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Category: 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division

April
30th

“Kill Team” documentary exploring JBLM war crimes earning acclaim

Filmmaker Dan Krauss obtained unrivaled access to three Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers who in 2011 were convicted of murdering Afghan civilians during their deployment to Kandahar Province. His documentary looking at how the soldiers changed from patriotic troops to notorious members of a so-called “kill team last week won first place in its category at the Tribeca Film Festival.

I haven’t seen Krauss’ “Kill Team,” but its preview shows several convicted  soldiers speaking on camera. It’s striking because these are people known around the world only in the gruesome photos they

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Jan.
18th

No news is good news for newly home Stryker brigade

 

Col. Barry Huggins, left, returned from a nine-month deployment leading Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. Photo by Lt. Rose Neats.

The homecomings from an intense year in Afghanistan are almost compete at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, which this week brought back the command group for its 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Its return is notable in part because of the brigade went about its business for the past nine months at war while rarely making news. It also earned some high praise from one of the war’s top generals as it left

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Aug.
20th

Report: Leader of hard-hit JBLM Stryker brigade pushed for better IED tracking software

The Washington Times this week adds a new layer to the long and winding story of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division with a report on how the Army turned down former commander Col. Harry Tunnell’s request for software that could have helped his soldiers plot the enemy’s buried bombs across southern Afghanistan.

The newspaper refers to the brigade as “ill fated.” It lost 37 soldiers in combat. The brigade’s 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment lost 21 of them, giving it the highest number of fatal casualties among any Army battalion in Afghanistan.

Tunnell

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June
27th

“We lost a year” general says about former JBLM Stryker commander Col. Harry Tunnell

Add this to the literature of investigations looking into the leadership of former Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade commander Col. Harry Tunnell: The No. 2 American general in Afghanistan once waned to oust Tunnell during his combat tour in 2009-10.

That insight comes from a new book by Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City.

An excerpt from Chandrasekaran’s Little America: The War within the War for Afghanistan focusing on Tunnell ran today in Slate.com. It’s another layer to the well documented dissonance between Tunnell and his NATO commanders.

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April
26th

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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March
23rd

Does JBLM need another layer of generals?

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a huge base missing one layer of management that other Army installations of its size tend to have: A division headquarters.

Ann Marlowe at World Affairs this week pointed out that the absence of that office could be contributing to the base’s recent run of tragic events. Normally. a base the size of Lewis-McChord has a three-star general leading a corps, a two-star general leading a division and a number of colonels leading combat brigades.

Lewis-McChord grew rapidly in the past decade, rising from a post with 19,000 troops in 2003 to more than

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Feb.
17th

Stryker brigade commander says “justice was served” in “kill team” cases

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord commander who directly supervised the “kill team” courts-martial gave his first public remarks about the war crimes investigation today and sought to retake his brigade’s legacy from the controversies that have overshadowed it.

Col. Barry Huggins of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division has avoided questions about the courts-martial since he took command of the unit in July 2010. The cases came to a close early this month when the Army dropped murder and assault charges it pressed against Spc. Michael Wagnon, the fifth and final soldier it accused of killing noncombatants during patrols with the

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Feb.
16th

Stryker soldier receives $50K gift from country star on Ellen DeGeneres show

Sgt. Chad Sparks of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 2nd Stryker Brigade can focus a little easier on getting ready for his upcoming mission in Afghanistan. His visit to the Ellen DeGeneres show yesterday left his family in good hands to cope with his  nine-month deployment.

Sparks on the show received a $50,000 check from country star Dierks Bentley, who was moved by a letter Sparks’ wife wrote to DeGeneres. Watch the video here.

Ashley Sparks described her husband as “truly the man every girl dreams of, an honest, hard-working, dedicated soldier.”

She wrote that the family recently fell

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