FOB Tacoma

NOTICE: FOB Tacoma has moved.

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

Tag: lewis-mcchord


Ex-Lewis soldier convicted of child rape

A former Fort Lewis soldier could spend more than two years in prison after convictions for child rape and furnishing liquor to a minor stemming from a December 2008 incident in Pacific County.

Here’s the press release:

Ft. Lewis Soldier Convicted of Rape of a Child in the Third Degree and Furnishing Liquor to a Minor.

After a three-day jury trial which ended on Wednesday, March 31, 2010, former Army enlisted man William N. Valdiviez, of Houston, Texas, was convicted of one count of Rape of a Child in the Third Degree and one count of Furnishing Liquor to a Minor, in the Pacific County Superior Court.

In December, 2008, Mr. Valdiviez, then 25 years of age, who was in the U.S. Army at the time, was vacationing with family members at the Surfside Inn in Ocean Park, Washington. His grandparents had flown in from Texas along with three of his cousins, including the victim in the case, age 14. The purpose of the trip was for the family to visit with William, who was stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington; to celebrate the holidays; and also to celebrate the victim’s 15th birthday. She was to turn 15 on December 25, 2008. Mr. Valdiviez’s girlfriend from Tacoma, Washington, was also in Pacific County for the vacation, as was Mr. Validiviez’s mother, his step-father, and his half-sister.
Read more »


Local links, April 2

Not too much out there today:

Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Soldier jailed for refusing Afghan tour released from Lewis-McChord jail [The News Tribune]

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Senator Patty Murray Comments on Local Soldier’s Death [KIMA-TV]

Local service members
Wives Roll to Range 500 for ‘Jane Wayne Day’ [DVIDS]
Reservist’s Classes Help Promote Fitness to Troops at Arfijan [DVIDS]


Bishop: Few regrets on going AWOL

Pvt. Travis Bishop left his jail cell at Joint Base Lewis-McChord last week with no job, a criminal conviction and just one regret.

“I wish I had known about applying for a conscientious objector status a lot sooner,” said Bishop, a 26-year-old Louisville native.

The former sergeant made headlines when he went absent without leave and refused to deploy to Afghanistan with his Fort Hood unit last year. Bishop cited his Christian beliefs in making the decision – a move that ultimately cost him 7 1⁄2 months of freedom and led international human-rights group Amnesty International to label him a prisoner of conscience.

He also became a rallying point for the local peace movement, with calls for his release increasing after Fort Lewis Lt. Ehren Watada—who refused to deploy to Iraq—was discharged last fall. Bishop spoke to supporters last weekend at Coffee Strong, a Lakewood resource center for war resisters and disaffected soldiers.

Bishop was released three months early after Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the top commander at Fort Hood, granted Bishop’s request for clemency in February. Bishop is now effectively out of the Army; he retains the rank of private while an appeal to overturn his conviction and reverse the military’s plan for a bad-conduct discharge works its way through the military judicial system.

He now finds himself in the same place as countless others who left the military under less controversial circumstances: looking for a job, planning to enroll in college and adjusting to life without morning formations and buzz-cut requirements.

“I’m just trying to feel normal again,” Bishop said Tuesday in an interview with The News Tribune.

Bishop didn’t hold the same reservations about war when he enlisted in April 2004 or when he deployed to Iraq in 2006-07.

But as his unit prepared for an Afghanistan deployment early last year, he began asking himself tough questions.

“I had to get right with God in case I died or in case I had to kill someone,” he said.

He found answers in the Bible. Bishop, who was raised Baptist and considers himself a nondenominational Christian, came to believe Jesus preached a strict pacifist philosophy.

Read more »


TAPS and the truth about Area 51

The Seattle Times had two cool military stories over the weekend. An reporter on Sunday visited a weekend seminar of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The organization, known as TAPS, is widely known for doing some fantastic work for people who have lost loved ones in combat.

From the story:

After the session, the children carried balloons outdoors, letters to their parents written on tissue paper, attached to the strings.

“I love you dad. I miss you. I wish you were here. I’m in kindergarten now,” wrote Aly Wisenhunt, 5.

Trevor McCants, 14, and

Read more »


Local links, March 31

I’m back from a few days off. If you haven’t read it, check out my Sunday stories about the Stryker vehicle. In the main story, I covered a bit of the history and what folks across the military (from joes to generals) and Congress think about the vehicle today. In a sidebar, I wrote about future modifications to the vehicles. And you should check out the print edition: It’s got plenty of cool graphics, a box descrbing the 10 variants and a timeline of the Strykers vis-à-vis Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Other local links:

Military spouses

Read more »


Medical units respond to Haitian earthquake

Staff Sgt. Karen Harless thinks often the Haiti’s children: kids of all ages wandering the crumbled streets of Port-au-Prince, their parents nowhere in sight. When they saw American military vehicles, they’d flag them down and ask for food and water.

“The first couple times we saw that it was pretty tough,” said Harless, the platoon sergeant of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 153rd Medical Detachment. “I have three kids myself. They were just walking around with nothing to do and nowhere to go.”

Harless was part of a 10-person blood services detachment who left Lewis-McChord in late January to help with the U.S. military’s humanitarian mission in Haiti. Two weeks later, 55 soldiers from the 56th Multifunctional Medical Battalion headquarters left for Haiti.

The base’s 62nd Airlift Wing also has a presence in there: an aerial port squadron that offloads cargo at the airport, a maintenance team and aircrews that ferry supplies between Port-au-Prince and Charleston Air Force Base.

The troops are part of an American military force that arrived a week after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake destroyed much of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and killed an estimated 230,000 people.
Read more »


Local links, March 24

Not too many stories of local troops out there today:

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Dad’s return from Afghanistan surprises kids [The News Tribune]

62nd Medical Brigade
Just What the Doctor Ordered: a Mission for Fort Lewis’ 56th Multi-Functional Medical Battalion [DVIDS]

Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Army Mail Training Ramps Up During Silver Scimitar [DVIDS]


Local links, March 23

My colleague Joyce Chen had a great piece in yesterday’s paper about a CID agent from Lewis-McChord who was helping raise cash for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Other local links:

Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Military plans to give troops longer rest time [The News Tribune]

3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Rosenblum: Historic day for democracy [Savannah Morning News]

4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Working to Restore Iraq’s Past for the Future [DVIDS]
6th Iraqi Army Division, 4-2 SBCT Open New Operations Center [DVIDS]
Engineers Attend JOC Grand Opening [DVIDS]

Read more »