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Archives: March 2013

March
13th

Federal budget cuts claim well-loved air mobility rodeo at JBLM

The Pentagon is cancelling a well-loved Air Force competition at Joint Base Lewis-McChord this summer, grounding the air mobility “rodeo” to save money.

About 20 air crews from a dozen nations were scheduled to visit McChord Air Field this July for the competition.  Two years ago, teams came from as far away as Pakistan to practice with local airmen.

Air Mobility Command commander Gen. Paul Silva cited the budget uncertainty in the Pentagon in describing his decision to cancel the rodeo. The Defense Department is carrying out $50 billion in forced budget cuts this year because of Congress’ failure to

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March
12th

Afghan witnesses visit JBLM to prepare for Staff Sgt. Bales’ court-martial

Six Afghan civilians who plan to testify at the court-martial for Kandahar massacre suspect Staff Sgt. Robert Bales traveled to Joint Base Lewis-McChord last week to prepare for the trial.

Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield, a spokesman for Lewis-McChord’s I Corps, confirmed that the witnesses visited the base last week and returned to Afghanistan.

They stayed at accommodations on the base and met with attorneys from the Army prosecution team and Bales’ lawyers.

Dangerfield said the discussions were not depositions. They were intended to help the Afghans become familiar with the court-martial process they will experience if Bales’ case takes place

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March
8th

“Arrowhead 6 signing off:” Stryker commander hands post to successor after Afghanistan mission

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade leader recently home from Afghanistan handed his post to a new commander today and closed the book on his 30-year career in the active-duty Army.

Col. Charles Webster filled his remarks at his change of command ceremony with “thank yous” to his fellow soldiers in the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and to his peers among Lewis-McChord’s senior officers.

“What a day, one of I’ve been dreading for, oh, about 30 months (since he took command),” he said in his prepared remarks. “But what an adventure, not only the last 30 months, but also

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March
8th

Army report stemming from Madigan complaints recommends overhaul of psychiatric programs


The Army did not find a systemic bias against diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder in a deep review of its psychiatric programs that was prompted by complaints about doctors at MadiganArmyMedicalCenter.

In fact, the review of nearly 150,000 cases since the start of the war in Afghanistan shows doctors were as likely to upgrade diagnoses to PTSD from less serious, less expensive conditions as they were to “reverse” them for soldiers seeking medical retirements.

The Army launched the investigation last year amid complaints that Madigan doctors were downgrading PTSD diagnoses to save the Army money

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March
6th

TNT launches “embed at home” as JBLM cavalry leaders pass the saber to mark a change of command


A man dressed as a cavalryman from long ago loses his hat as he gallops away, symbolically closing the change of command ceremony for the 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment at Joint Base Lewis McChord today. Lt. Col. Robert Halvorson (right) replaces Lt. Col. Jim Dunivan (left) as squadron commander.
Peter Haley / Staff photographer

The News Tribune over the past 10 years built a solid tradition embedding with Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This year, we’re going to try something a little different. We’ll tail a single unit off and on as

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March
5th

New JBLM division leader talks pot, Pacific shift and health in TV interview

Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza last week sat down for an interview with TVW’s Austin Jenkins, covering a lot of ground from how to talk about mostly legal marijuana in the Evergreen State to the recently reactivated 7th Infantry Division’s growing command responsibilities over combat brigades.

Above is an excerpt showing Lanza reiterating that Lewis-McChord soldiers cannot smoke marijuana even though the drug is now legal under state law. Federal law applies to service members, he said, and regular urinalysis tests for cannabis will continue.

Lanza arrived at Lewis-McChord last fall to reactivate

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March
1st

Update: Forced budget cuts already impacting training at JBLM; DOD civilians preparing for pay cuts

4:30 p.m. update: Tightening constraints on federal spending are already taking a bite out of military training exercises for Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers, the base’s senior Army officer said today.

The Army has cancelled two rotations for Lewis-McChord soldiers to the National Training Center, a southern California base where units demonstrate that they are ready for deployments, Lt. Gen. Robert Brown said.

Brown said the Army also is scaling back its use of the Yakima Training Center in central Washington. That high desert expanse is prime training territory for the Army because units can fire heavy weapons with fewer considerations

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