Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: July, 2013 (65) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 65

July 1, 2013 at 7:32am

Morning Report: Army sergeant still missing, security airmen rule, Homer Car, bubble soccer and more ...

Pfc. Derek Haas (left) and Spc. Nathan Arnold, both with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, provide security during a simulated indirect fire attack on their unit, during NIE. Photo credit: Sgt. Todd Robinson

JUNE SUCKED: The deadliest month for troops in Afghanistan in nine months.

FRANCE IN THE FACE: French President Francois Hollande demands the United States immediately stop its alleged eavesdropping on European Union diplomats.

WAR STORY: Security airmen take action while under attack.

ARMY SGT. BOWE BERGDAHL: He's still missing in Afghanistan after four years.

ARMY: Leaders discuss NIE path ahead at Industry Day.

OVERSEAS HOUSING: Some U.S. lawmakers are urging the Defense Department to restore housing allowance and cancel the debts of nearly 700 overseas workers.

NINE INCH NAILS WARNING: The band's new video has been identified by Epilepsy Action to potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy.

NEW CAR: The Homer.

MEME: Brazilian football star Neymar's diving action.

SPEAKING OF SOCCER: Bubble soccer is the greatest sport you never heard of.

Time to get your summer dance on

Filed under: Morning Report, Defense News,

July 1, 2013 at 7:50am

Photos: Warrior Forge does Field Leader Reaction Course

ROTC Cadets, 1st Squad, 1st Platoon, 4th Regiment negotiate the “Overhand” obstacle on the Field Leader Reaction Course. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

LDAC - or the Leader Development and Assessment Course  - is on at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Better known as Warrior Forge, the course runs through Aug. 5. It is the Army's largest training exercise and has been held annually at JBLM for years.

Friday, Northwest Military reporter J.M. Simpson caught up with the cadets on the Field Leader Reaction Course.

>>> ROTC Cadets, 1st Squad, 1st Platoon, 4th Regiment listen to a briefing before facing another challenge on the Field Leader Reaction Course.

>>> ROTC Cadets pitch in to send a box of ammunition across a gully while on the Field Leader Reaction Course. 

LINK: ROTC triplets share the bond of duty at JBLM

LINK: ROTC Cadets trained on the Capt. Michael Tarlavsky Hand Grenade Assault Course

LINK: Let's get physical

LINK: Warrior Forge kicks off at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

July 1, 2013 at 11:04am

Reviewing "Starting Strong": Episode 5 - Combat Engineer/Sapper, Part 2

"Starting Strong" episode 4 host Staff Sgt. Kristen King. Photo courtesy of


Episode 5 of the Army reality show "Starting Strong" - which allows civilians to have a one-week tryout in a specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) before deciding whether or not to enlist - is still tailing Frank Adams, a potential recruit from Edison, N.J., at Ft. Bragg, N.C. as he discovers what it takes to be a combat engineer, or sapper. Will the 23-year-old landscaper enlist and become Army Strong or heed the warnings of his parents and go back home?

"The combat engineer or sapper is one of the most physically demanding specialties in the U.S. Army," show host Staff Sgt. Kristen King said in a clip from last week's episode. "Last time, our prospective recruit found out that the road to becoming a sapper is long and rough."

After reviewing the ups and downs of Adams' first experience as a sapper, this week's episode shifts right into the next phase of the needed skills for the MOS: water operations.

Last week, Adams struggled and couldn't complete his poncho raft - used to transport materials during a water crossing - on time, and his battle buddies paid the price with a heavy dose of flutter kick exercises.


Filed under: Video, Special Report,

July 2, 2013 at 7:38am

Morning Report: Army vs. the Army National Guard, Humvee hug, Nirvana in Special Forces and more ...

Members of Congress are expressing concerns over a proposal to change the way the U.S. Air Force performs combat search-and-rescue using CV-22 Ospreys. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Julius Clayton/US Army

CONGRESS: Lawmakers criticized Air Force Special Operations Command's proposal to absorb the CSAR mission from Air Combat Command and use a mix of Bell-Boeing CV-22 Ospreys and Sikorsky HH-60 helicopters.

BUDGET BATTLE: Active-duty Army vs. the Army National Guard.

TRANSFORMATION: The U.S. military must quickly come to grips with the inescapable fact that fundamental changes to the entire defense structure are looming.

FORT HOOD SHOOTING CASE: Maj. Nidal Hasan is expected to plead not guilty.

HUMVEES HUG: A U.S. House of Representatives panel has preserved funding to refurbish Humvees despite an Army request to shift some of the money to pay for more urgent needs.

IT'S ON: Boeing has officially begun assembly on its first KC-46 tanker.

DOD: It helps military families avoid money scams.

JASON EVERMAN: He was kicked out of Nirvana and Soundgarden ... and then became a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces.

SOPRANOS IS BACK: HBO is bringing The Sopranos back to its subscribers.

VIDEO: what if Star Wars was written 400 years ago by William Shakespeare?

The untold origin story of the most famous school for witchcraft and wizardry...

Filed under: Defense News, Morning Report,

July 2, 2013 at 12:05pm

Army ammo switch to new 5.56 mm green bullet

The 5.56mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round, shown here, is sometimes called a "green round" due to its copper-only core. Photo Credit: Todd Mozes

If you use the expression "get the lead out" around members of a special technical team here working on the Army's 5.56mm and 7.62mm enhanced performance ammunition programs, don't expect them to move more quickly.

That's because the expression has an entirely different meaning to this select group of scientists and engineers who make up the base's enhanced performance round teams.

The switch to the new 5.56 mm green bullet, the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round, or EPR, in 2010 has eliminated nearly two thousand tons of lead from the waste stream, according to the latest Picatinny Arsenal figures, the American military research and manufacturing facility located in Passaic County, New Jersey.


Filed under: Army News,

July 3, 2013 at 8:11am

Morning Report: Missile intercept, post-DOMA military, 100 greatest albums and more ...

The 33rd Fighter Wing is a joint graduate flying and maintenance training wing that trains Air Force, Marine, Navy and international partner operators and maintainers of the F-35 Lightning II. Photo credit: Maj. Karen Roganov

FRIDAY FUN DAY: The Pentagon plans on July 5 to attempt the first successful interception in more than four years of a surrogate missile incoming toward the U.S.

F-35 PROGRAMS HEATS UP: The largest fleet of F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighters ramped up to 28 aircraft, bringing in new capability for the F-35 Integrated Training Center as the team trains to provide combat operations capability in the years ahead.

DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT: DoD, VA calculate costs of post-DOMA military.

EGYPT: Marines put on standby to respond to Egypt unrest.

THE NUMBERS ARE IN: DoD announced recruiting and retention numbers for Fiscal 2013 through May 2013.

SWITCHING GEARS: Defense contractor Lockheed Martin is creating a new international business arm as it seeks to ramp up its foreign sales amid declining U.S. defense budgets.

CLAP OFF: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has apologized for a "clearly erroneous" statement he made to Congress over the National Security Agency's surveillance activities.

WASHINGTON STATE REPRESENT: Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray wants Republicans to engage in budget negotiations to replace the sequester before the August recess.

HOW MANY DO YOU HAVE?: The 100 greatest albums of all time.

GRAB THE RED CRAYON: Classic horror film coloring book.

ZZZZZZZZZZZ: Read celebrities' emails.

YES!: Hilarious Tumblr imagines celebrities as ears of corn.

Laser Wednesday!

July 3, 2013 at 4:38pm

Warrior Forge 2013: Week One recap

Maj. Gen. Jeff Smith, commanding general, U.S. Army Cadet Command, stopped by the 2013 Leader Development Assessment Course at JBLM June 19-20. Photo courtesy of LDAC PAO

ROTC cadets from universities across the country are spending the summer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord as part of the U.S. Army Cadet Command Leader Development and Assessment Course, also known as Operation Warrior Forge. The leadership-based course is the Army's largest annual intra-continental training exercise with over 6,000 Cadets in attendance each year and serves as a rite of passage for ROTC Cadets prior to becoming commissioned officers in the Army.

This year's operation is broken down into 13 regiments with 29 days of training for each regiment. During each cycle cadets will undergo four different evaluations that are used for eventual placement on the national order of merit list.

Below are snippets from Warrior Forge week one action as seen through the eyes of the LDAC Public Affairs officers. Enjoy.

Cadet Connor Maher

As a hot crowded military bus rumbled southward down Interstate 5 June 13 from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., each of the Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadets sat jammed into the torn pleather seats, rife with looks of concern. One of the passengers, Cadet Connor Maher, a political science student from Boston University, recounted the flurry of emotions engulfing his thought process leading up to the uncomfortable bus ride down I-5 on the way to the 2013 Leader Development and Assessment Course.


July 5, 2013 at 9:09am

Morning Report: Latest from Egypt, soldiers re-enlist in Afghanistan, geek swimsuits and more ...

Senior Airman Jamison Johnson marshals an E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System as the jet returns from a mission at the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia, June 28, 2013. Photo credit: Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton

BREAKING: Egypt interim head of state issues decree dissolving upper house of parliament; appoints new head of intelligence.

EGYPT'S MILITARY: Made by the U.S.A.?

JOINT STARS: Deployed maintainers saving lives.

WHAT DID YOU DO ON JULY 4TH?: Twenty-two soldiers agreed to continue their Army service during an Independence Day re-enlistment ceremony held in Afghanistan.

PERSIAN GULF: Navy is bringing in the smaller ships.

SEARCH THEORY AND BIG DATA: Applying the math that sank U-boats to today's intel problems.

SIZE MATTERS: China and Russia begin the largest-ever naval drills.

DON'T THREATEN TO KILL THE PRESIDENT ON TWITTER: Alabama young man has been sentenced to a year in federal prison.

TODAY'S SOUNDTRACK: Stereogum has posted a fun summer mix.

SWIMSUITS: Geek style.

FINALLY: The 14 greatest action figure playsets of all time.

CULTURAL TRENDS: These need to die now.

VIDEO: Rickles and Seinfeld do "Coffee."

Filed under: Morning Report,

July 5, 2013 at 12:41pm

Brig. Gen. Billy Don Farris retires after three decades of service

Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza (center), commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division, presents Brig. Gen. Billy Don Farris with the Distinguished Service Medal, June 28, during Farris' retirement, as the Farris family looks on. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Li

After three decades of service the nation, Brig. Gen. Billy Don Farris, the 7th Infantry Division deputy commanding general for operations, was honored during a retirement ceremony hosted by Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, 7th Infantry Division commanding general, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"Ask any Army veteran and they'll tell you that the memories of their service are still vivid, no matter how long ago they served. They never forget. It becomes a part of you for the rest of your life. For me, my most memorable assignment has been serving as the brigade commander of 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, during the Surge in Iraq," Farris explained. "Soldiers of Task Force Falcon fought in and around Sadr City and Northeast Baghdad for 15 months."

After returning from one of the toughest areas in Baghdad, as Lanza was sure to point out to those in attendance, Farris was selected for high-level staff positions with the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army and Office of the Secretary of the Army, Washington, D.C., before being selected by Gen. Raymond Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, for his most current position within the 7th Infantry Division.

LINK: Read Staff Sgt. Lindsey's Kibler's full feature on Brig. Gen. Billy Don Farris

LINK: Photos of Brig. Gen. Billy Don Farris's retirement ceremony

July 5, 2013 at 3:18pm

Warrior Forge 2013: ROTC and Aristotle

5th Regiment ROTC Cadets shoot at targets ranging from 50 to 300 meters away. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Aristotle and Maj. Gen. Jeff Smith agree on the basic principles of learning.

"Using the language of knowledge is no proof that they possess it," Aristotle wrote. 

In other words, theory is not understood until a person has the ability to apply it.

Smith, commanding general, US Army Cadet Command, agrees. 

He has made it clear to everyone up and down the teaching line that cadets will learn by doing.

Cadets in 5th Regiment certainly had an opportunity to learn by doing during cultural awareness training.

>>> Loading Up: ROTC Cadets of 5th Regiment prepare to move to a weapons and firing training scenario. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson


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