Word on the Street

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Category: Fort Lewis


Stryker unit’s advance party returns from Iraq

It’s been almost 13 months since Shawnie Salgado’s husband deployed to Iraq. That’s 13 of loneliness. Thirteen months of juggling work and motherhood. Thirteen months of apprehension every time someone knocked on the door or called in the middle of the night.

Those 13 months ended Saturday.

Her husband, Capt. Joseph Salgado, and 110 other members of an advance party of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division returned to Fort Lewis, and enthusiastic friends and family members greeted the returning warriors.

The advance party consists of soldiers from each of the brigade’s battalions and companies. They returned early to help prepare the redeployment of the brigade’s remaining 3,500-4,000 soldiers, who will be coming home in the upcoming months.

Hundreds filled bleachers at Sheridan Gym for the ceremony. A live video feed projected onto a large screen on one of the gymnasium’s walls followed the return of the troops, beginning with footage of their commercial charter jet landing at McChord Air Force Base.

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T-shirts galore at Hero To Hero’s PackOut event

"God bless you and come home safe," read the message on a red T-shirt from the fire department in Lincoln, Neb.

"Thank you for your support" was scribbled on a shirt from the Spokane Fire Department.

"Hang in there, stay strong and be safe" wrote one person on a shirt from Millerton, N.Y.

"Thank you for serving the best country ever!" the writing on a shirt from San Antonio said.

These shirts – and about 25,000 others – will soon be headed to American and Canadian troops overseas as part of the Hero To Hero program, which had its fifth and final PackOut on Saturday at Camp Murray.

At the event, service members and civilians sat at long, white tables and signed messages on T-shirts donated from fire and police departments from around the world. The hope is that the shirts will provide a morale boost to troops serving overseas.

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Big smiles, new houses at Fort Lewis

Alfred Johnson entered the house lightly; his tan combat boots didn’t make a sound against the tile floor. He turned his head slowly, taking in the view of the large windows and hardwood floors.
A second later, a large smile spread across his face.

"Nice, nice," he said as he moved to the kitchen, where he rubbed the island countertop. "This was worth the wait."

Johnson, a sergeant first class with 2nd Battalion, 364th Regiment (Combat Service Support), and his family received their first glance inside their new housing at Fort Lewis’ Discovery Village, a public-private partnership of 458 units for enlisted personnel.

Johnson arrived at Fort Lewis in August 2006 and added his name to the mailing list the following month. His wife, Ericka, his three children and he will move into their half of the blue-gray duplex next week.

A celebration – complete with a band and speeches –on the cul-de-sac in front of their house concluded with a ceremonial handing of keys. The Johnsons’ impending move means all the units will be full.

"Military installations across the nation are taking part of this initiative to care for families by providing the best possible housing," said Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., the post commander, in front of about 100 people. "As an Army, we are investing our resources in our people because now, when it matters more than ever, every soldier and every family matters more than ever."

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Cards for wounded soldiers

Sometimes it’s easy to forget we’re fighting a war on two fronts. Local TV news carries few reports from Iraq and almost nothing from Afghanistan. Newspapers – this one included – bury stories from Baghdad and Kandahar deeper as the wars drag on. And for many Americans, the wars haven’t affected life on a daily basis. There’s no rationing, no pleas for war bonds, no draft.

Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows that we here at Word on the Street are big on the military – especially the joes who are the most in harm’s way. It’s not easy being away from loved ones, especially during the holiday. It’s probably doubly difficult if you’re in a military hospital recovering instead of exchanging gifts by the Christmas tree.

But we can help, even if just a little bit. The American Red Cross is accepting cards with messages of support to wounded service members. It works like this: We fill out and mail in the cards to the Red Cross, it bundles the, Pitney Bowes Government Solutions then ships them to military hospitals. They must be received by Dec. 27, so you must send them soon.

Everyone knows cards aren’t a substitute for a healthy body and quality time with the family, but hopefully they can make a bad situation just a little bit better.

Click below to read get more details and read the press release:

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