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Category: homecomings


“You have indeed returned with honor.” JBLM’s 2nd Stryker Brigade closes the book on nine months in Kandahar

Staff Sgt. Christopher Byers marched on prosthetic legs at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Thursday, rejoining a group of soldiers he left in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province seven months ago.
His limbs chafed at their heavy use, but Byers didn’t complain. He called himself motivated by the chance to march at a ceremony marking the homecoming of his Stryker brigade.
“It’s good to have them home. It really is. I was so worried about them while were gone,” he said.
Byers, 30, served with the 4,000 soldiers in Lewis-McChord’s 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which recently completed a nine-month assignment

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One JBLM airlift squadron heads overseas, another comes home

Two squadrons of airmen from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 62nd Airlift Wing changed places in the past week: One departed for a two-month mission in the Middle East, and another returned from a similar assignment.

The 10th Airlift Squadron left last week with about 75 airmen for its assignment delivering supplies and troops to bases in a region that stretches from the Horn of Africa to Afghanistan. It’s the second overseas mission for the squadron this year.

“Just as I said back in February, it is an honor to deploy as the commander of a flying squadron in a time of

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JBLM Stryker brigades meet in Kandahar as one hits the ground and two look homeward

Here’s a fun photo that sums up the comings and goings of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s largest infantry brigades, all three of which were on the ground in Kandahar Province for most of this month.

Two brigades are heading home, and one is just getting started on its own mission in southern Afghanistan.

This image shows the commanders and senior noncommissioned officers of Lewis-McChord’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th Stryker brigades at Forward Operating Base Masum Ghar in Kandahar Province last week.

Most of the 3,500 troops in the 3rd Brigade deployed late last year. Many of them are home in the

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Washington National Guard brings home Afghan advisers, says goodbye to MP unit

The Washington National Guard this week is bringing home one group of soldiers from Afghanistan while sending another set of military police on their way for nine-month deployment to the war.

The returning soldiers spent the past year advising Afghan security forces in small teams spread out across remote parts of the country’s northern borders. Three of the 30 soldiers in the guard’s so-called stability transition teams suffered serious injuries in different attacks on their outposts in February and April.

The National Guard said the soldiers “survived and are recovering well.”

“The Washington National Guard family is happy

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Last of soldiers from JBLM’s 14th Combat Engineer Battalion heading home this week

A year in southern Afghanistan is coming to an end for Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 14th  Engineer Battalion.

The soldiers spent their deployment clearing roads of buried bombs in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Jeff Van Sant from Q13 spent several weeks with them early in their deployment and came back with this package of stories on the dangers they faced.

More recently, the battalion suffered its only casualty when Staff Sgt. Alexander Povilaitis, 47, was killed by an enemy bomb in Kandahar. His friends at a memorial last month said Povilaitis embodied the battalion’s motto of “rugged.”

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JBLM’s I Corps home from war – “We did everything we set out to do.”

The round-the-clock days are over for Sgt. 1st Class Sonia Reyes. She’s home from her yearlong deployment with Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s I Corps and getting ready to spend some quality time with the baby she left behind last summer.

“It’s been hard for me to leave my firstborn,” said Reyes, 31, who was on her fourth deployment.

She landed at Gray Army Air Field at Lewis-McChord this afternoon with about of 50 fellow soldiers from the I Corps. She tearfully smiled at her baby, her husband and his daughter while their friends took photos of the reunited family.

She said

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JBLM commander coming home from war, setting stage for changes in top ranks

Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s top commander is  heading home from Afghanistan tomorrow, ending a yearlong deployment in which he and about 600 soldiers from the I Corps ran the war’s daily combat operations.

Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti yesterday gave a round of interviews with Pentagon reporters as he prepared to hand over his position as the war’s No. 2 commander to Lt. Gen. James Terry. The interviews centered on supply routes that ignore Pakistan because of frayed relations and new limits on drone strikes.

The News Tribune spoke with Scaparrotti in Afghanistan two months ago,

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National Guard to honor deployed citizen-soldiers Sunday

The Washington Army National Guard will officially thank about 180 citizen-soldiers who put their lives on hold for a year to support Operation Enduring Freedom during a ceremony Sunday, April 15.

The Freedom Salute ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The citizen-soldiers are assigned to the 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation, known as the Raptor Battalion, who returned home in February from Kuwait. The battalion flies and maintains UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.

The battalion deployed to Iraq from May 2007 to May 2008.

The ceremony is part of a National Guard campaign to publicly acknowledge citizen-soldiers and their

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