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Tag: 17th fires


Local links, March 17

The death of a 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division soldier seems to have generated a lot of buzz around Northwest news outlets, likely because of the personal demons she overcame during her teenage years.

Other local links:

3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
‘Lost child’ grew up to be a decorated soldier [Seattle Times]
Sheldon grad killed in Iraq ‘inspired people to be better’ [KVAL-TV]
‘She was somebody I wanted my daughter to look up to’ [KOMO-TV]
Sheldon High Grad Killed in Iraq [KEZI-TV]
Remembering Army Spc. Erin McLyman[KMTR-TV]

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Local links, March 15

This weekend’s top story? The return of I Corps, of course.

Other local links:

I Corps
Star power returns to Joint Base Lewis-McChord [KING-TV]
50 local soldiers return from Iraq [KOMO-TV]
III Corps Uncases Colors, Begins Mission As Nucleus of U.S. Forces – Iraq [DVIDS]
Communication Wins Wars [DVIDS]

Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Stimulus spending? Next year will be big [The News Tribune]

McChord Field
Iraqi Children to Receive Refurbished Desks [DVIDS]

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
U.S. soldier in Afghanistan has a dream [Associated Press]

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Local links, March 11

A Fort Lewis soldier writes in the New York Times today about he and his comrades going through virtual reality training. Interesting reading.

Other local links:

17th Fires Brigade
‘Gunslingers’ Host COB Basra Strongman Contest [DVIDS]

Local service members
Army Reserve Competes in Student Team Skills Event at Army Culinary Arts Competition [DVIDS]
Bulk Fuel Specialists Conduct Full Scale Training Operation [DVIDS]
Fairchild NCO, Checotah Native, Manages Fitness Center Ops for Southwest Asia Wing [DVIDS]


Soldier admits to lying

The Post-Crescent photo by Wm. Glasheen

Our story on the deceptions of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier is getting plenty of attention from our readers.

The soldier, Spc. Jordan Olson, fessed up to the lies about his rank, injury and uniform embellishment to a TV reporter yesterday.

The 22-year-old soldier from New London, Wis., told WFRV-TV in Green Bay only his family was supposed to be at the airport to greet him on Saturday. Instead, a hero’s welcome with more than 70 people turned out for the event.

The local newspaper and television stations were there too, and some of Olson’s comrades in the 17th Fires Brigade read the report in the Appleton Post-Crescent and contacted the newspaper.

“I just wanted my family to be proud of me,” he told the television station, “and I overstepped some boundaries I shouldn’t have overstepped.”

A recap: He wasn’t injured like he told friends and family; he was a specialist, not a sergeant; he wore a patch of the 82nd Airborne Division when he shouldn’t have; and he wore the Combat Action Badge and Parachutist Badge, neither of which he was authorized to wear.

His unit will look into the lies when Olson returns to Lewis-McChord after his leave, a base spokesman said Tuesday. Wearing the incorrect patches and badges could also leave him open to prosecution under the federal Stolen Valor Act, which makes it illegal to wear military honors one has not received.

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Local links, March 10

This story from the public affairs staff at the 446th Airlift Wing is particularly touching. It’s about a lieutenant colonel diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma while in New Zealand for Operation Deep Freeze last year.

Lt. Col. Joe Nauman, the commander of the 97th Airlift Squadron, is feeling better. But he wanted to thank the Kiwi doctor who diagnosed him, so he flew back to Christchurch to show his appreciation in person.

This blog is often filled with stories of death and suffering, so a story like this is a nice change of pace to start the day.

Other local

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No injury. Wrong rank. Wrong badges.

Photo by Wm. Glasheen/The Post-Crescent

Family, friends and veterans groups filled the airport terminal to greet Jordan Olson. They held balloons, American flags and banners. Hugs and handshakes abounded.

For the Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier, on leave from the war in Afghanistan, Saturday’s homecoming was nothing short of a hero’s welcome.

He walked with a slight limp and explained the injuries by telling family members he suffered kidney injuries from a bomb blast during a mission with 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment – a unit of Lewis-McChord’s 17th Fires Brigade that has been in Afghanistan since October.

Two days later, the soldier’s lies became public. And they might leave him open to prosecution under a federal law that prohibits falsely claiming military honors.

The Appleton Post-Crescent of Wisconsin covered Olson’s homecoming at Outagamie County Regional Airport for its Sunday edition. The paper’s readers noticed inconsistencies in Olson’s story and the photos the newspaper published. And when the reporter contacted a Lewis-McChord public affairs officer, the 22-year-old soldier’s story unraveled.
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Local links, March 8

We could lead today’s local links list with easily the most newsworthy story of the weekend: Iraq’s parliamentary elections.

But readers of The News Tribune apparently like reading — and commenting on — something a bit closer to home: The sentencing of a Madigan Army Medical Center neurosurgeon for a 2009 road rage incident.

One quote from Dr. Dennis Geyer really appeared to rankle the masses: “As a West Point graduate, and a U.S. Army officer, I always speak the truth,” he told the judge. “I only struck Mr. Speed once. People may find that hard to believe, but

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Lewis-McChord troops prepare for election

(This story will run in Sunday’s News Tribune)

American troops should be out of sight from polling places today as Iraqis elect a parliament for the second time since the fall of Saddam Hussein. But Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers are working behind the scenes throughout the country.

From Baghdad to Basra to Diyala, many of the 12,000 troops from Lewis-McChord have trained Iraqi soldiers to secure today’s polling. They will also provide support and remain on call to intervene in any attacks.

For many troops, the vast majority of whom arrived in Iraq last year, today’s election is the climactic event of their 12-month deployment.

And for ordinary Iraqis, the election represents a pivotal moment in the nation’s post-invasion history. Much remained unknown as the country went to the polls: Would there be violence? Would the Sunnis, who largely boycotted the 2005 election, vote en masse? Would Nouri al-Maliki remain the prime minister? And if not, how will his successor view the presence of American troops?

“If they are secure, legit, credible elections, and the people come out and vote – and there’s every indication right now they’re going to vote across all sectors of society – and then that government is seated, that’s a huge step forward for Iraq,” Brig. Gen. Peter Bayer, the I Corps chief of staff, said in an interview in February.

I Corps and its roughly 1,000 soldiers are in the midst of returning home to Lewis-McChord, although the headquarters is still officially in charge of day-to-day U.S. military operations in Iraq for the election.

The Americans will provide assistance to Iraqi security forces in areas of expertise where the latter is lacking, such as aerial reconnaissance, intelligence analysis, close-air support, explosive ordnance disposal and medical evacuation.

U.S. troops are positioned throughout the country, far enough from polling sites so Iraqi civilians won’t notice but close enough to respond to an attack.

Such an intervention, Lewis-McChord officials stress, can only happen at the request of the Iraqi military.

“We’re not to be seen, but we’re not to be on bases either,” said Lt. Col. Darron Wright, deputy commander of 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division – a Stryker brigade deployed to western Baghdad.

Col. Steven Bullimore, commander of 17th Fires Brigade in southern Iraq, put it this way: “Be ready, stand by and stay out of the way.”

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