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Category: 17th Fires Brigade


JBLM losing one of its team players as Fires Brigade’s Col. Kamper moves on

Col. Ken Kamper doesn’t miss much at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He’s there when his artillery troops come home from war. He’s there to pay respects when soldiers fall in combat. And Kamper almost always says yes when South Sound communities come looking for an officer in uniform to represent the Army outside the base.

The two-time Iraq veteran who spent eight of the past 10 years at the base south of Tacoma is moving on after two and a half years leading about 2,500 soldiers in the base’s artillery brigade. His 17th Fires Brigade is one of four large Army

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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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In 19th year, JBLM puts more muscle in Yakima exercises with Japanese forces

The 19th year of a U.S.-Japan military exercise in Central Washington peaked today with batteries of American canons collaborating with hundreds of soldiers from their Pacific ally in one of their biggest joint-drills yet.

Both nations stepped up their contributions to so-called Operation Rising Thunder this year. Each side sent about 500 service members to take part in the three-week exercise, said Army Capt. Cynthia Holuta.

For the Americans, the extra troops reflect the Pentagon’s reemphasis on the Pacific as well as a chance for soldiers to refresh combat skills they can’t exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The Japanese have long

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JBLM artillerymen come home from a year firing the big guns in Afghanistan

A battalion of Joint Base Lewis-McChord artillerymen came home to the South Sound on Monday, ending an 11-month deployment to eastern Afghanistan.

About 200 soldiers from Lewis-McChord’s 1st Battalion, 377th Field Artillery Regiment of the 17th Fires Brigade made the trip home.

Their mission centered on firing artillery batteries at enemy targets, often during or just after attacks on NATO forward bases.

Two soldiers in the battalion lost their lives on May 18 at a base in Asadabad when an enemy rocket struck their artillery battery. Sgts. Michael Knapp and Jabraun Knox were remembered as caring fathers and

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Maj. Gen. Lanza will lead division at JBLM

The Army this morning released the name of the two-star general who will command the new division headquarters that sets up this fall at Joint Base Lewis-McChord – the first division HQ here in more than 20 years.

Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, an Iraq war veteran who currently works as the Army’s chief of public affairs, will assume command of the 7th Infantry Division Headquarters when the unit is reactivated Oct. 1.

“The growth of this installation, and its increased significance in our nation’s defense strategy, makes this an important and challenging assignment,” Secretary of the Army

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Army says new 7th Infantry Division headquarters at JBLM to focus on training and discipline

The Army is building a new headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, but it will be unlike other commands for two-star generals across the country in that it will not be asked to deploy for combat.

Instead, the 7th Infantry Division will focus on mentorship, training and discipline at Lewis-McChord, Secretary of the Army John McHugh said during a Thursday visit to the base south of Tacoma.

Those are stateside responsibilities that have come under scrutiny at Lewis-McChord because of a series of high-profile crimes committed by troops stationed there, including the 2010 “kill team” homicides of three noncombatants in southern

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Embed update: Hitting the ground and remembering fallen JBLM troops

Bingo. We’re on the ground with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in Afghanistan’s Zabul Province.

First impressions: The forward base here in Qalat has a view of a castle that once housed Alexander the Great.

We flew in by Blackhawk this afternoon and saw just one car driving along on an empty stretch of Afghanistan’s Highway 1, the loop that connects the country’s main cities. That’s one truck on a beautifully paved road.

Tan Afghan homes blend into the brown earth and tall mountains in the distance. The soil appeared desert dry, but there were signs of

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Lewis-McChord hosting its last large Iraq homecoming this week

Here’s another sign that the war in Iraq is almost over:

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Tuesday is hosting what it expects to be its last significant homecoming for soldiers serving there.

Over the past eight years, tens of thousands of soldiers have passed through the base south of Tacoma on their way to and from and Iraq. Tomorrow, about 170 service members will be reunited with their friends and family following shortened combat deployments.

About 100 Lewis-McChord soldiers will be left in Iraq after tomorrow’s homecoming. They’ll come home in small groups over the next few weeks.

The Army says the

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