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Tag: army


V-shaped hull for Strykers

A change to the design of the Army’s Stryker vehicle to make it more likely to withstand a blast from a roadside bomb should be coming soon, the service’s chief of staff told lawmakers Wednesday.

Gen. George Casey told the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee that it’s “probability more than a possibility” that Army will add a V-shaped hull to the bottom of the 20-ton vehicle. The shape of the hull would help deflect blasts from the Stryker’s underbelly and is modeled from a similar design in the Mine Resistant Ambushed Protected class of armored vehicles.

“I can’t

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For fiancees of the deployed, a legal limbo

Catlin Ang doesn’t dread the knock on the door and the visit by two soldiers in dress uniforms. If the unthinkable happens in Afghanistan, she’ll likely find out over the phone.

The 22-year-old Fife resident is the beneficiary of Spc. Nick Torres’ life insurance. She is carrying their child, due this month. She’s helping him make sure his bills back home are paid while he’s deployed with his Fort Lewis Stryker brigade.

But the two are engaged, not married. The Army recognizes legalities, not promises.

“It’s a little unfair, to be honest,” she said. “The only thing that’s different is a piece of paper. I’m pregnant with his child. I’m taking care of his business back home, but I don’t have any rights.”

Countless others – fiancées, boyfriends, girlfriends and domestic partners – are in a similar situation. They wake up in the middle of the night to have a Skype video chat with their significant other in Iraq or Afghanistan. They fret over the latest headline about a bombing in Kandahar or Baghdad. They trade e-mails with family members of the deployed and attend official functions.
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People in the service

(This is a periodic update of Washington folks serving across the armed forces. If you’d like to add any news — new training, a deployment, a retirement, etc. — email me at

olsonmugAdm. Eric T. Olson, a Tacoma native commanding U.S. Special Operations Command, recently inherited the title of “Bull Frog,” given to the sailor with the greatest amount of service following SEAL training.

Olson, a 1973 graduate of the Naval Academy, gained the title after the retirement of SEAL Capt. Pete Wikul. As a four-star admiral, Olson is the highest ranking SEAL to earn the Bull Frog title.

Marine Cpl. Timothy Lewis of Fall City just graduated from Marine Security Guard school and is now stationed in Brussels. The Marines of Marine Corps Embassy Security Group are tasked with guarding American embassies and consulates abroad.

The 4-9 Infantry's Field Trains Command Post in Baghdad
The 4-9 Infantry's Field Trains Command Post in Baghdad

Army Capt. Bud Corbin is leading the field trains command post for Fort Lewis’ 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment — a unit of 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. The soldiers “are working all day and night” at Victory Base Complex in Baghdad to make sure the battalion is well-equipped, their commander said.

National Guard Pvt. Aaron Kim of Tacoma graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga. Kim is a 2009 graduate of Washington High School in Parkland.

James W. Goodgion of Kent graduated from the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Leader Development and Assessment Course at Fort Lewis. Goodgion, a 2006 graduate of Kentlake High School, is a student at Missouri State University.

Army Pvt. Omar A. Cervantes of Tacoma graduated from Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill, Okla.

Army Reserve Pvt. Sampson I. Sneed of Federal Way graduated from Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill, Okla.

Army Pvt. Jason A. Dudley of Covington graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Ga. Dudley is a 2009 graduate of Tahoma High School.

Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Afsheen C. Saatchi of Tacoma graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Saatchi earned distinction as an honor graduate. Saatchi graduated in 2000 from Life Christian Academy in Tacoma and received an associate degree in 2004 from Pierce College.
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MPs return from Iraq deployment

About 150 military policemen will return to Fort Lewis tonight after a yearlong deployment to Iraq.

The troops from two companies of the 508th Military Police Battalion served in Taji and supported operations at the Theater Internment Facility and Reconciliation Center. Soldiers from the battalion’s headquarters company provided command and control for running the detention facility. Troops from the 67th Military Police Company trained Iraqi corrections officers assigned to the facility.

The center was still under construction when the unit arrived in September 2008 and wasn’t finished when the first group of detainees arrived three months later. The 508th is

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Local links, Sept. 15

Jeremy Pawloski of The Olympian has gone through thousands of pages of public records from the City of Olympia concerning John Towery, the Fort Lewis employee accused of spying on an Olympia antiwar group.

Much of it is about threat assessments the Fort Lewis force protection folks sent to the Olympia Police Department about the Olympia Port Militarization Resistance group. Towery has been accused of infiltrating the group to spy on them — a possible violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.

According to Fort Lewis spokesman J.C. Matthews, the investigation remains ongoing. This is what he wrote to the

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A haven for 4th Brigade’s families

Someone sitting in Emily Mignano’s office might want to know about babysitting services on Fort Lewis. Or about free oil changes available to military family members. Or perhaps the person just wants to talk about life during deployment.

“We try to be here for anything they really need,” Mignano, a family readiness support assistant, said Friday from desk inside the new Raider Family Center. “Mostly, I think a lot of people just want to make sure they can stay in the loop.”

The recently organized center caters to families from the Iraq-bound 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and aims to

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Program to detect mental health issues

Madigan Army Medical Center will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday on the improved version Self Evaluation for Life Fitness, which builds off a four-year-old pilot program that requires every soldier returning from a deployment to see a medical and behavioral-health provider.

The program uses computer-based self assessments that can detect immediate health needs, like depression, anxiety or physical health issues, according to a Madigan press release.

The program’s precursor was launched in 2005 as Fort Lewis and has been expanded to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, earlier this year.

The goal of the program is primarily mental health, Dr. H. Quigg Davis,

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Local links, Sept. 11

Today’s links start with a dispatch from our D.C. correspondent, Les Blumenthal, who writes about a recent trip by U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Tacoma, to Pakistan and Afghanistan. The congressman — who sits own both the House Intelligence Committee and the armed services subcommittee that overseas special operations forces — stressed the importance of winning the AfPak fight.

“This is ground zero for al-Qaida,” Smith said. “They are still there, they are still plotting against the West. We have to deal with that threat. As much as we would like to avoid it, we can’t.”

Other local links include:

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