Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: February, 2011 (55) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 55

February 1, 2011 at 7:11am

JBLM EFMP has a Facebook

You can remain up-to-date on Exceptional Family Member Programs at their Facebook page here.

February 1, 2011 at 7:35am

CSM Matt Barnes named a BOSS winner

CSM Matt Barnes, senior NCO for JBLM's garrison, was named recently BOSS Senior Military Advisor of the Year.  See the link here.

February 1, 2011 at 10:18am

Army to prosecute JBLM soldier for Afghan murder

This from The News Tribune: The Army announced today that it will prosecute the fifth and final member of a group of Stryker soldiers who allegedly murdered Afghan civilians during patrols last year despite a review that cited weaknesses in the case against the soldier.

The announcement is a setback to Spc. Michael Wagnon, 30, whose family had hoped that the Army would dismiss charges against him after an investigating officer reviewed the case in November and reported that there was little evidence against him.

That report went to Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the senior general at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, who determined the Army has evidence to proceed with a court-martial against Wagnon.

Wagnon will face a court-martial on charges that he murdered an Afghan civilian during a February patrol, shot at unarmed Afghans in March and participated in conspiracies to harm Afghans. He could be sentenced to life in prison if he's convicted.

The Army dismissed two charges from Wagnon's case. One alleged that he kept a piece of skull from an Afghan corpse; the other accused him of trying to obstruct the Army's investigation into his platoon's misconduct by destroying images of Afghan casualties on his computer.

His attorney debunked both of those charges at an Article 32 hearing in November. Wagnon's platoon mates said the skull fragment he kept came from a camel, not a person.

For more on the story, click here.

February 1, 2011 at 1:19pm

Spy planted among Washington anti-war groups?

This from KING-5 TV: JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Did the U.S. military break federal laws by planting an undercover spy among Western Washington anti-war groups? Did local law enforcement accept the volunteer undercover efforts of somebody who just happened to be a civilian employee working in Force Protection at Joint Base Lewis McChord?

Those are two big questions that you may hear asked more often and more loudly in the future as public information requests turn up documents about what that undercover operative reported.
Timothy Smith, Chairman of the Tacoma chapter of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, has obtained documentation from the Tacoma Police Department about the activities of John Towery, the undercover plant who was working under the supervision of a Pierce County Sheriff's detective. Those documents show Towery spent several years infiltrating a variety of local anti-war and anarchist groups, focusing mostly on efforts to prevent U.S. military equipment and convoys from moving through ports in Washington, often Olympia and Aberdeen.

Smith says the fact that he has received the detailed information about the undercover operation shows that personal information about protestors, information about individual relationships and the relationships between various anti-war and anti-government groups has been kept and shared by law enforcement agencies.  

To read more, click here

Filed under: Crime, Defense News, Tacoma,

February 2, 2011 at 6:53am

Last American doughboy turns 110

He served in World War I ... the last known doughboy alive.  The story is here at

February 2, 2011 at 12:27pm

Mullen: Workplace flexibility focuses on families, children

WASHINGTON - Military families, and especially children in those families who have grown up against the backdrop of 10 years of war, are the focus of the military's effort to make workplace flexibility an increased priority, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen spoke during a news conference announcing a new partnership on workplace flexibility between the Society for Human Resource Management and the Families and Work Institute.

"People are our absolutely most important resource, and we've said that [during] the totality of my career," Mullen said. "All of us who have led, whether in peace or in war, we know that. But what's happened over the course of the last 10 years is that we have moved to a much broader and deeper understanding of what that means."

The focus on flexibility began in March, when President Barack Obama spoke at a White House forum about modernizing the federal workplace to meet the needs of today's employees and their families.

For military leaders, Mullen said, a decade of war has put a new focus on families.

"I'm in the best military that has ever existed and in great part because of our families, but we have got to continue to change," he said, noting that the services have put a great deal of effort into spouses' needs and those of the 70 to 80 percent of military households in which both parents work.

Such dual career-path households are "a requirement as seen by families these days," the chairman said.

"But what is emerging is a requirement, from my perspective, [is the need] to understand much more the needs of children" in those families, he added.

Because of the time service members have spent away from home, the chairman said, many children have spent years without their fathers or mothers.

"We've got 15-year-old kids who, from the beginning of the time they started to understand what their parents did," have lived in the shadow of war, Mullen said. "We've got 18- and 19-year olds who were 10 when the war started, and they went off to college this year or last year and don't know their parents that well because Mom or Dad -- mostly Dad -- has been away for at least 50 percent ... of their teenage years."

The services must hold on to such families, Mullen said. To do so, he added, "We're going to have to reach into different places than we've reached in the past."

The services must listen to those who have been at home and consider how to create the kind of flexibility and excellence that have made today's military superb, the chairman said.

"This is an imperative for us," he added. "This is a strategic imperative for our country."

Filed under: Defense News, Familes, Health,

February 3, 2011 at 10:17am

Aviation Guard unit to deploy Saturday

CAMP MURRAY - The Washington National Guard will bid farewell to the 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation in a ceremony on Saturday, February 5 at 2:00 pm in the Army Aviation Support Facility #1 on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The unit will serve in support of Operation New Dawn and will be based in Kuwait. Approximately 180 Army National Guard aviators, support personnel and staff from all over the State of Washington will comprise the deploying force.

"The air warriors from the Raptor Battalion are well known throughout the military aviation community for their professionalism and record of excellence.  They will represent our state and nation well, and accomplish their mission," said Major General Timothy J. Lowenberg, the Adjutant General and commander of the Washington National Guard.

Commonly referred to as "The Raptor Battalion" the 1/168 Aviation is headquartered at JBLM, under the Washington Army National Guard's 66th Theater Aviation Command.  Their mission will focus on the synchronization of aviation assets, senior leader movement and general support missions in the Operation New Dawn Theater.  The Raptor Battalion flies and maintains UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.

The unit recently completed a portion of their mobilization training and certification at the Yakima Training Center.  They will spend a couple of months training at Fort Hood, Texas and then deploy to Kuwait.  They will be mobilized for 12 months, plus any leave time they accrue.  The Raptor Battalion previously served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from May 2007 to May 2008.    

February 3, 2011 at 2:29pm

JBLM hosts Warrior Forge Planning Conference 2011

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - More than 300 Soldiers and civilians from across the nation have gathered this week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the Warrior Forge Planning Conference.

Operation Warrior Forge is the largest annual Army training in the United States. It is required for all Army ROTC Cadets to attend the course before becoming commissioned officers in the U.S. Army.

"Planning never stops for an event this size, but this is a single point of time where all the components can come together to understand the mission and set the conditions for the successful execution of the event in June," said Joel Manning, chief of plans for Warrior Forge.

During the 59 days of Warrior Forge, Joint Base Lewis-McChord will play host to more than 6,700 Cadets and more than 3,500 support personnel.

Cadets will begin arriving in mid-June for their 29-day training cycle, with the final Cadets leaving in early August.

They will be tested and assessed throughout their time on the ground here by vigorous physical and mental challenges that are designed to help them become future Army leaders.

"The biggest obstacle is in themselves and understanding that their fears can prevent them from performing at their best," Sgt. Maj. Gary Fortunato said. "It's our job to help them overcome that." Fortunato is a seasoned-veteran of 12 summers at Warrior Forge, spending the last six as the non-commissioned officer in charge of the water confidence course.

Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, commanding general of U.S. Army Cadet Command, spoke Tuesday to planning conference attendees.

"We owe it to these Cadets to be a first-class organization," he said. "This is the foundation of their training. This is our opportunity to show them what ‘right' looks like."

As the start of Warrior Forge 2011 gets closer, family, friends, Cadets and cadre will be able to follow the progress of the LDAC attendees through social media. The Warrior Forge 2011 Facebook page and the Twitter feed at @warriorforge will launch in early March.

Filed under: Army News, ROTC, Fort Lewis,

February 3, 2011 at 2:39pm

Veterans career day event is Saturday at Quest Field

Hire America's Heroes' Veterans Career Day is coming up Saturday, Feb 5. The event will be held at Qwest Field's West Club Lounge — a 15,000 sq ft, fully carpeted exhibit area with space for 60+ corporations and room for over 1,000 job-seeking veterans in attendance.

The morning program will provide value to corporations interested in hiring veterans. Representatives from military, government and corporate leadership - all committed to veteran employment - will participate.

The Career Day is differentiated from a typical job fair by its emphasis on networking and career preparation in addition to specific employment opportunities. Career Coaches at Resume Review Kiosks around the event area will help Job-Seeking veterans optimize their resumes for the corporate workforce. Many of these Career Coaches are former military service members themselves, now successfully employed in some of the Puget Sound Area's largest corporations.

Three categories of Career Day participants are invited to register for the event at For more information please visit Hire America's Heroes website at

Exhibitors include Alaska Airlines, Allied Waste,, Amtrak, Boeing, Boots to Shoes, Comcast, Fluke Companies, Fred Meyer, IBM Global Services, Institute for Systems Biology, Microsoft, PATH (a catalyst in global health,) Port of Seattle, Puget Sound Energy, REI, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Starbucks Coffee Company, TLG Learning, T-Mobile, Volt Workforce Solutions, Walgreens, WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife, Weyerhaeuser Company, WorkSource King County and Zones.

Filed under: Business, Education,

February 4, 2011 at 7:40am

WHOA! Helmet can stop 7.62mm rounds

Stars and Stripes has an article on new Army technology - a helmet that could save more lives.

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