Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: December, 2012 (31) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 31

December 1, 2012 at 6:41am

JBLM beats Navy in flag football

Mother Nature likes to play flag football.

Throughout the 13th annual Army/Navy Flag Football game, she rained a bit here and there during a hard fought game.

Forty Sailors showed up to compete against seventeen Soldiers.

"The numbers don't matter," Army coach Lonnie Meredith said moments before the game began.  "What matters is the eleven guys on the field."

The first two quarters of play saw Army put the first two points on the scoreboard while the Navy managed to score a touchdown. 

Rain played tag - raining a bit and then stopping for a while.

The third quarter began with Army throwing more often and using the option play to great success.

Navy countered with a pass play that went 55 yards, giving the sailors a 13 to 9 lead with seventy seconds remaining on the clock.

As the rain began to increase its pace, so too did the Army team.  A pass to a wide-open receiver in the top of the end zone gave the Soldiers a 15 to 13 lead.

Moments later, the Soldiers padded their lead by running for the three extra point.

With 36 seconds remaining in the game, the Army defense held as the Mother Nature blitzed with buckets of rain.

"Welcome to Army weather," the announcer said.  What few fans were left in the stands cheered in appreciation.

"It was a great game," Meredith said.  "And we are very happy to have won."

Navy now leads the inter-service series 7 - 6.

December 2, 2012 at 7:40am

West Point chapel hosts 1st same-sex wedding

Cadet Chapel, the landmark Gothic church that is a center for spiritual life at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, hosted its first same-sex wedding Saturday.

December 3, 2012 at 3:29pm

South Sound growers donate Christmas trees to JBLM troops

A grower from Schilter Family Farm bundles a Christmas tree for delivery to soldiers from 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint-Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Nov. 26, 2012. The half dozen trees were cut down by Wounded Warriors - soldiers from 3rd Brigad

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Wounded warriors from 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, cut down Christmas trees that were donated by Schilter Family Farm in Lacey, Wash. earlier this week. The trees were then prepared and loaded onto a larger truck to be transported back to their respective battalions, where they will be displayed throughout the Christmas season.

"We really appreciate the sacrifice of going to war and being away from their families. It's just a small way we can contribute back and say thank you," Jeff Schilter said.

Schilter runs the Schilter Family Farm. His act of charity means a lot to those that operate his farm.

"We're just happy to be able to provide something," Schilter said. "It's kind of a neat thing for us to interact with military families. A few of our employee's spouses are deployed and ... it makes a big difference to us."

The half dozen trees were cut down by wounded warriors - soldiers from 3rd Brigade who incurred some type of injury while serving in Afghanistan - and then shaken and wrapped in netting by Schilter's employees. Other members of the Arrowhead brigade then transported the trees to Joint Base Lewis-McChord to commemorate the holiday season.

This is not the first time that Schilter Family Farm has contributed, in some way, to the military families at JBLM.

"We do a lot of family readiness group activities where the groups will come to the farm and use this as a meeting place on the weekends," Schilter explained.

Additionally, Schilter offers military discounts on all their Christmas trees and products throughout the year, which helps out military families who might not otherwise be able to afford a real Christmas tree.

Schilter has donated trees to the troops during previous holiday seasons. His Christmas tree farm has over 180 acres of trees in various stages of growth. He estimates that his farm harvest more than 4,000 trees annually.

December 3, 2012 at 3:32pm

Leaders essential to developing, sustaining 21st century force

Courtesy Photo Pictured is Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, 7th Infantry Division commanding general.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - It has been a little less than two months since the Bayonet Division started a new chapter in its history and assumed the role as the higher headquarters for some of the Army's finest trained, ready and disciplined brigades- 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Stryker Brigades, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade and 17th Fires Brigade.

We have proudly welcomed hundreds of soldiers home from Afghanistan over the past few weeks. We have wished hundreds of soldiers well as they boarded planes destined for combat. We have shaken the hands of dozens more as we witnessed firsthand the extraordinary training they are doing at Yakima Training Center. But this is only the beginning as we adjust to our role in mission command of the storied 7th Infantry Division; a division that supports I Corps and its new focus on the Asian-Pacific region. Let us not forget that the rich history of the 7th Infantry Division, written in both ink and blood, was done so primarily in the Pacific during World War II and the Korean War.

Over the past decade, we, as a total fighting force, have gained valuable experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, we must leverage that knowledge and apply it to a broader range of operations.

Our division stands ready to support I Corps in its efforts to enable partner capacity through military-to-military relationships and joint and combined exercises, like United Endeavor and Yama Sakura, which many of our brigades participate in annually. I encourage these continued relationships because every relationship, from officers down to lower enlisted soldiers, contributes to the success of these combined and joint exercises. Exercises, alone, are not a measurement of success, however.

There are three things that I expect from leaders within the division headquarters and in the brigades: develop leaders and winning teams; sustain the readiness of our soldiers and train the force.

Leaders, you must-I repeat, must- teach, coach and mentor subordinate leaders on the importance of engaged leadership through personal interaction in order to reinforce to soldiers that they are a part of something greater than themselves. The Soldiers you lead now will be the ones leading soldiers in your place. What type of leader do you want them to be? Make them that leader.

Secondly, the Army is the strength of our nation. Soldiers are the strength of our Army. Our families are the strength of our soldiers. If any one piece of that equation is weakened, our force is weakened. We must sustain these bonds of trust, and we will. By employing engaged leadership and instilling discipline, we can improve individual and unit readiness and build resiliency in soldiers and family members.

Leaders need to ensure they are allowing their soldiers time to take care of their medical and personal issues, while still maintaining training and combat readiness. There can be a balance and we can find it.

Lastly, the division, "America's Stryker Division," is a ready and resilient team of teams, focused on mission, Soldier and family readiness. By resourcing and certifying training, creating home-station training experts and synchronizing the execution of the ARFORGEN process, we will provide the joint force with lethal, agile brigades and warfighting capabilities, which are prepared to execute decisive action when called upon.

By refining our processes for developing leaders and teams; improving the readiness of our soldiers; and training the force; sustaining it will become second nature. We will remain committed to, and focused on, the creation of sustainment systems and processes that establish oversight for indicators of readiness- like training rotations at YTC and the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.- achieve cost benefit, and enforce regular guidance.

These things will sustain the force and are a pathway to supporting and executing the new defense strategy for the 21st century. Ultimately, our fighting units must be agile, flexible and ready. They must be technologically advanced and able to defeat any adversary, anywhere and at anytime. Our warfighting capabilities will contribute to I Corps' rebalance efforts and are vital to building our portion of the Army of 2020.

I am are honored to lead you into this new chapter of our history, and it's a privilege to work with the new, greatest generation of military leaders and the battle-hardened strength of the nation - our soldiers!

Bayonet 6.

December 5, 2012 at 6:33am

Army readies for classic rivalry against Navy

Army and Navy will square off for the 113th time Saturday at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field.

The game returns to its most-played city after a one-year hiatus in the Washington, D.C. area. Eighty-three of the 112 previous contests have been played in Philadelphia.

This year's game will serve as the deciding contest for the 2012 Commander In Chief's Trophy. For the first time since 2005, both teams enter the game with wins over Air Force. The Black Knights have not hoisted the trophy since 1996.

The Dec. 8 showdown will feature two of the top six rushing offenses in the nation this season. The Black Knights lead the country with 369.82 yards per game on the ground, while the Mids are sixth at 285.45 rushing yards per game.

As a team, Army has run for 4,068 yards. It is the second-highest total in academy history behind last year's record total of 4,158. Army's per-game average is on pace to break the record of 359.8 that has stood since the 1945 season. The Black Knights need 251 yards against Navy to break the rushing average mark.

The Black Knights enter the annual rivalry with two 1,000-yard rushers. It is just the second time in academy history Army has had two players reach the millenium mark. Senior quarterback Trent Steelman leads the team with 1,152 yards, a record for Black Knight quarterbacks, while junior running back Raymond Maples is second with 1,059 yards. The last Army duo to both reach the 1,000-yard mark was Doug Black and Nate Sassaman in 1984.

Steelman and Maples enter the final game of the season as Army's second most productive tandem ever. They have combined for 2,211 yards this season second only behind Mike Mayweather (1,338) and Willie McMillian (900) who gained 2,238 yards in 1990.

Steelman, on track to become the first modern-era Army quarterback to start four times versus Navy, is on a record-setting run for the Black Knights. He has reached the 100-yard rushing mark in each of the past five games, breaking the academy mark for consecutive 100-yard outings. Steelman has seven 100-yard games this season. A 100-yard effort against Navy would tie the Black Knights' single-season record of eight currently held by Mayweather (1990).

Steelman rushed for three touchdowns last time out against Temple to break the Black Knights' career record. The senior signal caller has found paydirt 44 times in his career, breaking the old record of 43 set by 1946 Heisman Trophy winner Glenn Davis.

Maples' 1,000-yard season also puts him in select company. The Philadelphia native is just the third player in Army history to rush for 1,000 yards in at least two straight seasons. Mayweather did it three times (1988-90), while Carlton Jones was the last to accomplish the feat (2004-05).

A win against Navy would snap Army's two-game losing streak since defeating Air Force. It would give Army possession of the Commander In Chief's Trophy for the first time since 1996. It would end the Black Knights' 10-game losing streak against the Mids.

A win Saturday would end Army's 12-game losing streak in games played away from West Point. It would be the Black Knights' first win at Lincoln Financial Field (0-9). And it would be head coach Rich Ellerson's 18th win at West Point (17-31).

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo is in his fifth season on the Mids' sideline. He has posted a 39-25 record during his tenure and guided the Mids to four bowl games, including this season. He owns a 4-0 record against the Black Knights.

While Army enjoyed the upper hand against Navy during the majority of the 1990s, Navy has turned the tide in recent years. The Midshipmen have captured 13 of the last 15 meetings, including the past 10, to grab a 56-49-7 advantage in the classic rivalry.

December 5, 2012 at 1:17pm

23rd Chem officially says goodbye

Soldiers take a break during a mission at Camp Stanley, South Korea, on Nov. 9, 2011. Soldiers from 23rd Chemical Battalion and 110th Chemical Battalion from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., participated in the combined U.S. and Republic of Korea exercise

The 23rd Chemical Battalion, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, will officially case its colors during a ceremony JBLM Dec. 6 scheduled for 10 a.m., at Watkins Field in preparation for the unit's relocation to Camp Stanley at Uijeongbu, South Korea.

The relocation of the 23rd Chem. Bn., nicknamed the "Lions," is scheduled to be completed by March 2013 and is part of planned Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical reconnaissance enhancements to the 2nd Infantry Division and U.S. forces in the Republic of Korea (R.O.K.).

December 5, 2012 at 3:36pm

Beachwood, Lakes are schools of distinction

Five Clover Park School District schools-Beachwood, Oakwood and Southgate Elementary Schools; Hudtloff Middle School and Lakes High School-were named 2012 Schools of Distinction from The Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE), Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD), Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Phi Delta Kappa-Washington Chapter (PDK-WA), Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA),  Washington State ASCD and Washington State School Directors' Association (WSSDA). 

In total, 97 schools across the state are being recognized.
The annual award recognizes schools that have made large improvements in student achievement. 

To earn School of Distinction status, schools must perform at least at the state average performance in fourth, seventh, and 10th-grade reading and math assessments, as measured on state assessments. 

"I am incredibly proud of the staff and students at Beachwood, Oakwood, Southgate, Hudtloff and Lakes," said CPSD Superintendent Debbie LeBeau. "Our staff are using data to identify students who need additional support and then differentiating their instruction to make sure all students achieve. This approach helps improve test scores but, more importantly, strengthens student learning."
This is Hudtloff's third consecutive School of Distinction award and Beachwood's second.
The 2012 School of Distinction award winners include 54 elementary schools, 24 middle/junior high schools, and 19 high schools.  This is the 6th annual School of Distinctionaward recognition in Washington state.
A special reception and awards ceremony to recognize the 2012 Schools of Distinction will be held Thursday, Jan. 24,at Puget Sound ESD in Renton. 
"These schools represent the top 5 percent of improvement of all schools statewide," noted Greg Lobdell, CEE president. "These schools demonstrate that significant improvement is occurring across all of our diverse public schools."

For more information, including award methodology, visit

December 6, 2012 at 7:44am

Soldiers help support fallen police officers

Soldiers with 555th Engineer Brigade, police officers and members of Lakewood, Wash., collect donations at the 3rd Annual Lakewood Fallen Officers Food Drive Nov. 29. The drive honored four officers killed at a coffee shop in Parkland 2009. (Photo by Army

LAKEWOOD, Wash. - "They have supported us through so much. Now it's our turn to return the support," said Spc. Cody Hanks, an Everett, Wash., native, now a combat engineer with 570th Sapper Company, 14th Engineer Battalion.

Hanks and approximately 20 other soldiers with 555th Engineer Brigade volunteered during the 3rd Annual Lakewood Fallen Officers Food Drive at the city's police department Nov. 29.

The food drive kicked off with a performance by the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums.

"Today is a significant day because it's the third anniversary of four fallen Lakewood police officers," said Officer Ryan Gallagher, founder of the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums.

The drive is in honor of four Lakewood officers who were killed at a coffee shop in Parkland in 2009.

"This is a continuation of the healing process for the community," said Helen McGovern, executive director of Emergency Food Network.

Soldiers supported the drive with enthusiasm. They waved at cars driving by and held signs to direct traffic to the donation site.

"The energy of the soldiers is wonderful," McGovern said.

Gina Miller, a dispatcher with Washington State Patrol, donated cases of food to support the event. Her fiance, a Washington State Patrol officer, was killed in the line of duty in February.

"This is a way to give back to the community and it helps me get through the holidays," said Miller.

"It's nice to see the community supporting the police officers," said Staff Sgt. Ricky Ellis, a Flint, Mich., native, now a combat engineer with the sapper company.

"We have a mutual love between Lakewood and the military," McGovern said.

December 6, 2012 at 10:12pm

Governor Gregoire Visits the Washington Military Department for the Final Time

Governor Chris Gregoire visited Camp Murray for a final sendoff this past Wednesday.

This was Governor Gregoire's final official visit to the Washington Military Department as acting Governor.

"I am as dedicated to service to country as you are, Governor Gregoire said.  "I know you get up in the morning and ask what service is called for you.  That's exactly how I live my life."

Governor Gregoire took this opportunity to give one last Thank You and give a Farewell Message as acting Governor.

"One of the most respected military departments in the nation comes from the Great State of Washington," said Governor Gregoire.  "I'm here to say thanks, Thanks for a great eight years of Service. "

The Governor was first introduced by Washington National Guard Adjutant Major General Bret. D. Daugherty.

 "I'm not alone in my belief that Governor Gregoire and First Mike have been there for us, like no other leadership team has been there in the past," said Major General Daugherty.  "They have earned our respect and affection."

Major General Daugherty took this opportunity to thank the Governor for her continued military support throughout the years.

 "Thank you for your leadership during these very challenging times, your constant support and your friendship," said Daugherty.

Governor Gregoire even named one of two proclamations for December 5th, Major General Bret Daugherty Day. 

This visit also gave military officials and Servicemembers the opportunity to ask the Governor any questions that they had.

"Governor Gregoire and First Mike have always been ultimate supporters of the Military Department," said Washington Military Department Human Resources Director, Laura Drybread.  "The fact that she is taking time out of her busy schedule to come to the military Department today to recognize the Agency for its service and contributions is very meaningful."

After the Governor and the General spoke, the Washington National Guard's 133rd Band ended the visit by playing a combination of "Ruffles & Flourishes" and "Stars & Stripes Forever for the Governor."

This song is the official honors to Governor played by the Guard Band for the "Commander in Chief."

Servicemembers even got the opportunity to have their photo taken with the Governor.

Major General Daugherty also awarded the Governor with a Distinguished Service Medal.

Earlier this year the Governor was awarded the Charles Dick Medal of Merit and the Honorable Order of Molly Pitcher Medallion for her tireless support and advocacy in the National Guard community.

"I can't tell you how proud I am of the Washington State National Guard," said Governor Gregoire earlier this year, while receiving these awards. "I know that you know that in life you don't do anything alone. It's all of you that made this possible."

December 6, 2012 at 11:00pm

New transition classes available at all bases

The long-awaited overhaul of the military's Transition Assistance Program is now operational at all 206 military installations worldwide, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said today.

The three-day class that helps prepare service members for the civilian job market is now a requirement for all separating troops, in keeping with a law enacted in 2011, Panetta said.

This replaces the patchwork of voluntary programs that were offered across the force in recent years, which varied substantially from one command to another and were often criticized by troops as essentially unhelpful.


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