Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: July, 2010 (9) Currently Viewing: 1 - 9 of 9

July 1, 2010 at 4:02pm

Local military family featured in PBS documentary

A public-television documentary, "In Their Boots," which begins airing at 12:30 a.m. Friday on KCTS, will feature the story of one Tacoma woman.

The Seattle Times has more on the series here

July 5, 2010 at 3:33pm

Mrs. Vice President hangs with 4th Stryker Brigade

During a Fourth of July visit to troops in Iraq, Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, speaks with Col. John Norris, commander of 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, and Capt. Gabriela Niess, the brigade non-lethal plan

BAGHDAD - Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, met with members of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division "Raiders" and other deployed service members and civilians at Camp Liberty Sunday as part of a visit to Iraq during the 4th of July weekend.

Biden made a stop at the brigade headquarters and met briefly with Col. John Norris, the brigade commander, before joining Raider Brigade Soldiers for a Fourth of July barbecue celebration.

"I just want to say what an honor it is to spend the 4th of July with my family," she said, explaining that as the mother of a Soldier, she considers the military her extended family.

Biden expressed her appreciation of the deployed Soldiers' hard work and thanked them and their families for their service.

"I think she's a pretty good role model for females," said Sgt. Nicole Golden, an intelligence analyst with 45th Military Intelligence Company, 4th SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div., who had a chance to meet with Biden. "I appreciate that she took the extra time to take a picture with us."

After dining with the troops, Biden was given a walk-through of a few of the capabilities of the Stryker combat vehicle.

Sgt. Jed Glover, the vehicle commander, said he was impressed by just how interested Biden was in the capabilities of the vehicle.

"She clearly took it a little more to heart with her son being in the military," he said. "It's an honor for me to give her a presentation on what do."    

Filed under: Strykers,

July 6, 2010 at 5:59am

C Co., 1-38th create own fireworks with chem lights

Soldiers with Company C "Chaos", 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, "Unleash the Chaos" by throwing chemical lights into the air to take the place of fireworks during an Indepence Day celebration here, July 4. The 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division Soldiers conducted counter-indirect fire patrols all day throughout Abu Ghraib, Iraq and ended with an awards ceremony and barbecue here.

July 6, 2010 at 10:36am

Memorial tomorrow for Strykers

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Family, friends, Service members and the Joint Base community will remember Soldiers who died while in

support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with a ceremony to be conducted

Wednesday, July 7, at 3 p.m. in the JBLM Main Chapel.

Sgt. Israel P. O'Bryan, 24, of Newbern, Tenn., and Cpl. William C.

Yauch, 23, of Batesville, Ark. died June 11 in Jalula, Iraq, of wounds

suffered when insurgents attacked their unit with a vehicle-borne

improvised explosive device.

They were assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd

Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base

Lewis-McChord, Wash.

The brigade deployed to Iraq in August, 2009.

Filed under: Strykers,

July 7, 2010 at 10:04am

Did they really not know?

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2010 - The Transportation Security Administration is reminding military members that explosives are not allowed on commercial flights.

TSA spokesman Lauren Gaches said agency workers occasionally encounter servicemembers who have packed inert grenades or other prohibited items in their luggage, often as a keepsake from the battlefield.

"The problem is, when you're looking at that through an X-ray machine, you can't tell the difference" as to whether it could explode, she said.

Servicemembers traveling with prohibited items is not a common problem, but it can be disruptive, Gaches said.

"From time to time, we see folks traveling with this type of material, and it has to be surrendered," she said, adding that such items are not returned.

If security officers find prohibited items, they may have to close checkpoints or baggage areas temporarily, or call in bomb squads, Gaches said.

Prohibited items include blasting caps, dynamite, fireworks, flares, hand grenades and explosives, either real or replicated. TSA permits other items such as firearms and ammunition in checked luggage - not carry-on baggage - but airlines may be stricter, according to the TSA website. A full list of TSA-prohibited items is available at

"At TSA, we salute the men and women of our armed forces and thank them for their service to our country," Gaches said in a prepared statement. "We always look forward to partnering with our servicemembers during the security screening process as we strive to achieve our mutual mission of protecting our homeland."

July 9, 2010 at 7:04am

JBLM couple have quadruplets

Major David McRae holds two of his four children â€" sons Mason, left, and Peyton â€" and his wife, Capt. Andrea McRae holds daughter Molly, left, and son Nathan while visiting them at Madigan June 30. The McRae quadruplets were born premature on May 12 a

Major David McRae holds two of his four children - sons Mason, left, and Peyton - and his wife, Capt. Andrea McRae holds daughter Molly, left, and son Nathan while visiting them at Madigan June 30. The McRae quadruplets were born premature on May 12 at 36 1/2 weeks' gestation.

Women who attempt to get pregnant using in vitro fertilization have about a 60 percent success rate when implanted with one embryo and 80 percent with two.

After years of unsuccessful attempts to have a child, Capt. Andrea McRae and her husband, Maj. David McRae, chose to give IVF a try. As a result, they completed their family with four children - all at once.

Andrea gave birth to three boys and one girl May 12, making them the first quadruplets delivered at Madigan Army Medical Center in more than 12 years.

The McRaes decided on IVF while David, I Corps fire cell, was home for rest and recuperation last year. Considering the amount of time they had spent trying to start a family, the couple opted to have two embryos emplaced rather than one.

"We had been trying for so long that I said, ‘I'd hate to just do one and it not take, so why not just try two?'" said Andrea, a labor and delivery nurse at MAMC.

With two embryos placed in the uterus for possible implantation, David said they had about a 40 percent chance of having twins and less than 5 percent chance of triplets.

Andrea's six-week ultrasound showed three fetuses. A stunned Andrea anxiously waited for husband's call from Iraq so she could break the news.

During her 21-week ultrasound and just four days after David's redeployment, doctors at MAMC made a surprising discovery. There had been a fourth fetus behind the others.

"From six weeks on, the whole time we thought we were having triplets," Andrea said. "We finally grasped that we were having triplets and accepted it, so when we found out we were having quadruplets, I was a little devastated."

David's initial reaction was that of a more calm tone, still he echoed similar feelings.

"One to three was a big jump for me," David said, "but three to four was quite shocking."

From that point on, Andrea and her doctors decided the best plan of action was for her to stop working until after the quadruplets were born. Andrea was 28 weeks along in her pregnancy when she was admitted to the hospital for bed rest. The decision was made as a precaution to ensure she wasn't burning calories needed for her babies' survival.

Andrea went into labor at 29 and a half weeks and delivered via Caesarean scection in what she described as a smooth process.

"It was nice and controlled," she said. "They got the babies out without any complications."

The only girl of the group, Molly, arrived about one minute earlier than the boys, weighing in at two pounds, 11 ounces. Nathan, Peyton and Mason, followed. All three identical boys, weighed two pounds, five ounces at birth.

Now approaching two months after birth, the babies' weights have nearly doubled. All four are almost ready to leave the neonatal intensive care unit. It's a day the McRaes have spent months preparing for.

In addition to stocking up on baby supplies, David did what any good father would do; he traded in his truck for a minivan.

"It's the only vehicle that could fit four car seats," he laughed.

With all of their relatives living out of state, the McRaes can't rely on them too much. Andrea's sister, however, has moved in to help out.

"It's going to take coming home and figuring out how we're going to do things, but my sister's here to help, and we're going to get a part-time nanny during the day to help her," Andrea said.

Amidst the uncertainty and expectations of what awaits them as new parents, both David and Andrea agreed, without hesitation, that they had no regrets.

"For us, it was the right decision," David said.

"At the beginning, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I have four kids,'" Andrea said, "but I wouldn't trade it for anything."

July 12, 2010 at 1:51pm

8-1 Cav hands over saber to 4-2 Cav

ZABUL, Afghanistan - The Sabers of 4th Squadron of the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment became the first Squadron in the Regiment to assume responsibility of an area of operation in southern Afghanistan. During a transfer of authority ceremony held, June 28, the Sabers replaced 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment as the commanding unit at Forward Operating Base Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. 

The transfer of authority from Task Force Saint to the Saber Squadron was marked with the Cavalry tradition of passing the command saber from the outgoing commander to the incoming.

"With the passing of the command saber," said Lt. Col Andrew Green, the 4th Squadron, 2SCR commander, "comes the responsibility of sharing the pledge to work alongside our Afghan partners for all the people of the region."

"I promise you today," he continued, "that the Saber Squadron will continue the successful practices of Task Force Saint, and endeavor to find new areas in which to increase the capacity and effectiveness of our ANSF and GIRoA partners within this district."

"Saber Soldiers are on the ground and ready to write the next chapter of our operations here." 

The Sabers are deployed to Afghanistan for 12-months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During their deployment, they will continue to provide security and stability for the people of Afghanistan.    

July 30, 2010 at 2:11pm

Service Before Self: Will you be your supervisor’s Lt. Rowan?

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- The year, 1898, the cause, Cuban independence from Spanish rule...the United States was at war with Spain over its treatment of Cuban citizens following a failed revolution three years earlier, as well as the sinking of the battleship Maine in Havana's harbor, which killed 260 U.S. sailors. During this tumultuous period, a great lesson for the Air Force's second core value, Service Before Self, was demonstrated and serves as an outstanding example of followership. 

The plan to liberate Cuba involved an insurgency led by General Calixto Garcia. President McKinley desperately needed to send a message to General Garcia to secure his cooperation and ensure the successful liberation of Cuba. There were no means at the time to correspond quickly, so a messenger was needed to relay the plans to the insurgency. That messenger was Army Lt. Andrew S. Rowan. Rowan was given an oil-skinned pouch containing a letter from President McKinley with no further direction other than to ensure that it made it into the hands of General Garcia as fast as possible. After four days in an open boat, Lt. Rowan finally landed on a desolate beach and traversed through the jungle for three weeks to find General Garcia and relay the plan.

The one knew where General Garcia was and Lt. Rowan volunteered to traverse the Gulf of Mexico, miles of jungle, and into occupied territory to secure support from the insurgency, all without asking a myriad of questions that may come about after receiving such a task. For example; Why me? Why not someone else? Where is General Garcia? Is he expecting me? Will he be there when I arrive? Or the oft answered that's not my job. If not you, then who? When asked to take the letter to Garcia will you be your supervisor's Lt. Rowan?

July 30, 2010 at 4:06pm

60-year-old joins Army

The Orange County (Calif.) Register has the story of a 60-year-old doctor who trained up with ROTC cadets in his attempt to be accepted into the Army.

Read more here.

Filed under: Army News, News To Us,

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