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Tag: Washington National Guard


Washington Guardsman dies from Iraq injury

A Washington National Guard soldier from Tacoma who chose to stay in Iraq after his unit returned home died Wednesday in an American military hospital in Germany.

Sgt. William Spencer, 40, was injured in Iraq and evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. The injury was not combat related, according to a National Guard press release.

A Pentagon press release said Spencer died “while supporting combat operations at Combat Outpost Marez” in the northern city of Mosul.

Spencer deployed with the 81st Brigade Combat Team in August 2009 and chose to stay with the Mississippi National Guard unit that replaced

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741st EOD returns from Afghanistan

The citizen-soldiers of the 741st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion have returned from Afghanistan.

The 25 Washington National Guardsmen of the battalion’s headquarters detachment were mobilized for a year and provided command and control for Task Force Paladin, the main counter-IED effort throughout the country. Bombs are by far the top killer of American and coalition troops throughout the country.

Stars and Stripes did a great two-part series on them last year. (Read it here and here.)

The unit was the first local group to deploy to Afghanistan after the Obama administration laid out its revamped strategy

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After long haul, time to relax

Photo by Joe Barrentine/The News Tribune
Photo by Joe Barrentine/The News Tribune

TALLIL, Iraq – Fruit-flavored tobacco, near beer, salsa music, a bonfire and dancers wearing reflective belts.

Call it deployment downtime.

Five Washington National Guard soldiers serving with a transportation company spent Monday night unwinding after an eight-hour long haul at a pizza joint called 6Pazzi that serves as the center of Contingency Operating Base Adder’s social scene. They took long drags off hookahs, munched on pepperoni pizza, sipped non-alcoholic Budweiser and imported soft drinks and cracked jokes.

“Whenever we go out on a long one,” Staff Sgt. Rick Garces of Quincy said, “we try to hang out a bit and relax. And this place is pretty fun.”

By Iraq standards, 6Pazzi offered soldiers the closest thing to a bar scene they’ve found. Strings of colored lights hung from the 15-foot concrete T-walls. The restaurant’s employees fed wooden pallets into a raging fire pit. Speakers thumped music, and a clearing amid the plastic tables served as a dance floor. The bar inside was stocked with bottles of mineral water and mixers that looked convincingly similar to fifths of liquor at first glance.
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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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Local links, Nov. 24

Stars and Strips caught up with the Washington National Guard soldiers fighting roadside bombs in Afghanistan. The 741st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion left in April; they’re now working as Task Force Paladin.

Other local links:

I Corps/Multi-National Corps-Iraq
Lewis Bound: I Corps Analytical Element Completes Year-long Tour [DVIDS]

Washington service members
Family mourns death of soldier [Joplin Globe]
Memorial funds set up locally to honor soldier killed in Afghanistan [Joplin Globe]

Fort Lewis
Police: Soldiers Accused Of Home Invasion Sparked By Divorce [KIRO-TV]

62nd Medical Brigade
Medical colonel deploys

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Guard is helping the hungry

The Washington National Guard is collecting non-perishable canned food to send to local food banks as the holidays approach.

The Guard is collecting them at their storefront recruiting stations. The western Washington offices are already taking donations; the eastern Washington ones begin accepting them Monday.

Here are the participating locations:

• Puyallup: 4621 South Meridian #15
• Lakewood: 10020 Bridgeport Way South
• Seattle: 2445 4th Ave South, Suite 104
• Lynnwood: 3333 184th Street SW
• Spokane: 1402 “A” North Division
• Kennewick: 2525 West Falls Ave.
• Yakima: 112 West Nob Hill

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Local links, Nov. 12

I’m catching up on almost a week’s worth of links (I was out of town), but obviously the biggest story while I was gone was the memorial service for the seven fallen Fort Lewis soldiers. Vice President Joe Biden was in attendance.

Other local links:

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division:
Injured Fort Lewis soldier back from the brink [The News Tribune]
Two more from Fort Lewis confirmed killed in Afghanistan [The News Tribune]
Fort Lewis Memorial: Going back to Louisiana [The News Tribune]
Fallen Stryker soldier: ‘Not once did he quit or complain’ [The News Tribune]
‘Faith will help us out,’ Fort Lewis soldier’s family says [Bellingham Herald]
Biden: 7 Wash. state soldiers were extraordinary [AP]
Vice President Lauds Fallen Fort Lewis Soldiers [KPLU-FM]
7 fallen Stryker Brigade soldiers honored at Fort Lewis [Seattle Times]
Roadside bomb kills two Fort Lewis soldiers [KOMO-TV]
Soldier from Ocala killed in Afghanistan [Orlando Sentinel]
West Bank soldier killed in Afghanistan mourned at service in Harvey [Times-Picayune]
Ferndale Graduate Killed In Action In Afghanistan [KGMI-AM]
Memorial for Vancouver Soldier Killed in Afghanistan [KUOW-FM]
SF units to get latest Land Warrior kit [Army Times]
Fallen soldier was to return for Thanksgiving []
Custer soldier killed in Afghanistan explosion [Lynden Tribune]
Biden honors fallen Fort Lewis soldiers [KOMO-TV]
Vice President Biden Honors Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan at Ceremony at Fort Lewis [ABC]
My husband is at war [San Francisco Chronicle]
On The Scene In Afghanistan: A Deadly Day For U.S. Soldiers [NPR]
Funeral Procession for Spc. Kyle A. Coumas []
Combat Advisors See Afghan Troops in Action [DVIDS]
U.S. combat injuries rise sharply [Washington Post]
Perdue visiting soldiers in Iraq [Jacksonville Times-Union]
Crossroads of Afghanistan-Contested Province Is Vital Link [DVIDS]
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Local links, Nov. 2

I was out since Wednesday, and plenty of news happened since then. Allow me, however, to promote my story of the use of burn pits at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, and elsewhere (the story also has this sidebar).

Other local links:

5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division:

Grieving a ‘very brave young man’ [The News Tribune]
Fort Lewis soldier wounded in Afghanistan can’t wait to go back [KING-TV]
Fort Lewis bids farewell to another ‘good soldier’ [The News Tribune]
Fort Lewis MP officer dies in Iraq noncombat incident [The News Tribune]

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