Here’s a fun photo that sums up the comings and goings of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s largest infantry brigades, all three of which were on the ground in Kandahar Province for most of this month.
Two brigades are heading home, and one is just getting started on its own mission in southern Afghanistan.
This image shows the commanders and senior noncommissioned officers of Lewis-McChord’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th Stryker brigades at Forward Operating Base Masum Ghar in Kandahar Province last week.
Most of the 3,500 troops in the 3rd Brigade deployed late last year. Many of them are home in the South Sound.
The 2nd Brigade left for Kandahar Province in the spring. It’s bringing home about 4,000 soldiers between December and February.
The 4th Brigade is in line to take the place of its sister unit, the 3rd Brigade. About 3,000 soldiers in the 4th Brigade left for Kandahar this month, and they should be home about August.
The returns of the 2nd and 3rd brigades mark one of the largest homecoming waves at the base in the past decade, and commanders don’t expect to see deployments of this size continue with the war in Afghanistan drawing down.
This weekend, The News Tribune is publishing a package of stories looking at how Lewis-McChord is gearing up to reintegrate the troops from the 2nd and 3rd brigades this winter. We had access to soldiers, families and doctors sharing insights about what it’s like to come back home after a year in a combat zone. Look for the stories in print and at thenewstribune.com on Saturday and Sunday.
The officers and senior noncommissioned officers in the photo are left to right the 2nd Stryker Brigade’s Col. Barry Huggins and Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Connette, the 3rd Stryker Brigade’s Col. Charles Webster and Command Sgt. Maj. Samuel Murphy, and the 4th Stryker Brigade’s Col. Michael Getchell and Command Sgt. Maj. Oscar Vinson.