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Archives: May 2013


Former JBLM commander headed to South Korea as slots for generals change hands

The military’s summer shuffle of command assignments is shaking up a few of the top posts at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Two deputy commanding generals for Lewis-McChord’s I Corps on Wednesday said goodbye to the base.

One, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, is moving on to command all Army installations in the Washington, D.C. area. The other, Canadian Brig. Gen. Jean-Marc Lanthier, is returning to a command assignment in Quebec.

Meanwhile, a recent I Corps commander is heading to South Korea.

Lt. Gen. Curtis “Mike” Scaparrotti, who only last June came home with Lewis-McChord’s headquarters from a yearlong assignment in

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JBLM’s Staff Sgt. Robert Bales to plead guilty to killing Afghan civilians

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier who allegedly murdered 16 Afghan civilians last year plans to plead guilty to the killings next week, his attorney said today.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales hopes to avoid the death penalty if his plea is accepted, Seattle defense attorney John Henry Browne told The Associated Press.

The News Tribune reached Browne as he was entering Lewis-McChord today and he could not talk.

The plea hearing is set for next Wednesday, an Army official told The News Tribune.

Bales must give a full account of the killings and persuade a judge that he

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Army Pacific commander hints at Stryker review, but says downsizing could have a light touch in the region

A new interview from the top Army commander in the Pacific raises some interesting questions about how the Pentagon’s plans for its Stryker brigades as it draws down it forces over the next few years.

Lt. Gen. Frank Wiercinski suggested to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the Army might not need a Stryker brigade in Hawaii when it has three at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and one in Alaska.

“We have three additional Stryker brigades at Fort Lewis that we didn’t have 10 years ago,” Wiercinski told the newspaper. “That’s a lot of Stryker brigades.”

(The Star-Advertiser has  a pay

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Plan your Memorial Day observances with this look at the weekend’s events

A busy weekend of Memorial Day events is just around the corner in Pierce and Thurston counties. Here’s a look at the weekend’s ceremonies culled from community groups, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs.


  • Key Peninsula Veterans Aisle of Honor, 1 p.m., VaughnBayCemetery, the cemetery is located at the corner of 100th Street Kp N and 186th Avenue Kp N, Vaughn. 253-884 9852. Signs will be posted from State Route 302. The formal ceremony begins about 1 p.m., but flags will be on display from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Yelm Cemetery Memorial Day

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Injured JBLM soldier wins two medals at Warrior Games

An injured soldier from Castle Rock met one of his last goals as he prepares to leave the Army when he cleaned up at the Warrior Games this month, earning two medals in the annual athletic competition for veterans.

Sgt. Josh Andrew, 26, won a gold medal for the shot put and a silver for his discus throw.

He’s assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Warrior Transition Battalion, where he is receiving treatment for repeated knee injuries he sustained on deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as for concussions he suffered from explosions in combat.

Andrew plans to

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Sgt. John Russell sentenced to life without parole for killing five at Baghdad clinic

An Army judge on Thursday handed down the toughest sentence he could to a soldier who murdered five fellow service members at a Baghdad combat stress clinic four years ago.

Sgt. John Russell will serve life without parole for shooting to death two care providers, two patients and an escort at the clinic in Baghdad’s Camp Liberty on May 11, 2009.

“You are not a monster,” Army Judge Col. David Conn said at Russell’s sentencing, according to Reuters. “But you have knowingly and deliberately done incredibly monstrous things.”

“Sgt. Russell, you have forced many to drink from a bitter cup.

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JBLM’s wartime growth was fifth fastest across entire military, new GAO report shows

A new report from the Government Accountability Office shows that the number of civilian and military employees at Joint Base Lewis-McChord has increased by almost 64 percent since 2006, a pace that marked the fifth-fastest clip for any domestic military installation.

The base added about 20,600 civilian and military employees in that period, giving it a payroll of some 52,800 service members and civilians as of last year.

Lewis-McChord caught the attention of the GAO for a report looking at military bases that added or lost significant numbers of service members in the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure round.

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Australian two star visits JBLM to tell troops “It’s good to have you back” on watch in the Pacific

An Australian two-star general is visiting Joint Base Lewis-McChord this week with a message about the Army’s reinvigorated focus on the Pacific.

“It’s good to have you back,” said Maj. Gen. Rick Burr.

Burr is making the rounds in the Northwest as the deputy commanding general for U.S. Army Pacific in Hawaii. It’s a new position, and it’s intended to be reserved for Australians in the years ahead.

U.S. Army Pacific leads about 60,000 soldiers in Hawaii, Alaska, South Korea and at Lewis-McChord. It answers to the Defense Department’s Pacific Command under Adm. Samuel Locklear.

Burr’s position is one of

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