Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: October, 2009 (30) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 30

October 1, 2009 at 8:05am

Morning Report

October 1, 2009 at 9:58am

Sgt. Robert Gordon memorial



Fort Lewis soldiers and family friends left roses, unit coins and bottles of whiskey on Wednesday afternoon to honor the passing of Sgt. Robert Gordon, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. 

He died of a disease contracted while serving in Afghanistan.

October 1, 2009 at 10:35am

Army suspects H1N1-related death


The American Forces Press service reports:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2009 - A soldier stationed at Fort Jackson, S.C., who died Sept. 10, possibly is the first H1N1-related death suffered by the U.S. armed forces, Army officials here said.

Read the full story here.

Filed under: Health, News To Us,

October 1, 2009 at 4:30pm

Med soldiers return home


The Fort Lewis PAO has great news:

Fort Lewis, Wash. - More than 100 Soldiers from the 218th Medical Detachment (Veterinary Services) and 520th Medical Company (Area Support) will return home from deployment on Friday, October 2nd 2009.

The Soldiers will be reunited with family and friends at a redeployment ceremony scheduled for approximately 10 p.m. that evening, at the Soldiers Field House.

The 218th Medical Detachment supported operations in numerous locations in southwest Asia during its 15-month deployment. While deployed, the unit was based at eight locations in four countries, providing veterinary care for military working dogs, conducted health and sanitation inspections of military rations and commercial suppliers of food and water being distributed to Soldiers at locations throughout Southwest Asia and northern Africa. The unit also inspected more than 120,000 humanitarian rations distributed in Afghanistan and at displaced persons camps during heavy fighting in the Swat Valley of Pakistan.

The 520th Medical Company provided medical care to over 70,000 coalition Soldiers and civilians while deployed for 12 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit provided routine medical care (such as immunizations), acute care for minor ailments, while also providing emergency medical support and coordinating the evacuation of critically injured or ill patients while based at Camp Victory, in Baghdad.

Filed under: Ceremony, Fort Lewis, Iraq, Medical,

October 1, 2009 at 4:42pm

Reserve soldier to receive Soldier's Medal


The Fort Lewis PAO has the scoop on hero Staff Sgt. Giertz:

Fort Lewis, Wash. - An Army Reserve Soldier will receive the Army's award for non-combat heroism in a ceremony to be conducted Saturday, October 3 at 9:30 a.m.

Staff Sgt. Richard A. Giertz Jr., 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, U.S. Army Reserve, Fort Lewis, will receive the Soldier's Medal for risking his life to rescue 5-year-old boy from a burning house in February 15, 2009, in Tacoma Wash. The award will be presented by Brig. Gen. Joe Chestnut, Deputy Commanding General of the 416th Theatre Engineering Command, Darien, Ill.

The Soldier's Medal was created in 1926 to honor heroism outside of combat. To be awarded, the act being recognized must have involved personal hazard or danger, the voluntary risk of life, and a degree of heroism "equal to that of the Distinguished Flying Cross."

According to a narrative provided by his unit, Giertz was a passenger in a vehicle travelling through a Parkland-area neighborhood when the vehicle's driver spotted smoke coming from a house. While one of the other passengers called 911, Giertz got out of the car and approached a man who had attempted to enter through the front door, but was being forced back by the flames. Upon learning the man's 5-year-old son was trapped inside the home. Giertz identified which bedroom the child was in from the outside, broke a window, and entered the room in search of the boy.

According to the narrative, Giertz called to the boy, heard "a faint cough," and proceeded into the room in search of the child. He was forced back by smoke several times before locating the boy, who had fallen unconscious. After lifting the child out the broken window, Giertz carried him around the front of the house where emergency personnel were just arriving. Giertz then helped fire crew members render emergency aid to the child, and continued to assist by providing traffic control at the scene- in spite of his own need for medical treatment. He was later treated for severe smoke inhalation and lacerations suffered during the rescue.

October 1, 2009 at 4:48pm

Ft. Lewis soldiers take over west of Baghdad


BAGHDAD – Col. John Norris took the reins from Col. Joseph Martin in a transfer of authority ceremony, Sept. 28, at the Camp Liberty Field House.

Soldiers of the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, arrived in Iraq earlier this month and, following the transfer of authority ceremony, assumed responsibility for operations in the country to include providing security and strengthening the Iraqi government and its security forces.

Read the full story here.

Filed under: Fort Lewis, Iraq, News To Us,

October 2, 2009 at 8:54am

Morning Report

Filed under: Morning Report, News To Us,

October 3, 2009 at 9:32am

Morning Report


Interested In The Bomb Squad?: Check this out.

AfPak War: Corruption, shortage of mentors hinder Afghan forces.

Threats: The Petting Zoo of Death.

What's Up With Watada?: The Army discharged him, that's what.

Happy Birthday, TARP: Up to $200 billion is on us.

Weather Report: Typhoon Parma slams into Philippines.

Filed under: Morning Report, News To Us,

October 4, 2009 at 8:52am

Fort Lewis: NCO receives Soldier's Medal


Staff Sgt. Richard Giertz couldn't believe his eyes.

"It took me a second to recognize that the house was on fire," he said Saturday morning as he recalled a February 2009 fire.

What Giertz did next saved a little boy's life.

Driving through Parkland, he and a passenger noticed a house on fire.  Giertz exited the vehicle and approached a man who had attempted to enter the structure through the front door.

"I asked him if there was anyone else in the house, and he indicated that his son was trapped inside," recalled Giertz, an Army reservist assigned to the 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

A native of Milton, Wash., Giertz has been on active duty since 9/11.  His future plans are to work as a police officer.

After locating the bedroom where the little boy was, Giertz broke a window and entered the smoke-filled room to find him.

"I heard a faint cough," he said.

After several attempts, Giertz found the child, carried him out of the house and handed him over to the arriving emergency personnel.

"I did what I was trained to do," explained Giertz.

"I was at the right place at the right time."

He also pointed out that as he rescued the little boy he could not help but think of his own son, Tyler, as he saved the little boy.

"My son is my world," continued Giertz.

"I am glad that the outcome was a good one for the boy I rescued."

For his actions, Giertz received the Soldier's Medal this past Saturday morning.

Created in 1926 to honor heroism outside of combat, the medal recognizes the personal hazard or danger, the voluntary risk of life, and a degree of heroism equal to that of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

"His actions represent the epitome of the Soldier's Creed," said Brig. Gen. Joe Chestnut, deputy commander, 416th Theater Engineering Command, before Giertz's fellow soldiers, family members and friends.

"What you see here before you is the best of the citizen-soldier."

Chestnut said that Giertz's leadership and courage served him well in saving the boy's life.

"He acted on the Soldier's Creed," continued Chestnut.

"Staff Sgt. Giertz did not accept defeat and he did not give up in saving a life."

After the ceremony and as the brigade's soldiers began to accomplish their weekend training, First Gentleman Mike Gregoire walked over and congratulated Giertz.

"You are a great American, and it is an honor to meet you."

Photo: Staff Sgt. Richard Giertz shakes hands with Brig. Gen. Joe Chestnut moments after receiving the Soldier's Medal for heroism. Photography by J.M. Simpson

October 4, 2009 at 10:56am

8 Soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Army Times

Stay tuned to these sites for up to date news:



UPDATE: Looks as if these losses are the 10th Mountain Divisions.  Our hearts go out to them.

From AP: "My heart goes out to the families of those we have lost and to their fellow soldiers who remained to finish this fight," Colonel Randy George, commander of Task Force Mountain Warrior, said in the statement.

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