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Archives: Dec. 2012

Dec.
31st

Lewis-McChord soldier killed in Afghanistan

UPDATE: A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier died in Afghanistan on Saturday, the 36th and likely last reported fatality from the local base in 2012.

Pfc. Markie T. Sims, of Citra, Fla., died a week before his 21st birthday in southern Afghanistan in the blast of improvised explosive device, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Sims was a combat engineer who enlisted in the Army in November 2011. This was his first deployment.

Sims ran track and played basketball in high school and graduated from Marion Technical Institute in Ocala, Fla.

Sims’ mother, Wanda Thompson, told the Star-Banner newspaper that her son

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Dec.
18th

State prepares for looming defense cuts with report that argues for more Pentagon spending

Washington’s congressional delegation today released a report that makes a case for steady or increased military spending in the state even as the Pentagon eyes budget cuts across the services.

The 132-page report created by the Washington Military Alliance outlines more than $13 billion in defense spending at military installations from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Naval Base Kitsap in the Puget Sound to Fairchild Air Force Base in eastern Washington.

It contends those resources should be maintained because they support the Pentagon’s recent emphasis on Pacific threats and defense of cyber networks.

It also calls on civilian governments

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Dec.
14th

Accused JBLM pilot not guilty on all charges stemming from paratrooper’s death

A 10-officer court-martial panel today found Joint Base Lewis-McChord pilot Jared Foley innocent of dereliction of duty and reckless endangerment in the 2011 death of an Army paratrooper from the West Virginia National Guard.

Foley, 37, had faced two and a half years in prison for approving an airdrop that led to the death of Sgt. Francis Campion, 31, of Hollidaysburg, Pa.

Foley closed his eyes and seemed to hold back tears when the court-martial panel president read the verdict. Capt. Sarah Carlson, one of Foley’s defense attorneys, could not stop from crying.

All of the attorneys in the case

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Dec.
13th

Senate passes Murray bill to expand VA fertility services for wounded service members

The Senate today passed a bill to provide additional fertility treatments to catastrophically wounded service members and their families, but the measure faces a tight deadline in the House of Representatives.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., campaigned for the bill two months ago in Seattle flanked by paralyzed service members from Spokane and Tacoma. Her bill  compels the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer in vitro fertilization services to severely wounded service members and their spouses.

In a Senate floor speech today, Murray cited the damage buried mines can do a service member’s reproductive organs. In Afghanistan, the Taliban’s

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Dec.
13th

JBLM trial update: Pilot’s fate is in jury’s hands; family of fallen paratrooper upset with blame game

6:30 p.m. update: Closing arguments are complete and a court-martial panel composed of 10 Air Force officers is weighing the reckless endangerment and dereliction of duty charges against Capt. Jared Foley. A verdict could come tonight, but seems more likely to be released tomorrow.

Prosecutor Capt. Mark Rosenow showed respect to Foley’s reputation as a careful, meticulous pilot but charged that Foley made a fatal error when he allowed a sixth pass over a Montana Air Field on July 10, 2011  after the previous jump ended with a paratrooper landing outside of an established drop zone.

Under Air Force regulations,

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Dec.
12th

JBLM trial update: Army officer on ground encouraged airdrop that caused jumper’s death

Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Capt. Jared Foley and his crew in a C-17 Globemaster III were ready to turn back home after a paratrooper landed outside of a planned drop zone on a July 2011 training exercise.

The National Guard parachutist jumped from the plane’s fifth pass over a Montana landing zone, and the error caused the crew to cancel a planned sixth and seventh run.

Then an Army safety officer on the ground called the C-17 crew with a new assessment: The paratrooper missed his drop zone because of his own errors. The Army officer told the Air Force crew

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Dec.
11th

Trial update: Senior JBLM Air Force commanders could testify for accused pilot

Two of Joint Base Lewis-McChord highest ranking Air Force commanders could be called to testify on behalf of a pilot who is facing a court-martial stemming from a training exercise that resulted in the death of an Army paratrooper.

The accused pilot, Capt. Jared Foley, was well regarded among top officers in Lewis-McChord’s 62nd Airlift Wing, and until recently provided daily operations briefings to commanding officer Col. Wyn Elder.

“I thought (Foley) did a fine job with the task at hand” in those daily briefings, said Col. Thomas Jackson, commander of the wing’s maintenance group.

Foley’s court-martial started Tuesday at

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Dec.
11th

Veteran JBLM Stryker soldier killed by IED in Afghanistan

 

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker soldier on his third deployment was killed in Afghanistan Monday, the Defense Department announced tonight.

Staff Sgt. Wesley Williams, 25, was killed by an insurgent bomb during a mission in Kandahar province.

He served with Lewis-McChord’s 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which deployed last month to replace another local Stryker unit in southern Afghanistan.

Williams of New Carlisle, Ohio joined the Army in 2005 after graduating high school. He met his wife at an ROTC program at Tecumseh High School in his hometown, WHIO TV reported.

Williams spent his first couple years

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