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Archives: Feb. 2013


Army endorses once-suspended Madigan leader with extended command assignment

The Army is giving Col. Dallas Homas an extra five months to command Madigan Army Medical Center, extending an assignment that was interrupted last year by an investigation into misdiagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder at the hospital.

Homas will remain at the hospital through the end of the summer, the Army announced this week. He took command in March 2011 and assignments leading the hospital typically last two years.

“This is wonderful news for Madigan Army Medical Center and all its beneficiaries,” said Maj. Gen. Richard Thomas, Homas’ commander at the Army’s Western Regional Medical Command. “Col. Homas is a

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Army bracing for budget cuts: Training, child care and more to be impacted by April

Forced Army budget cuts will show themselves in military communities like the South Sound in slashed paychecks to furloughed employees and reduced opportunities for private companies to work on bases, senior Army officers said in a Wednesday news conference.

“The impact will be immediate and long lasting,” said Brig. Gen. Curt Rauhut, who oversees the Army’s budget for construction, family programs and other installation support services.

He joined two other officers in laying out scenarios they expect if Congress fails to avert the $1.2 trillion budget sequester that is expected to begin Friday. About $85 billion of that sum would

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White House says Evergreen State would lose $173.4 million if furloughs take effect for DOD civilians

The White House on Sunday released a big picture look at how forced budget cuts would impact the Evergreen State, filling in some details that have been elusive in different reports from civilian and defense agencies.

Compulsory furloughs for the state’s Defense Department civilian employees likely are going to take a significant bite out of their paychecks for the rest of the year unless Congress and President Obama can again avert the so-called budge sequester.

Civilian workers across the Armed Forces likely would take 22 unpaid days off between April and November if the cuts unfold. Washington State

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Navy admiral visits JBLM to shift focus from Afghanistan to the Pacific

The Defense Department’s highest ranking officer in the Pacific is visiting Joint Base Lewis-McChord today to get battle-hardened Iraq and Afghanistan veterans thinking about new challenges in Asia.

Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear’s trip to Lewis-McChord is another signal in the Pentagon’s shift in focus from wars in the Middle East to emerging threats and neglected alliances in other parts of the world.

“We can’t stay Middle East-focused forever,” Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, told Lewis-McChord I Corps troops today.

The base south of Tacoma supplied about 10,000 soldiers a year to Iraq and Afghanistan for much of the past

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JBLM crews among the first to fly latest models of Apache attack helicopters

Col. Robert Dickerson, commander of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 16th
Combat Aviation Brigade, introduces the newest model of the Apache
AH-64 helicopter. The base south of Tacoma has eight of the choppers,
and will have 24 by late this spring.
Adam Ashton/Staff writer

Veteran pilots at Joint Base Lewis-McChord tick off their favorite features about the latest models of the Army’s menacing Apache helicopters they received this winter:

More power. Better lift. The ability to command aerial drones from their cockpits.
One more thing: Now they can fly in thick cloud cover, a crucial capability at

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Thurston firefighters assist JBLM paratroopers caught in trees

Thurston County firefighters Thursday afternoon rescued three Joint Base Lewis-McChord paratroopers who were caught in trees during an exercise.
The soldiers belonged to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, one of few Lewis-McChord units that practices airborne missions.
No one was injured, said Lt. Col. Brian DeSantis, a spokesman for the Ranger regiment.
Members of the Thurston County Special Operations Rescue Team were the first to the scene, said Lacey Fire Chief Steve Brooks. They brought the Rangers down from the trees in a wooded area inside the Army base.
“We’re glad they got there as

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Soldier pleads guilty to fatally stabbing wife on JBLM, raping stepdaughter

A soldier pleaded guilty today to charges that he fatally stabbed his wife on Joint Base Lewis-McChord and raped her daughter in August.

Staff Sgt. Robert S. Chiaravallotti, 41, is charged with murder, rape of a child, and assault of a child.

He told a military judge this morning that he stabbed his wife, Dionne Chiaravallotti, to death in the early morning hours of Aug. 25, and that just before he had intended to attack her teenage daughter in the same manner.

Instead, he raped his 14-year-old stepdaughter after she witnessed him kill her mother, Chiaravallotti told the judge.


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Washington among the states with the most to lose if forced Army cuts unfold

Forced Army budget cuts would cost Washington state $461 million this year unless Congress strikes a deal to prevent them by March 1, according to an Army report obtained by The News Tribune.

Washington is one of the states with the most to lose to Army cuts under the so-called budget sequester because it’s the home of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, one of the Defense Department’s largest installations.

About 9,500 Army civilian employees would be compelled to take furloughs if the budget cuts take place. Another 2,000 contractors would lose work because of decreased construction or reduced operations on Army sites.

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