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Archives: Sep. 2012


“You have the feeling you don’t belong here” – What we heard at JBLM stand down this week

The tough part covering this week’s suicide stand down at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Soldier 360 leadership retreat for noncommissioned officers was knowing I couldn’t include all the forthright observations service members were sharing about the health of the force.

“I don’t think they expected this (period of war) to go this long, and they didn’t have a plan,” said one burly noncomissioned officer at the Soldier 360 retreat.

He shared with his peers his frustration at finding an Army doctor who would hear him out about his anger management issues without handing him a prescription for medication

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McChord airmen on their way to Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa

Another wave of Joint Base Lewis-McChord airmen left the South Sound this week for a two-month deployment in Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.

The 7th Airlift Squadron of Lewis-McChord’s 62nd Airlift Wing departed with about 65 airmen.

Here’s the list of named military operations they’ll be supporting from two forward bases with their C-17 Globemaster III cargo jets: Operations Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, Odyssey Dawn and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

Translation: Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Libya and a number of African nations.

“It is an honor for the 7th Airlift Squadron to be asked once more to forward

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Oregon National Guard on notice for Afghanistan mission in 2014

Mike Francis at The Oregonian reports today that the Defense Departmant put the Oregon National Guard on notice that it could deploy to Afghanistan in 2014.

The notification of sourcing impacts some 1,800 Oregon citizen soldiers in the 41st Brigade Combat Team. These soldiers could be turning the lights out at NATO bases if Western forces follow through on plans to drawn down their combat units by 2014.

Francis reports that one battalion in the Oregon National Guard played a similar role in Iraq two years ago, deploying as the Pentagon scaled town the mission of American units there.

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In 19th year, JBLM puts more muscle in Yakima exercises with Japanese forces

The 19th year of a U.S.-Japan military exercise in Central Washington peaked today with batteries of American canons collaborating with hundreds of soldiers from their Pacific ally in one of their biggest joint-drills yet.

Both nations stepped up their contributions to so-called Operation Rising Thunder this year. Each side sent about 500 service members to take part in the three-week exercise, said Army Capt. Cynthia Holuta.

For the Americans, the extra troops reflect the Pentagon’s reemphasis on the Pacific as well as a chance for soldiers to refresh combat skills they can’t exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The Japanese have long

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Washington National Guard brings home Afghan advisers, says goodbye to MP unit

The Washington National Guard this week is bringing home one group of soldiers from Afghanistan while sending another set of military police on their way for nine-month deployment to the war.

The returning soldiers spent the past year advising Afghan security forces in small teams spread out across remote parts of the country’s northern borders. Three of the 30 soldiers in the guard’s so-called stability transition teams suffered serious injuries in different attacks on their outposts in February and April.

The National Guard said the soldiers “survived and are recovering well.”

“The Washington National Guard family is happy

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Three JBLM soldiers killed in “insider attack” Sunday, DOD announces

A bloody weekend in Afghanistan hit home in the South Sound with the deaths of three Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers at the hands of one of their Afghan allies at a remote outpost near the Pakistan border, the Defense Department announced today.

The deaths are the first publicly known incident involving Afghan service members turning their weapons on Lewis-McChord soldiers this year. So far, 51 Western service members have been killed in Afghanistan in 2012 by men wearing the uniforms of the Afghan army or Afghan police, according to an Associated Press tally.

Sunday’s victims were among four American soldiers

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Washington National Guard sends two copters to fight fire

The Washington National Guard deployed two helicopters equipped with water buckets Friday morning to assist firefighter efforts in Central Washington.

A five-member crew is aboard a twin-rotored Chinook helicopter carrying a 2,000-gallon bucket, and a four-member crew is flying on a Blackhawk helicopter equipped with a 660-gallon bucket.

They are headed to the Wenatchee Complex fire. You can read the Wenatchee World’s ongoing coverage of the fire by clicking here.

“We are proud to support efforts already in progress in Chelan and Douglas counties, anad we will do all we can to keep the flames from people and structures,”

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Veteran JBLM special operator recognized for combat valor with Silver and Bronze stars

A veteran special operator at Joint Base Lewis-McChord today received the nation’s third highest medal for combat valor, two years after he took control of a faltering mission that ultimately led to the deaths of more than 1oo insurgents and helped NATO destroy entrenched enemy bunkers in western Afghanistan.

Master Sgt. Michael Hunter, 35, not only received the Silver Star for that April 2010 raid. Today he also received a Bronze Star for a June 2010 mission in which he delivered medical assistance to two wounded soldiers during a 16-hour firefight.

“His courageous actions all the way through the engagement kept

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