Word on the Street

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Category: Fort Lewis


Get used to name changes at Fort Lewis, McChord

Reporter Kris Sherman, who is working on a larger upcoming story about changes at Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base, reports the following:

If your head whipped around on I-5 near DuPont today and you thought, “What was that?” when you passed a sign reading “Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) next 6 exits,” it wasn’t your traffic-befuddled brain.

It was a brand new highway sign, heralding change at the South Sound’s two big military bases. Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base are merging into one installation Monday.

The first sign of the change went up on northbound I-5 at

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The “Zack Attack”

Update: Zach’s brother, Almanza, called me to say that he received the bronze in the 25-meter-assisted walk, not the softball throw. Sorry about the mix-up.

Of all the shirts people donned at today’s Special Olympics Summer Games at Fort Lewis, the ones that read “Team Zack,” were the some of the loudest.

The family of Zach Mendes of Everett made the shirts to show their support. Unfortunately, the company that printed the shirts spelled his name with a “k,” rather than an “h.”

but the misspelling didn’t stop the 12 members

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Lakewood athlete thankful for more than her silver

Ever wonder what you would say if a reporter asked you what you enjoyed most about winning in the Olympics?

Well, that’s what happened to Nancy Roberts, a Lakewood resident and member of Pierce County Friends and Athletes.

She took silver in the 100-year trot. After the medal ceremony, I asked her what was her favorite part of Saturday.

“The sunshine,” Roberts said, her smile beaming.

At these games, the old saying of “winning isn’t everything” really is true.


Bo don’t know Kevin from Tacoma Metro Parks

Kevin Anderson is a 10-year veteran of the Special Olympics.

The 26-year-old from Tacoma was taking a break from his events Saturday at Cowan Stadium at Fort Lewis. Minutes removed his gold medal-winning performance in the shot put as a member of the Metro Parks Panthers, he was mentally preparing to sprint in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes later in the afternoon.

That’s right, Anderson is a multi-sport athlete, a la Bo Jackson, the super athlete of the 1980s. (Remember lines such as, “Bo knows golf,” etc.? That’s Kevin)

Anderson, who has down syndrome, doesn’t let his skills on the field get to his head. However, he did predict a strong showing in the running events.

“I’m super-speed,” he said, pointing to his chest.

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Special Olympics Summer Games ’09

UPDATE: Officials say more than 2,500 athletes competed in the Special Olympics

I’m here at the annual Summer Games for Special Olympics Washington at Fort Lewis, where cheers and high-fives are in no short supply.

It’s amazing to see the enthusiasm and effort these athletes put into these games. It’s also amazing to see their families and friends travel from places such as Eastern Washington, Vancouver and Arlington to cheer them on.

In the seating area of the track, various colored tents help identify where these teams are from. I’ve already spotted one team from the South

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How would you ease traffic congestion on Interstate 5 near Fort Lewis?

You might have caught this news update about Lakewood leading a $500,000 effort to improve Interstate traffic near Fort Lewis.

Given its proximity and relationship with the installation, the city is the ideal candidate to take the lead on the project. The Lakewood City Council started the process Monday night by approving $500,000 worth of studies to the corridor.

City officials say Fort Lewis is somewhat unique from other installations in that it’s located next to an urban area. I-5 gets nasty in the morning and afternoon when traffic from the post, along with McChord Air Force Base, floods nearby roads.

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As many as 10,000 Lewis soldiers in Iraq next year

It’s official: I Corps is heading to Iraq next year to take on day-to-day operations.

And the unit that runs Fort Lewis will have two familiar brigades under its command.

The Department of Defense announced the major units in its next rotation Tuesday, and joining I Corps will be the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and the 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division – both based at Fort Lewis. The announcement likely caught few people by surprise on post, where personnel have expected this decision.

A firm timetable hasn’t been set, but I Corps is expected to arrive in the winter. The two Stryker brigades will arrive during by summer; a more exact time or location hasn’t been determined because it’s not certain which units they will replace, I Corps spokeswoman Maj. Kathy Turner said.

With smaller units also expected to deploy, as many as 10,000 Fort Lewis personnel will be serving in Iraq next year, Turner said.

This will be I Corps’ first combat deployment since the Korean War. 3rd Brigade will make its third trip to Iraq, and this will be the first time 5th Brigade sees combat.

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Newest lieutenant is 35-year-old Burien resident

Preston Sheldon wore a gold bar on his beret, a new patch on his chest and a wide smile on his face.

His grandfather, an 87-year-old Army veteran who served in three wars and his personal hero, stood about 15 feet away.

"It’s a little emotional," said Sheldon, a 35-year-old from Burien. "I’m trying to hold it in right now, to be honest. I’ve been trying to make him proud since I joined the military."

And nothing, he said, compared to Sheldon’s promotion from staff sergeant to second lieutenant during a modest ceremony at Fort Lewis on Friday.

Sheldon – a Reservist with the 3rd Battalion, 414th Regiment, a unit of the 1st Brigade, 104th Division – became an officer through the direct commission program, which allows experienced enlisted service members a chance to apply for a commission.

He applied during the waning months of his deployment, in which he served from February 2006 to April 2007 on a military interim transition team training Iraqi soldiers on their base at An Numaniyah, southeast of Baghdad.

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