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Archives: March 2013


With withdrawal picking up speed, some JBLM units are coming home early from war

Some Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers who deployed to Afghanistan a few months ago are coming home early because of the Obama administration’s quickening withdrawal of U.S. forces from the war zone.

Small groups of soldiers from Lewis-McChord’s 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division started coming home this month. The unit, known in the Army as the Raider Brigade, deployed in November and December with about 3,000 soldiers who expected to stay in Afghanistan through July or August.

The bulk of them still anticipate serving in Afghanistan through the summer, according to letters commanders have sent home to family readiness groups.


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JBLM civilians fear hard choices at home if plan for Pentagon furloughs unfolds

Tammy Grice of Tacoma says forced furloughs for Defense Department civilian workers will “sink my family’s ship.” Shes a daycare worker at Joint Base Lewis-Mcchord.

Anxiety is rising among the civilian workforce at Joint Base Lewis-McChord that stands to lose up to a fifth of its pay this year to furloughs if Congress fails to prevent forced federal budget cuts this month, a panel of workers told Sen. Patty Murray on Wednesday.

“This is going to destroy my entire family,” said Matt Thompson, 47, of Roy. He’s a Lewis-McChord mechanic supporting a family of five

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Road project could cause delays for JBLM commuters, especially ones from Spanaway

A road improvement project beginning next week could cause delays over the next two months for drivers who cut through Joint Base Lewis-McChord to Interstate 5 from Spanaway

The eight-week project will limit access to several gates military and civilian workers use to enter Lewis-McChord. It is scheduled to begin Monday, April 1 and run through at least the end of May.

The Army said the project will shut Perimeter Road and 150th Street Southwest – roads that bisect Lewis-McChord from Spanaway to the interstate – to civilian and commercial traffic. That means those drivers generally will have to go

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JBLM Green Beret dies from gunfire in Afghanistan

A Green Beret from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 1st Special Forces Group died Thursday from wounds he suffered earlier in the the week in eastern Afghanistan, the Defense Department announced today.

Sgt. 1st Class James Grissom, 31, of Hayward, Calif. is survived by his wife, parents and sister. He was wounded by small arms fire in Paktika Province on Monday, and he died under care at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

Grissom was a well-decorated soldier whose combat medals show that he served in Iraq and Afghanistan since joining the Army in 2003. He enlisted through a program that

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JBLM Silver Star recipient “saved his comrades who meant more to him than life”

Spc. Ricardo Cerros gave his life when he threw himself in the path of a grenade to protect two of his fellow soldiers a year and a half ago. They survived, and credit the fallen 24-year-old soldier for keeping them alive.

Sgt. Peter Cimpoes took a similar risk in October when he put himself in between enemy shooters and two wounded Rangers, enabling his team to retrieve the injured men during a 35-minute gunfight at close distances.

The Army on Wednesday thanked Cerros and Cimpoes, both members of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s storied Ranger battalion, for putting themselves in grave danger

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JBLM Howitzers are booming this week, but even more action is unfolding on screens

Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s artillery brigade is firing its big canons this week, but on a tighter budget than in years past.

The canons likely sound the same as ever to Pierce County residents on both the east and west sides of Lewis-McChord who heard the rumble of Howitzers last night between 8 and 9 p.m. I noticed lots of chatter on Facebook about the firing last night, and it looks like our friends at Patch picked up on the same calls.

On the base, though, this week’s artillery exercise signals the Army’s deepening reliance on simulated shooting to

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Army releases investigation into Madigan PTSD complaints. Read excerpts and full report here

A 100-page Army investigation into patient complaints at MadiganArmyMedicalCenter reveals a hospital under siege a year ago, where “tearful” discussions about doctors allegedly misdiagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder took place under the scrutiny of Congress and the Pentagon.

It concludes in part the hospital commander who temporarily lost his job because of the investigation never meddled with PTSD diagnoses, and that the whistleblowers who drew attention to the hospital were misinformed in their criticism.

The report emphatically backs Madigan commander Col. Dallas Homas, and supports the way the hospital carried out forensic psychiatric evaluations before its doctors were accused of “reversing”

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Sequester hitting home at JBLM in slashed tuition assistance and tight training budgets

Service members at Joint Base Lewis-McChord are starting to feel the pinch of forced federal budget cuts that are changing the way they train and cutting into benefits they have enjoyed throughout the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At the top of the list for service members looking to advance themselves are the Army and Air Force tuition assistance programs, which give them up to $4,500 a year toward college-level education programs.

The Army and Air Force suspended that program this month as they sought to shore up their budgets following Congress’ failure to avert $50 billion in immediate defense

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