Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: November, 2010 (15) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 15

November 1, 2010 at 10:38am

191st Infantry Brigade mentor students

This from The News Tribune: Like Pied Pipers in camouflage, the men of the 191st Infantry Brigade draw a crowd of curious kids when they walk onto a school playground.

"It's the uniform," one of them quips, as small knots of students gawk and slowly inch closer to the military men.

The soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord feel at home here at Evergreen Elementary School in Spanaway. They visit weekly during lunchtimes to serve as mentors, friends, sounding boards and - on this sunny Wednesday - added players in a game of recess kickball.

To read the entire story, click here.

Filed under: News To Us,

November 2, 2010 at 2:53pm

Single soldiers to get new place to hang out

This from The News Tribune: The new "Warrior Zone" at Joint Base Lewis-McChord isn't going to be a place to practice firing an M4.

It's designed to become a place where single soldiers can hang out, eat and play games. The $10 million site is under construction by Stellar, a Florida contractor, and it's expected to open next year.

To read about the features and see an artist rendition, click here.

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

November 3, 2010 at 12:07pm

Madigan to educate 400 soldiers, families about TBI

MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Tacoma, Wash. - More than 400 Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers and family members are registered to attend a Traumatic Brain Injury Symposium sponsored by the Madigan Healthcare System November 4 at the McChord Field Club.

The event features an array of guest speakers, as well as interactive educational activities and displays presented by Madigan staff and local community professionals. The daylong symposium is designed to complement the reintegration process of our returning warriors. 

Scheduled speakers include Dr. Frederick Flynn, medical director of Madigan's TBI program; Dr. Bridget C. Cantrell, author of "Down Range: To Iraq and Back"; and Drs. Dennis Kelly and Lars Hungerford, Madigan neuropsychologists with expertise in TBI and memory and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Symposium participants will also be able to share their personal experiences in a visual-art "Tell Your Story" activity, ask questions during an open microphone panel discussion and meet Herschel Walker, who will share his story of combating a behavioral health stigma. 

Filed under: Education, Familes, Health, Veterans,

November 19, 2010 at 11:07am

Canadian military burns ex-colonel's uniform

TORONTO - The Canadian military says it has taken what may be an unprecedented step by burning the uniforms of former colonel Russell Williams who was convicted of murder and sexual assault.

Cmdr. Hubert Genest said Friday that Williams's clothes were burned the previous day at CFB Trenton - Canada's largest military airbase which Williams once commanded.

Williams was sentenced last month to life in prison after pleading guilty to murdering two women and raping two others.

Genest says uniforms are usually retrieved when someone leaves the military. He says Williams' clothing was burned because much of it had his name on it.

Williams was once a rising star in the military who flew prime ministers and served as a pilot to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II during a 2005 visit.

Filed under: Crime, News To Us,

November 22, 2010 at 9:59am

Steroid use on the rise in the Army

This from The Seattle Times: Just weeks before his battalion of some 700 soldiers departed for Afghanistan in summer 2009, Lt. Col. Burton Shields had a disconcerting visit from an Army investigator.

The agent said several soldiers under Shields' command at Joint Base Lewis-McChord had admitted to illegal use of steroids. One of the suspected users was a battalion captain.

Shields, who led the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, was skeptical. He questioned whether Army investigators might have mistaken legal dietary supplements for steroids.

But in the days that followed, the captain, as well as a lieutenant, first sergeant and nine other soldiers, admitted using steroids, according to investigative documents that offer a rare look at illegal use of those drugs in the military.

To read the complete story, click here.

Filed under: Army News, Health, News To Us,

November 22, 2010 at 10:59am

2nd soldier faces Article 32 hearing today

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Joint Base Lewis-McChord is holding a preliminary hearing Monday for another soldier accused of killing civilians in Afghanistan.

The hearing for Spc. Michael S. Wagnon, 29, will determine whether he'll face a court-martial.

Wagnon is one of five soldiers charged with deliberately killing three innocent Afghan civilians during patrols in Kandahar province earlier this year. He was deployed with the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team. Wagnon is charged with conspiracy to commit murder in one of the deaths.

The Article 32 hearing is expected to take one day. A court-martial decision is expected in a few weeks.

November 22, 2010 at 2:24pm

Donor's millions for military causes drying up

This from USA Today: About 10,000 military children have flocked yearly to camps run by the National Military Family Association.

Now, much of their good times could come to an end.

The largest individual donation ever made to charities supporting Iraq and Afghanistan troops, veterans and their families has run out: $275 million given from 2005 through 2009 by Californian David Gelbaum. Dozens of non-profits now face drastic reductions in services ranging from mental health treatment to care packages mailed to far-flung combat outposts.

About 100 requests by convalescing troops for airline tickets to travel home over the upcoming holidays have been turned down in recent weeks because of a funding crisis for Air Compassion for Veterans, says Ed Boyer, president of the organization.

For more on the story, click here.

Filed under: Benefit, Familes, News To Us,

November 23, 2010 at 5:13pm

Another Medal of Honor to be awarded?

This from Marine Corps Times: He's not a hero. Over and over, that's what former Cpl. Dakota Meyer tells people who ask him about the ambush last year in eastern Afghanistan that led to the death of three Marines, a Navy corpsman and a U.S. soldier.

He didn't respond any differently than many other Marines would have, the scout sniper says. He simply did his job.

The Marine Corps doesn't see it that way. In an exclusive, Marine sources told Marine Corps Times that the service has made a formal recommendation that Meyer receive the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for valor. Gen. James Conway pushed the recommendation up to the Navy Department shortly before retiring as commandant Oct. 22, a source said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the Pentagon does not allow officials to discuss military awards before decisions are finalized. Marine Corps Times first broke the story online Nov. 8.

For more on the story, click here.

Filed under: Afghanistan, Honors, News To Us,

November 24, 2010 at 10:54am

'For the Troops IV' CD now available for free download

As a thank you to military members for their service and sacrifice, Grammy Award-nominated musician John Ondrasik and 13 other artists are contributing their talents to "For the Troops IV."

Beginning today, CD is available for free download to active duty Service members, veterans and their families worldwide with a valid military ID at Another 200,000 hard copies of the CD are being sent to military bases, USO Centers, and other locations across the nation and overseas, courtesy of TriWest Healthcare Alliance and Operation Homefront.

"I'm excited to launch CD ‘For the Troops IV' with a new roster of fantastic artists and great songs," said Ondrasik, who performs under the pseudonym Five For Fighting and spearheaded the CD's development. "This year's CD has a bit more pop and a few surprises, but at its core is a thank you to those whose sacrifices secure our freedom and that of our children."

The complete track listing of "For the Troops IV" is:

  • Matchbox 20 - "If You're Gone"
  • Wynonna - "What the World Needs"
  • Mat Kearny - "Nothing Left to Lose"
  • Brandi Carlile - "Before It Breaks"
  • Five For Fighting - "Note to an Unknown Soldier"
  • Our Lady Peace - "Paper Moon"
  • 12 Stones - "We Are One"
  • Ingrid Michaelson - "Mountain and the Sea"
  • Barenaked Ladies - "Four Seconds"
  • Gavin DeGraw - "Free"
  • Rocket Club - "One Beautiful Thing"
  • Finger 11 - "Gather and Give"
  • Ryan Star - "Last Train Home"
  • John David Kahn - "American Heart"

"Like John Ondrasik, we strongly believe that music can be an effective and healthy mental break during times of stress or family separation," said TriWest President and CEO David J. McIntyre, Jr. "We are exceptionally grateful for individuals like John and the other contributing artists who are driven to thank our Service members in memorable ways and who encourage others to do the same. It is an honor for TriWest to partner with John and Operation Homefront to distribute the CDs."
Ondrasik previously released music compilations of CD "For the Troops" in 2007 and 2008, and a comedy version in 2009. To date, more than 1,000,000 tracks featured on the CD have been downloaded at, and another 800,000 CDs were pressed and delivered to Service members and veterans worldwide.

Filed under: Arts, Military Discount, Music,

November 24, 2010 at 2:19pm

Article 32 hearing update

This from The News Tribune: Spc. Michael Wagnon's former roommate testified this morning that a bone the soldier kept during their recent deployment to Afghanistan came from a camel that stepped on a roadside bomb intended for their Stryker platoon.

Wagnon, 30, is accused of murdering an Afghan civilian and keeping a piece of human skull from another shooting.

The charge pertaining to the bone is among the most troubling in an Army investigation that has netted 11 other soldiers from Wagnon's platoon in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Sgt. Eric Skinner's testimony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord contradicted statements three other soldiers gave to Army investigators that indicated the bone came from an Afghan man shot by members of Wagnon's platoon in January.

For more, click here.

Filed under: Afghanistan, Crime, Army News, Strykers,

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