Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

February 23, 2017 at 3:35pm

Military Department donates to Tillicum food bank

Lt. Col. Angela Gentry helps deliver food to the Tillicum/American Lake Gardens Community Service Center. Courtesy photo

A generous helping of food, including much needed canned fruit and peanut butter, was donated this week by the Washington Military Department to the food bank at the Tillicum/American Lake Gardens Community Service Center.

The Military Department hosted a month-long food drive that began after the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. The Military Department hosts the annual food drive and over the years it has provided many struggling families with a source of food that makes a world of difference to them.

More than 1,000 pounds of food, plus cash donations to buy the equivalent of 800 more pounds of food, were donated to the food bank at the Tillicum/American Lake Gardens Community Service Center.

Lt. Col. Angela Gentry and Maj. Jeff Reese, both of 341st Military Intelligence, joined members of the public affairs team to deliver the food on Feb. 15.

Claudia Fisher, a program specialist at the food bank, said that last month about 360 families were helped with food.

"This is around the time when the shelves are getting bare and, as you saw, there were some bare shelves in there," Fisher said. "Thank you so much to the Guard and the Military Department for helping us."

About 96 percent of the children in the community get free or reduced lunches, and it's one of the lowest income single parent family communities in Pierce County, according to officials at Tillicum/American Lake Gardens Community Center. Last year, the food bank provided 9,175 food baskets to those who needed it.

The food bank is located at the Tillicum/American Lake Gardens Community Center, 14916 Washington Ave. SW, Lakewood. The center is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for anyone who wants to drop off food donations.

February 23, 2017 at 2:26pm

Lancer Performance Center stands up for readiness

Maj. Mike Moore, brigade surgeon, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, explains capabilities of the Lancer Performance Center to Col. Jerry Turner and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Graves, during an opening ceremony at JBLM. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. John Briggs

The deployability status of today's soldiers has leaders of all echelons asking what can be done to assist our injured reserves so they are fit to fight.

The Lancer Brigade opened the Lancer Performance Center during a ceremony here, Feb. 14, as part of the process of incorporating the 7th Infantry Division's Bayonet Warrior Athlete Program.

After a 14-month process, the Lancer medical staff teamed with trained BWAP functional fitness coaches can now enhance the brigade's ability to provide physical therapy sessions, classes and qualifications throughout the ranks.

"I couldn't be more enthusiastic about what we have accomplished here," said Col. Jerry Turner, commander, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. "Exercise science has improved so much over the years, we need to solve old problems in new ways."

As more soldiers take advantage of the opportunity to improve their exercise technique, leaders expect a positive impact on unit deployable readiness.

"First thing is, it needs to be focused on the Brigade Combat Team," said Maj. Michael Moore, brigade surgeon, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. "Each BCT would establish this to provide that bridge between acute care and the acute injury into an environment where they are able to progress back into normal function as a soldier."

"This fills a gap between the end of normal rehabilitation processes, and the soldier's ability to fully perform their MOS duties," said Moore.

The motivation behind BWAP is to improve physical training and readiness, while decreasing injuries through better education. The Lancer Performance Center incorporates the same philosophy of preventative training, while maintaining focus on those already impacted by injuries.

"We need to get out in front of the injury before it happens," explained Cpt. Shane McDonald, a physical therapist assigned to Lancer Brigade. "Nearly all of the exercise-related injuries we have are not accidental, but due to improper training, whether we know it's improper or not."

"The idea of having the physical therapists in the brigade, master fitness trainers and BWAP trained functional fitness coaches, is to help get that word out," said McDonald.

For programs to be effective, soldiers and leaders need to make use of what's available to them.

Moore concludes, "The time is now for the Lancers to take advantage of this opportunity. The benefits of the facility and Master Fitness Trainers down to the company level impacts more than just mission requirements, it improves the quality and performance of our soldiers; which in turn increases morale and readiness."

February 23, 2017 at 1:21pm

Child care backlog

The Army is dealing with a child care backlog of over 5,500 children, which senior leaders worry could affect the readiness of military parents. Photo credit: U.S. Army

Access to quality child care is an essential benefit for servicemembers with children, especially for those with spouses who work full-time or are seeking employment. But with more than 5,500 children waiting to get into Army child care programs, senior leaders are worried the backlog could affect the readiness of military parents.

"This is a huge concern for us," Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey told lawmakers Tuesday. Child care is "critical to our success and something we have to continue to invest in for the future."

Speaking at a family forum at the annual Association of the United States Army conference in October, Dailey noted that child care services account for about half of the Army's $1.1 billion budget for family programs.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Forces Committee's personnel subcommittee on Capitol Hill, Dailey said the backlog of thousands of children is the result of several issues. The Army is in need of more child care facilities to accommodate military children, he said. Another reason he cited was the lengthy hiring process required for child care providers.

"We're working this very hard," he said. "I think we've done an okay job at reducing the amount of backlog, but it's compounded by the simple problem that (job applicants) often don't want to wait for those background checks, and they need to seek employment."

The average wait time to place children into child care centers is four months, with at least five installations with wait times of five months or longer. U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii has the longest at 16 months, according to Army officials.

A non-appropriated fund working group has been developing strategies to decrease wait time for child care. One of the strategies is the launch of MilitaryChildCare.com, a Defense Department-run website to assist military families in finding child care. After initially going online in January 2015, the website has been rolled out in phases. Today, the website provides a map showing visitors the areas it currently covers.

The Army also offsets costs for soldiers who pay for off-base child care services when they cannot get their children into on-base facilities, Dailey said.

The DoD has even created the Extended Child Care Initiative allowing base commanders to extend the operating hours of child care centers to 14 hours a day based on needs and requirements, said Stephanie Barna, the acting assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs.

The military, she noted in her testimony, is a young force with over 40 percent of military members with children. Because of this, the DoD has the nation's largest employer-sponsored child care program that supports about 180,000 children each day at over 230 locations around the world.

"A quality child care system helps families balance the competing demands of work and family life and contributes to the efficiency, readiness and retention of the total force," Barna said in her written testimony.

Also in the hearing, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) asked Dailey and the other services' top enlisted leaders what was being done to help more spouses get jobs.

The Armed Services Committee's chairman said that 25 percent of military spouses are unemployed, while many of those who do have jobs are underemployed.

"Obviously, the movement of our military personnel makes it extremely difficult for spouses to hold employment in jobs," McCain said.

Dailey told the committee that there has been success with the DoD's Military Spouse Employment Partnership, which connects spouses to military-friendly employers. Since 2011, the program has grown to about 340 employers who have hired more than 100,000 spouses, according to his testimony.

"We need to continue to strengthen that in every way, shape or form we can," he said, adding that there's room for improvement on getting the word out on job opportunities and programs for spouses.

He also suggested the military can take advantage of its internal resources for military members leaving the service and offer them to spouses.

"Over the last several years, we've done great work in regards to finding educational and training opportunities that enhance job opportunities for our young soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines as they exit the service," he said. "With the appropriate resourcing to these things, we can easily extend these services to our families as well."

February 23, 2017 at 1:05pm

Bridal fair this weekend on base

A fashion show at the South Sound Wedding Show at Saint Martin’s University’s Marcus Pavilion Feb. 4 offers a glimpse into the bridal and bridesmaid gowns available through wedding vendors. (JBLM PAO photo)

If you’re planning a wedding in the coming months, attending a local bridal fair or wedding show might be the best one-stop shopping opportunity to firm up those last minute details. The events also are helpful for those just getting started with wedding plans.

There are several upcoming events, including a Bridal Fair at American Lake Conference Center, 8085 NCO Beach Road, Lewis North, Feb. 25 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Cost is free for those who’ve already booked their wedding event at the center or $10 for couples who have not booked.

Most wedding shows include everything from catering, cake tasting and disc jockeys to favors, floral designs and fashion shows. If you’re just getting started in the planning, don’t get too worried about missing deadlines or making it all perfect.

“I always tell people don’t stress out. At the end of the day, you’ll get married even if one or two details didn’t work out,” said Nathan Allan, owner and innkeeper at Swantown Inn and Spa, a boutique wedding venue in Olympia.

Swantown was one of several area venues featured at the South Sound Wedding Show at Saint Martin’s University’s Marcus Pavilion Feb. 4. It was also one of the many vendors who offered door prizes and gift certificates at the event — another reason to visit the shows.

The SMU event was a big hit for several brides-to-be, including 28-year-old, Maggie Carmack of Lacey, who is planning her July 22 nuptials when she will marry fiance, Joel McMillan, a Yelm High School math teacher. Carmack attended the South Sound Wedding Show with her mom, Pat Carmack.

The bride-to-be said she has her event mostly planned, but is looking for a caterer and photographer to make her wedding plans complete. Shortly after she and her mom entered the doors at SMU, she heard her name announced on the loud speaker. She’d won an overnight stay at Swantown Inn.

“I’m so excited,” she said, after Allan told her there was still enough time to book her free stay at the bed and breakfast to coordinate with her summer wedding plans.

Twenty-four-year-old Alicia Tullo, of Olympia, also hoped to get some ideas at the recent wedding show. Tullo and her fiance were engaged June 16 and plan for a wedding July 18, 2018.

“We’ve been together for eight years, so I’m not concerned about getting married, but I am worried we’re in the dark when it comes to planning a wedding,” she said.

Tullo’s mom, Annmarie Tullo, attended the event with her daughter. The mom has been married for 30 years and has been through the wedding planning process before for herself; however, that was a much smaller event — planned for 60 people in New York. Alicia is planning for about three times that many in attendance, she said.

Several of the vendors at the South Sound Wedding Show said they hoped to also have displays at the American Lake event.

To get the best results from a bridal fair or wedding show, here are some tips for brides-to-be compiled by Paula Lowe, publisher of Wedding and Event Magazine, which coordinates the South Sound Wedding Show:

• Write a list of wedding professionals or services that you are looking for so, when you arrive at the show, you will spend more time visiting the professionals you need.

• Consider creating an email for your wedding, so you can track your wedding emails easier.

• Bring premade labels with your name, email, phone number and wedding date so you can quickly register for prizes and other opportunities. Plus labels are more legible than handwriting.

• If you have Pinterest boards, a wedding notebook or fabric color swatches, bring those to the show to share with wedding professionals that you might consider hiring.

• Wedding show vendors often offer special pricing for wedding show participants, so bring your checkbook, debit and credit cards so you can make deposits with selected wedding professionals if you are ready to book with them.

February 23, 2017 at 1:04pm

Lifeguard on base - attend fair this weekend

File photo

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord Aquatics Lifeguard Fair Saturday will provide those interested with information about the summer workforce needed at base pools and beaches.

“We’re looking to fill more than 20 positions for the summer,” said Bruce Antonowicz, JBLM Aquatics coordinator.

The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the indoor pool inside Soldiers Field House on Lewis Main. Employment opportunities for the summer will include not only lifeguard duty on JBLM beaches, but also at pools — both indoor and outdoor.

The expected pay for JBLM lifeguards ranges from $11.21 to $15 an hour, based on experience. Antonowicz said anyone who can swim and is interested in becoming a lifeguard should attend.

“We can get them certified in lifeguard training, but they have to be 15 (years of age),” Antonowicz said.

The American Red Cross lifeguard course is usually offered over a weekend, starting with a Friday night and going all day Saturday. Antonowicz said the next course is scheduled to take place in March.

“If we get a huge turnout (at the fair), we can add another class that is sooner,” Antonowicz said.

In addition to the lifeguard course, Antonowicz said Aquatics plans to offer a pretest at the lifeguard fair. Interested participants should bring their swimwear.

The test includes a 300-meter swim where only the crawl stroke and breaststroke are allowed. After that, swimmers have to do a two-minute tread in a pool without using their hands.

Finally, participants will have to dive into a pool to retrieve a 10-pound weight that is at the bottom and then climb out of the pool without the use of a ladder — all within a time

limit of one minute and 40 seconds.

“The biggest thing is the faster you can respond, the faster you can get someone the aid they need,” Antonowicz said. “The survival chances are a lot better.”

Applications will be accepted in mid-March. Antonowicz said he hopes they can start bringing lifeguards into their staff around June or July, giving them time to go through the process that includes a background check. Human Resources staff will also be at the lifeguard fair to help answer questions about the application process.

Being a lifeguard on JBLM is open to people with current access to JBLM and anyone who can swim and pass the lifeguard certification course.

For more information about becoming a lifeguard at JBLM this summer, visit jblmmwr.com/aquatics.

February 17, 2017 at 11:55am

301st Brigade holds its Best Warrior competition

Spc. Heath B. Edin, 476th Chemical Battalion, moves between distances at the known distance range portion of the 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Best Warrior competition, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Feb. 7. Photo credit: Spc. Sean Harding

Last week, six soldiers from around the country convened at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to compete in the ninth annual 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Best Warrior competition.

Best Warrior is an annual competition held at various levels throughout the Army to determine who will compete in the Department of the Army Best Warrior competition at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia.

Consisting of many different events, Best Warrior is designed to test each soldier's physical and mental fitness, proficiency in warrior tasks, resiliency, and their determination to be the best. Some of the tests that competitors were put through included an M4 qualification range, land navigation and urban orienteering, multiple essays, a ruck march, and an interview board, to name just a few of the events.

Assured Victory!
After three consecutive days of grueling competition, the 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade announced its winners: Spc. Christopher R. Williams, a fire support specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company won the junior enlisted category, while Sgt. Roberto J. Cruz, a horizontal contraction engineer with 387th Engineer Company, won the noncommissioned officer (NCO) category.

"It is definitely an honor to win the brigade level competition, and represent the 301st at the combined Theater Engineer Command competition," said Cruz after the competition.

"It is a big accomplishment in my life," said Williams. "Knowing that I could come out and win something so big made me feel really good about myself, and my unit."

Pfc. Raymond A. Gomez, a heavy equipment operator, also from the 387th, was the runner up for the junior enlisted category. He also won the coveted 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade's Top Marksman award.

Sgt. Jonathan D. Lancaster, a combat engineer from Caldwell, Idaho, representing the 321st Engineer Battalion, was the runner-up for the NCO category.

"Best Warrior competitions are typically the most challenging competitions that soldiers go through," said Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas C. Perry, command sergeant major of the 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. "The competitions can be both mentally and physically tough, and done with a lot of intensity."

"It's a very important program to energize our formations and tell our story, and the story of the Army Reserve," he added.

Can't Do It Alone
Thirty-two cadre members were also temporarily called to service to support the event. From running the ranges, moving competitors around to different events, providing warm soup and hot coffee for the competitors and cadre in the field, and medical staff to keep the competition and competitors safe, they played a vital role - there would be no Best Warrior without them.

Master Sgt. William R. Powers, the noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of competitors, was a welcomed presence among the competitors. From picking the competitors up from the airport, to making sure they were brought to each event on time, he was a crucial component of Best Warrior.

"He was really taking care of us, and he was very professional," said Cruz. "We would stay way ahead of schedule because of him. Master Sgt. Powers should definitely have the same role in future competitions because I can't think of anyone else more appropriate for that task."

"We called him the ‘king sponsor,'" said Williams. "He was really good to have around."

A Tradition of Excellence
Success at Best Warrior competitions isn't something new for the 387th. Last year, Sgt. Orozco, a specialist at the time, won the title Army Reserve Best Warrior, and competed at the Department of the Army competition at Ft. A.P. Hill, Virginia, in September.

"I did a lot of training for Best Warrior with Sgt. Orozco. We would go on ruck marches at high altitude. Orozco was a great influence and motivator," said Cruz.

"We are the 387th," he added. "When we go to Best Warrior, we own it."

Assured Passage!
"The companies in the 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade definitely need to start preparing their soldiers now for next year's competition, which will be in April," said Perry. "It's going to be again a very mentally and physically taxing competition, but it's going to be nonstop fun."

February 17, 2017 at 10:31am

Pageantry, competition, feast commence FTX for 1-23

Soldiers of the Royal Thai Army, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry, overlook the Thai versus U.S. forces soccer game at Camp Suratham Phithak, Korat, Feb.12, as part of the Opening Ceremony for Exercise Cobra Gold 2017. Photo credit: Spc. Brianne Kim

The opening ceremony began with a performance by the Royal Thai Army 3rd Infantry Division drill and ceremony team followed by opening remarks from commanders of the Thai and U.S. forces.

"The opening ceremony was pretty cool, it's not the type of pageantry we get to do at home, so it was neat for our guys to get to see that," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Teddy Kleisner, 1-23 Infantry battalion commander. "We got to get a good message from their commanding general, but now we get to get a little informal which I think is more fun and our guys appreciate."

The fun started after the close of the official ceremony when Thai and U.S. forces joined together for a friendly, yet competitive game of soccer before having dinner together closing the day's events.

"We're just out here building cohesive teamwork between the Thais and U.S. Army, so we put together a battalion team and asked them if they wanted to play (soccer)," said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Damion Andrews, 1-23 Infantry, Bravo Company. "We've been practicing for about a month and a half because I knew the Thai Army would have some good players," Andrews said laughingly.

The day's events concluded with a dinner for the leadership of each unit.

After this we're going to break bread, have an informal social and get to know each other, Kleisner explained.

Starting Monday, both nations will be working closely together during training exercises for the next two weeks, building stronger ties and greater interoperability between the two nations.

"I'm just excited to be here and ready to get some good training," Andrews beamed.

"Starting tomorrow we start getting serious, tomorrow is when we start all of the training we're going to be doing with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry from the Royal Thai Army," Kleisner explained. "This is the first time our battalion has gotten to do this exercise but it's the 36th year the U.S Army has done it, which tells you a lot about the alliance we have with the Royal Thai Army."

February 17, 2017 at 10:26am

First SPP exchange builds partnership

A group performs a traditional Thai drumming demonstration as part of the MDMP SME Exhange at the Surasi Military Base, Kanchanaburi, Kingdom of Thailand, Jan. 20. Photo credit: Washington National Guard

Loud bangs come from a small stage at the front of the room. A group performs a traditional Thai drumming demonstration while others display sword fighting techniques for the group of foreign visitors in the audience. Lt. Col. Paul Sellars, commander, 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment looks on in amazement while enjoying the festivities before the first subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) with the Royal Thai Army of 2017.

"This wasn't my first trip to Thailand for the Army, but first time working directly with the Royal Thai Army," said Sellars. "I have worked with more than 30 different foreign militaries. The Thais are extremely professional and dedicated to the work that we were accomplishing."

Sellars and four fellow officers from the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) took part in a Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) SMEE with the 9th Division, Royal Thai Army (RTA) from Jan. 20-28 at the Surasi Military Base, Kanchanaburi, Kingdom of Thailand.

Although focused on MDMP, the visit was part of the strategic goal of building a partnership between the Royal Thai Army and the Washington National Guard and exchanging knowledge, techniques and experience.

For 15 years the Washington National Guard and the Kingdom of Thailand have had a formal partnership through the National Guard's State Partnership Program (SPP).

SPP is a Department of Defense joint security cooperation program in support of the Combatant Commanders' security cooperation objectives and Ambassadors' Integrated Country Strategies. It matches a state's National Guard with a partner country to promote enduring, mutually beneficial security relationships with allies and friendly nations.

"It gives our soldiers a different perspective on operations and gives them an opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences with each other that makes our young leaders more well-rounded," said Sellars. "The RTA will be conducting a disaster relief exercise later this year, so they shared a lot about their process for working disaster relief and demonstrated how they are organized to conduct relief operations."

Through the program, partner SMEEs can range from disaster preparedness and crisis management, medical and engineering activities to leadership development and military modernization.

The MDMP SMEE provided the 81st SBCT and RTA representatives a platform to successfully collaborate and conduct mission analysis while exchanging techniques and practices from both nations.

"We covered the Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) with a focus on a disaster relief scenario," said Sellars.

More importantly, it allowed both units a chance to gain a greater understanding of the other's culture and improve relationships between the nations for future exchanges.

"I am looking forward to helping build a strong partnership between the 81st SBCT and the 9th Division in the future," said Sellars.

February 17, 2017 at 10:23am

Prepared for danger

Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, prepare to enter a mask confidence chamber as preparation for a response to a CBRN attack, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jan. 21. Photo credit: Spc. Sean Harding

Last month, Army Reserve soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, went through a series of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) training exercises at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"It's going to be a hot area," said Master Sgt. Glenn T. Mitchell, a CBRN non-commissioned officer with the 301st. "Some of our soldiers could be going near a contaminated area, and you're going to want to know how to keep yourself safe."

"A CBRN weapon could potentially produce mass casualties," said Maj. Ryan H. Rhodes, company commander of HHC. "So knowing how to react to an attack can protect and save lives."

"Minutes can count, and seconds can count," added Rhodes. "Soldiers that are comfortable working in that kind of environment and conditions can be more effective during their mission."

A secondary reason for the training held was to prepare soldiers for the Command and Control Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear response (C2CRE) mission that HHC is assigned to. C2CRE units can be expected to rapidly deploy to respond to domestic (homeland) CBRN incidents, so it is vital that they are familiar with their equipment.

Mask Confidence Chamber

One of the highlights of the training was the mask confidence chamber, more commonly known as the "gas chamber," which many soldiers remembered all too well from basic training.

"I enjoyed it," said Spc. Valerie L. Moore, a microwave systems operator-maintainer, of the training. "They weren't messing around, they were getting things done."

"If there is an incident, and there's muscle memory or a feeling that something's not right with your body, you need to take action with protecting yourself." Said Spc. Sambathany R. Toun, from Tacoma.

"I would do it again," he added.

Warrior Tasks

In addition to the gas chamber, HHC soldiers were certified on other warrior training tasks that protect lives during a CBRN incident, including decontamination, use of the Joint Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology (JSLIST), and reacting (initial contact) to CBRN agents.

New and Improved!

Soldiers from HHC had a lot of positive feedback about the new M50 Joint Service General Purpose Mask, which many of the soldiers had never used before. The M40, which is older model that most soldiers were familiar with, is the field mask used by the Army since the 1980s. The M50, which was first fielded to the Army during the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom, offered numerous significant improvements in comfort, protection, and utility.

"I consider it a vast improvement," said Mitchell.

"During the initial fitting and testing, no one had a failed seal," he added. "Everyone made it through the fit test the first time. The new filters also give more air, so soldiers are able to work harder, for longer periods of time."

"There's a better field of vision, said Cpt. William J. Sayin, an engineer officer with the 301st from Tacoma. "It's easier to clear."

"I like the new mask," said Moore. "They're a lot easier to use, they're more streamlined, and they fit better; a lot better."

"They look really cool, and they are a lot easier to use than the last ones," concluded Toun.

February 16, 2017 at 2:30pm

Local Navy beat JBLM team in soccer

Players battle for control of a loose during the Army vs. Navy indoor soccer match at the ShoWare Center in Kent Sunday. Navy defeated Army 8-0. (JBLM PAO Photo)

Members of the indoor soccer team from the 308th Brigade Support Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Brigade took on a Navy Region Northwest team — consisting of players from three Navy stations in the area — in an Army vs. Navy indoor soccer match at the ShoWare Center in Kent Sunday and lost 8-0.

Thanks to a combination of service members from across Joint Base Lewis-McChord, they formed an indoor soccer team representing the 308th BSB, which hadn’t played a game since Nov. 21. The near three-month gap between games may have been a factor in the JBLM team losing.

“They were definitely well organized,” said Crispin Afriyie-Addo, captain and player coach for the Army team. “They were playing like professionals.”

The last time players from the 308th BSB played was the JBLM Intramural Indoor Soccer Championship game, a 7-4 win over the 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. They were invited to play in the second Army vs. Navy exhibition game before the Tacoma Stars’ Military Appreciation Night.

Last year, Navy won the game 19-1. After allowing Navy’s Devin Mathews to score an unassisted goal within the first two minutes, the Army team had scoring opportunities through the first half.

On multiple occasions through the game, Jakob Bierer had breakaway opportunities. But deep passes from the midfield area often fell just out of reach for Bierer and other forwards to take advantage.

“We were getting good passes, but they had a really good goalkeeper and a better team,” Afriyie-Addo said.

Mathews scored another goal in the 13th minute, which was quickly followed by goals from Richard Rodriquez and Dominic Tedesro. The second half saw the Navy get on another scoring run with Mathews scoring goals in the 23rd and 24th minutes to finish the game with four goals.

Hepworth added two more goals in the 27th and 32nd minutes to round out the 8-0 final score. Army goalkeeper Robert Aaron certainly had his work cut out for him facing 15 shots on goal, in addition to several more hitting the glass that surrounded the net.

Unlike the gymnasiums on JBLM where the intramural indoor soccer league held games, the 308th BSB teammates found themselves playing in a soccer field with a setting similar to a hockey rink. The walls and glass were up, but the ice was replaced with artificial turf.

“(The ball) would come off the wall and there would be three (Navy) guys in front of me,” Aaron said. “They had more elements to play with.”

Despite the struggles, players said it was still a fun game and a nice break from the work week for members of the 308th BSB.

“We work so much — it’s hard to find the time to do things like this,” Bierer said.

The Army vs. Navy game was the first part of an overall military theme for the Tacoma Stars’ regular season game against the St. Louis Ambush of the Major Arena Soccer League. The Tacoma Stars won their game 9-5.

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