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What's in a name?

The history behind some of the base's well-known places

Carey Theater shows movies, but also hosts military lectures and ceremonies ??" it was named for Medal of Honor awardee SSgt. Alvin P. Carey, a member of the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division. Photo credit: U.S. Army

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A lot has gone into the history of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, which celebrates 100 years in 2017. Some of the places we've all known and loved have a history worth noting in this centennial year. The following are some examples:

The Soldier's Statue
Located at the intersection of 41st Division Dr. and Tacoma Ave., stands an 18-foot fiberglass statue known as The Soldier's Statue, but often referred to as Iron Mike.  Memorializing the men of the 4th Infantry Division who trained at Fort Lewis before their departure for Vietnam, the statue's face was designed to incorporate features of all races, as to represent all infantrymen. To commemorate the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, a plaque was placed in front of the statue.  The statue was designed and sculpted by Juan J. Guerrero and Pekka J. Kauppi, both members of the 4th Division, Grant said.

91st Infantry Division Monument
Often serving as the backdrop for ceremonial functions, the 91st Infantry Division monument stands directly before Quarters No. 1, home of I Corps' commanding general. Unveiled in 1930 by the 91st Division Association, the monument commemorates the role of the "Wild West Division" during World War I. The division was made-up of volunteers from Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. The 91st Division trained at Fort Lewis before departing for France. The monument was designated by the renowned sculptor, Avard T. Fairbanks. It occupies a place of pride at the head of Watkins Parade Field and is the focal point of the semicircle of general officers quarters constructed in 1934.  It also happens to block the CG's view of Mt. Rainier.

Ligget Avenue
This street was named in honor of Lt. Gen. Hunter Ligget, who served in the U.S. Army from 1879-1921.  During his 42-year career, he served as commander of the 41st Division, I Corps, First Army, and Third Army.

Waller Hall

Waller Hall was dedicated in January 1998 in honor of Lt. Gen. Calvin A.H. Waller who served as deputy commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  His last active-duty assignment was commanding general of I Corps and Ft. Lewis before his 1991 retirement.

"All of those who knew him knew that he was an incredible patriot, a great troop leader, somebody who was dedicated to this country," said retired Gen. Colin Powell, a long-time personal friend, in an article on the Arlington National Cemetery web site.

Pendleton Street
Pendleton Street is named in honor of Staff Sgt. Jack R. Pendleton who was assigned to the U.S. Army, Company I, 120th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division. He received a Congressional Medal of Honor.

His citation said he was killed Oct. 12, 1944, in Germany, when he led his squad in an attempt to neutralize the enemy.

"By deliberately diverting the attention of the enemy machine gunners upon himself, a second squad was able to advance undetected, and with the help of Pendleton's squad, neutralized the lone machinegun, while another platoon of his company advanced up the intersecting street and knocked out the machinegun nest which the first gun had been covering.  Pendleton's sacrifice enabled the entire company to continue the advance and complete their mission at a critical phase of the action," said his Medal of Honor citation.

Gray Army Airfield
Gray Army Airfield is named after Hawthorn C. Gray.  Born in Washington, D.C. March 7, 1889, he entered the National Guard in 1912, served in WWI, and attained the rank of captain by February 1920.

Gray set a U.S. altitude record at 29,000 feet on his first flight in a hot air balloon. "Gray attained 42,000 feet on his second flight, but it was not an official record, because he had to parachute out of his balloon as it descended to save himself ... On his third flight in November 1927, he reached 42,000 feet (13,222 meters) again, but ran out of oxygen on the descent. He arrived on the ground with his balloon, but he was dead. It was the last high-altitude flight in an open basket until 1955, when these types of projects were reinstated to develop pressure and spacesuits," according to an article compiled by the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission.

Carey Memorial Theater
Located on Liggett Avenue, across from Waller Hall, Carey Memorial Theater was dedicated in 1950.  The theater commemorates the heroism of SSgt. Alvin P. Carey, a member of the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his brave actions near Plougastel, France, in August 1944.

McVeigh Memorial Gymnasium
Named for Sgt. John McVeigh, 23rd Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division, who was a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor for heroism near Brest, France, in August 1944.

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