. He moved to Lewis-McChord in February 2011.

He has received two Army Achievement Medals,  the Army good conduct medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War

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Defense Secretary visiting Naval Base Kitsap to see off 5,500 sailors

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tomorrow plans to visit Naval Base Kitsap to meet with sailors deploying to the Persian Gulf four months earlier than they expected.

The strike group of the USS John C. Stennis returned from its most recent deployment in March and anticipated another mission to the Persian Gulf at the end of this year. The Pentagon in July accelerated that timeline to maintain an enhanced carrier presence there.

That decision meant 5,500 families in the Stennis group had a little less time at home with their families.

In July, Pentagon spokesman George Little said the

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Navy EOD tech from Des Moines killed in Black Hawk crash


A veteran Navy explosive ordnance disposal technician from Des Moines was among seven American service members killed Aug. 16 in a helicopter crash last week in Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province.

Petty Officer 1st Class Sean Carson, 32, joined the Navy in 1999. He has been serving with the Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3 in San Diego since 2009.

Carson died with two Navy SEALs, four Hawaii-based Army aviators and four Afghan service members in a Black Hawk helicopter. They were killed in a battle in a northern district of Kandahar Province, the Taliban’s heartland.

The Taliban

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Report: Leader of hard-hit JBLM Stryker brigade pushed for better IED tracking software

The Washington Times this week adds a new layer to the long and winding story of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division with a report on how the Army turned down former commander Col. Harry Tunnell’s request for software that could have helped his soldiers plot the enemy’s buried bombs across southern Afghanistan.

The newspaper refers to the brigade as “ill fated.” It lost 37 soldiers in combat. The brigade’s 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment lost 21 of them, giving it the highest number of fatal casualties among any Army battalion in Afghanistan.


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Anxiety rising in Puget Sound defense community as “sequestration” threat looms

Military service members and people with jobs linked to the defense industry in Washington are starting to voice more concerns about how the threat of so-called sequestration might impact their businesses this fall.

I heard that anxiety Tuesday when Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., met with the South Sound Military and Communities Partnership in Lakewood. Murray assured the group of military and local government leaders that lawmakers do not want to see the $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board budget cuts that would come to pass under sequestration unless Congress makes a budget deal by Jan. 2.

Lawmakers set the stage for

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Infantryman from Orting hunts for bombs in Afghanistan with a canine by his side

Here’s a fun story from an Army writer about Orting’s Pfc. John Casey, a member of mine-detecting canine team fighting in Afghanistan this summer.

Casey and his four-legged partner are searching for buried bombs in Paktika and Ghazni provinces with a unit out of Fort Riley, Kan. He likened his work to hunting with a dog.

“They both have a desire to work; that’s their sole purpose. Yeah, they’ll go out and play with you, but you can tell it’s a completely different dog. When you’re going out bird hunting or to find a bomb, they just know

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Cantwell in Tacoma today to promote tax credits for hiring veterans

Sen. Maria Cantwell is in Tacoma today to promote a bill that would provide tax credits to businesses that hire veterans.

She’s speaking this afternoon at J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding, a growing business that says veterans make up 40 percent of its payroll.

Cantwell is promoting an extension of the Returning Heroes and Wounded Heroes Work Opportunity Tax Credits through 2013. According to her office, the bill gives businesses a tax credit of up to $9,600 for each qualified veteran they hire. The credits are due to expire at the end of this year.

Her office cited figures from the Washington

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WA Guard back in business of fighting fires – first time since 2009

The Washington National Guard today sent two helicopters to join in the effort against the blaze in Kittitas County, marking the first time the state Military Department participated in a wildfire fight since 2009.

Last year, we reported that deployments had depleted the Washington National Guard’s firefighting resources among its aviation crews during the summer. Luckily, it was a wet year and the crews weren’t needed.

Today, the guard sent one four-person crew in a CH-47 Chinook with a 2,000 gallon water bucket and a three-person crew in a UH-60 with a 660 gallon bucket to participate in

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