FOB Tacoma

NOTICE: FOB Tacoma has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved FOB Tacoma.
Visit the new section.

Tag: Joint Base Lewis-McChord


Familiar face to investigate DADT

The days of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy appear to be coming to an end.

And a familiar face will be spearheading a review into the 16-year-old policy that allows gays and lesbians to serve in the military – but only as long as they keep it a secret. From the New York Times story:

To lead a review of the policy, Mr. Gates appointed a civilian and a military officer: Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon’s top legal counsel, and Gen. Carter F. Ham, the commander of the United States Army in Europe. Pentagon officials said the review

Read more »


Biden visits Lewis troops in Iraq

Joe Barrentine/Staff photographer

BAGHDAD – Lt. Jill Ogues first learned the news from an intelligence report: Vice President Joe Biden was coming to Baghdad, and he was going to make an unannounced stop to meet Fort Lewis soldiers at a dining facility.

This called for action.

Ogues and two other lieutenants from Fort Lewis’ 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division arrived at the chow hall 15 minutes before Biden appeared and chose a table near the side entrance where the vice president entered. And when he arrived with entourage in tow, the officers had prime seats.

Their table was one of the first he visited at the dining facility Saturday. Biden asked the lieutenants about their jobs, their hometown and how long they had been in Iraq. He thanked them for their service and posed for photographs.

“It’s a thoughtful gesture – him coming here, spending time with us,” said Lt. Caitlin Conley, the leader of 4th Brigade’s military police platoon. “He’s got a busy schedule while he’s here. He’s got to meet with leaders and generals and guys like that, but it’s nice he made time for soldiers.”
Read more »


Militia chic

KHALIS, Iraq – Want to confuse the heck out of a print-shop owner in Diyala province? Just walk in and ask for posters of Muqtada al-Sadr.

Joe and I went on a daylong tour of the civil-affairs projects of 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment and walked through the main market in Khalis. One shop hawked large posters of Sadr, the firebrand Shiite cleric whose hate of the Americans is pretty well-documented. The guy’s a major political influence throughout Diyala province (and much of Iraq), so posters of him aren’t a rare sight.

So Lt. Col. Chuck Hodges and

Read more »


Coming home is never easy

MUJADEED, Iraq – Small white buildings sit randomly among untended fields like some sort of unnatural plant. Men in kuffiyahs move bricks and construction supplies. Little girls play among piles of discarded plastic wrappers and water bottles.

This collection of three villages outside Khalis in Diyala province was once the site of fierce fighting. Al Qaida in Iraq arrived first in 2007, targeting the Shia who lived there. The Mehdi Army responded, killing Sunnis.

The residents, Shia and Sunni who long lived as neighbors, fled across the country.

But now about 250 families have returned, lured by new homes

Read more »


From Iraq to Washington

BAQOUBA, Iraq – We like helping folks out here at FOB Tacoma. We also like recognition.

So when Sgt. Julius Gutierrez recognized Joe and I as we got off a UH-60 Black Hawk at Forward Operating Base Warhorse and asked to send a message to his in-laws in Spanaway, how could we resist?

Gutierrez, 35, is deployed with 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. He sends this message to his wife’s parents: “I hope you’re safe. I am coming home soon – and Jessica and I are coming to visit for Christmas this year.”


Baghdad in candlelight

BAGHDAD – Few places in the Middle East offer garish luxury quite like the Al Faw Palace, with its soaring marble columns, massive chandeliers and intricately carved ceilings.

But the exaggerated lavishness of a bygone era seemed to melt away amid the light of hundreds of handheld candles near the end of a Christmas Eve service Thursday.

“We know what it is like to serve and strive for goodwill on earth and peace among men,” said Col. Kenneth Stice, a Fort Lewis soldier deployed to minister to service members in Iraq.

The Al Faw, once a symbol of Saddam Huseein’s

Read more »


Local links, Dec. 9

There were several military ties to yesterday’s memorial service for the four fallen Lakewood police officers: Sgt. Mark Renninger was a former Army Ranger at Fort Lewis. The procession began at McChord Air Force Base. The military sent hundreds of people to the ceremony.

But you should read our story about the memorial or any of our stories on the topic not because of those ties (that’s just my excuse for posting it here), but because it was a deeply emotional, moving ceremony.

Other local links:

2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Justice on hold for civilian

Read more »


New lift program comes to Madigan

Madigan Army Medical Center will have a ribbon cutting to celebrate a new safety program. Here’s the press release:

Madigan to celebrate Safe Patient Handling achievement

The Safe Patient Handling Team at Madigan Army Healthcare System, the U.S. Army Medical Command-designated pilot site for Safe Patient Handling, will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 9 at 2:30 p.m. to celebrate the installation of patient ceiling lifts, considered to be the gold standard in this innovative staff safety program. The program is being implemented at Madigan in collaboration with the United States Army Public Health Command.

Safe Patient Handling has

Read more »