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Tag: Joint Base Lewis-McChord


Local links, Dec. 8

Brig. Gen. Jeff Mathis, the guy running Fort Lewis while I Corps is deployed, makes an appearance on CNN. He talked about the stress of repeated deployments and the importance of family support.

“So are we going to continue to see stress? If we continue these deployments, will there be stress on the force? Absolutely,” he told CNN’s John King.

Other local links:

4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Army captain stole $690,000 [The News Tribune]
Beaverton soldier pleads guilty to stealing $690,000 in government cash [Beaverton Valley Times]
Iraqi Army Lead Combined Search

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Local links, Dec. 7

Plenty of local links:

I Corps
Fort Lewis Killer Ivette Davila, in ‘Junior High’ State of Mind, Found Bloody Evidence Against Her ‘Yucky’ [Seattle Weekly]
Testimony given in case of Bakersfield servicewoman accused in killings [Bakersfield Californian]

17th Fires Brigade
Cape Coral soldier dies in Iraq [The News-Press]
Florida soldier dies in Iraq [Orlando Sentinel]
Fort Lewis Soldier Dies Of Non-Combat Injuries In Iraq [KIRO-TV]

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Military Families Tired Of Deployments, Separation [NPR]
Canadian command in Afghanistan grows with addition of U.S.

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17th Fires Brigade soldier dies in Iraq

A 21-year-old Florida native serving with Fort Lewis’ 17th Fires Brigade died Sunday in Iraq.

Pfc. Derrick D. Gwaltney was killed in a non-combat-related incident south of Basra, the Pentagon announced Wednesday. No other details about his death were released.

Gwaltney enlisted in July 2008 and trained to be a food service specialist. He reported to Fort Lewis in January and deployed six months later with the brigade’s 1st Battalion, 377th Field Artillery Regiment.

Gwaltney is the first member of the brigade to die on this deployment and the 361st service member with Washington ties to die in military operations

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Local links, Dec. 2

A bit of a debate continues over the suitability of the Stryker for the rough terrain of Afghanistan. Some say it’s too vulnerable to roadside bombs. But the main alternative, Mine Resistant Ambushed Protected, are often too heavy for the terrain.

So the soldiers of 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in southern Afghanistan will soon receive the Mine Resistant Ambushed Protected All-Terrain Vehicle, or M-ATV

Troops are going through driver training in Afghanistan now.

From the press release: “The M-ATV driver’s training is important because the center of gravity is different than an MRAP,” said Chief Warrant Officer Jeffery

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Lewis bids farewell to cav scout

From staff writer Joyce Chen:

Several hundred people gathered in Fort Lewis¹s North Fort Chapel on Tuesday morning to honor a fallen Stryker soldier.

Spc. Joseph Lewis, 26, died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Nov. 17 of wounds suffered when a bomb struck his vehicle. He was a cavalry scout and Stryker driver.

The service was simple: piano, prayer, speeches. A picture of Lewis, smiling slightly in uniform, was projected on the front wall.

Lt. Col. William Clark praised Lewis as an intelligent, outspoken soldier committed to his platoon.

“He understood that as a cavalry man, you have to keep moving forward; as a cavalry man, you have to saddle up,” Clark told the assembled crowd.
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Defense lawyers question Davila’s sanity

Spc. Ivette Davila reported seeing flashes of light, hearing strange voices and believing people were walking on the roof of her cell. She also called blood-stained sheets “yucky,” peppered letters with childish cartoon-like drawings and had a tendency to zone out.

The Fort Lewis soldier, defense lawyers said, doesn’t fit the description of a cold-blooded assassin – or perhaps even someone with an awareness of what she was doing when she killed two fellow soldiers last year.

“(There are) almost no answers in the area of sanity,” Maj. Carol Brewer said in the closing arguments of Davila’s Article 32 hearing Tuesday at Fort Lewis.

Davila is charged with killing Staff Sgt. Timothy Miller and Sgt. Randi Miller in their Parkland home March 2, 2008, trying to dispose of their bodies by soaking them with muriatic acid and kidnapping their 7-month-old daughter.

The defense conceded many facts of the case but said the two counts of premeditated murder – which could carry the death penalty – weren’t appropriate. And they alleged government interference derailed her chance at fully investigating mitigating circumstances.

Davila, a 23-year-old California native who was serving with the I Corps honor guard, also faces charges of kidnapping, burglary and obstruction of justice. An Article 32 hearing is the military equivalent of a grand-jury investigation. The investigating officer, Lt. Col. Andrew Efaw, will weigh the testimony and evidence and recommend what charges should be referred to a general court-martial.

Brig. Gen. Jeff Mathis, acting post commander, will review the recommendations and have the final say on the charges and whether to pursue the death penalty. The process could take several weeks.
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Local links, Dec. 1

My story on the first day of Spc. Ivette Davila’s Article 32 hearing had to be cut quite a bit — for obvious and understandable reasons — but it’s worth checking out the longer version on FOB Tacoma.

Other local links:

McChord Air Force Base
McChord officials to use commercial jet fuel in demonstration [62nd AW]

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Learning the Terrain – Package [DVIDS]

3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Arrowhead Brigade Has Their ‘Eye in the Sky’ [DVIDS]

17th Fires Brigade
COB Basra Marathoners run the gamut

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‘A cold, calculated crime’

Spc. Ivette Davila researched the effects of muriatic acid online. She asked her roommate to babysit the baby of the people she planned to kill. She went out the night of the killing to set up an alibi, and then planted a silenced pistol at the Parkland home of Staff Sgt. Timothy and Sgt. Randi Miller.

The Fort Lewis soldier then met the Millers at a downtown Tacoma bar, drank with them and returned to their house, where she killed both of them and kidnapped their 7-month-old daughter, Kassidy.

That’s the scenario that led to the deaths of the Millers on March 2, 2008, prosecutors said Monday on the first day of Davila’s Article 32 hearing.

“This wasn’t a crime of passion,” government attorney Capt. Dan Bentson said in his opening statement. “This was a cold, calculated crime.”

The defense, meanwhile, conceded many facts of the case but said the 23-year-old California native hasn’t been given the proper opportunity to mount a defense.

“The defense has never denied what happened that night,” attorney Maj. Carol Brewer said. “But because of many intervening causes, we’ve been unable to get to the real question, which is why.”
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