Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

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

October 1, 2013 at 7:07am

Obama thanks DoD workforce, encourages budget resolution

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2013 - President Barack Obama thanked the Defense Department workforce today in a video message and expressed his disappointment in Congress' failure to approve a budget, resulting in a government shutdown.

"As president, and as your commander-in-chief, I've worked to make sure you have the strategy, the resources and the support you need to complete the missions our nation asks of you," he said.

"And every time you've met your responsibilities and performed with extraordinary professionalism, skill and courage," Obama said.

Unfortunately, the president said, Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility and failed to pass a budget.

"As a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again," Obama said.

Read Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.'s full story on what this all means on the U.S. Department of Defence website.

LINK: Information for soldiers, civilians impacted by government shutdown

Filed under: Policy/Politics, Defense News,

October 1, 2013 at 7:16am

U.S. military commissaries, exchanges close during government shutdown

Despite a government shutdown, military commissaries overseas and all Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities will continue operation. Stateside, however, military commissaries will close.

Despite a government shutdown, military commissaries overseas and all Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities will continue operation.

Military commissaries in the United States, however, will not be open during the government shutdown, said the director of the Defense Commissary Agency.

During the government shutdown, 38 commissaries in Europe, one store in Puerto Rico, and 29 stores in the Pacific, including Guam, will remain open. Keeping the facilities open is a safety and security measure to serve U.S. troops and their families stationed overseas.

Read Army News Service's full report on how the exchanges are affected during the government shutdown on the U.S. Army website.

LINK: Information for soldiers, civilians impacted by government shutdown

Filed under: Exchanges, Policy/Politics,

October 3, 2013 at 1:51pm

Vote Operation Ward 57 into a new mobility van

Operation Ward 57, which is based primarily in the Tacoma/Seattle area and serves wounded, ill and injured warriors across the country, is one of 250 nationwide finalists in Toyota's 100 Cars for Good program. Through the car company's generosity, 100 vehicles will be presented to 100 nonprofit organizations based on votes received from the public.

Voting commenced Oct. 1 and five organizations will be highlighted for voting each day through November on Toyota's Facebook page. Friday, Oct. 4 supporters can vote for Operation Ward 57 at; individuals are permitted to vote twice per day, but only once per organization.

If Operation Ward 57 wins, they will be awarded a brand new Toyota Sienna mobility van, which is wheelchair accessible. The vehicle would be used to transport the wounded warriors and their families off of Joint Base Lewis-McChord to morale boosting events, appointments and even assist them in moving into temporary housing.

October 4, 2013 at 12:15pm

C Troop, 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment give back ... again

Members of C Troop, 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment raised about $400 to buy a bicycle for a member of the Young Business Men group, a non-profit that works with disadvantaged young men. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

It's amazing what a little bit of community connection can do.

Almost two months ago, C Troop, 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment hosted the Young Business Men (YBM) group, a non-profit organization that works with high-risk male youths in an effort to avoid the negative influences of inner-city life.

"I want to recondition the mindset of some of these young men," Athrettis Brown, the organization's founder, said at the time as 17 young men participated alongside the unit's soldiers in physical training.

"It's great to come to this base and see what success looks like.  I like the ‘togetherness' I feel out here."

Togetherness is a two-way street.

Driving home one recent evening, 2Lt. Alex Harris noticed and recognized a young man walking down the side of the road.


October 5, 2013 at 1:41pm

Hagel announces recall of most DoD civilians

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2013 - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced today he is recalling most of the Defense Department civilians who were placed on furlough as a result of the government shutdown which began Oct. 1.

"Today, I am announcing that most DOD civilians placed on emergency furlough during the government shutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week," he said.

"Immediately after President [Barack] Obama signed the Pay Our Military Act into law, I directed DOD's acting general counsel to determine whether we could reduce the number of civilian personnel furloughed due to the shutdown," Hagel said.

The Defense Department, he said, consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians.

"However, DOD and DOJ attorneys concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members," Hagel said.

"Consequently, I am now directing the military departments and other DOD components to move expeditiously to identify all employees whose activities fall under these categories," he said.

Hagel noted he expects the military departments to be able to "significantly reduce - but not eliminate - civilian furloughs under this process."

"Employees can expect to hear more information from their managers starting this weekend," he added.

The defense secretary said the department has tried to "exempt as many DOD civilian personnel as possible" from furloughs, and will continue to try to bring all civilian employees back to work as soon as possible.

"Ultimately, the surest way to end these damaging and irresponsible furloughs, and to enable us to fulfill our mission as a department, is for Congress to pass a budget and restore funds for the entire federal government," Hagel said.

"This has been a very disruptive year for our people - including active duty, National Guard and reserve personnel, and DOD civilians and contractors," he said. "Many important activities remain curtailed while the shutdown goes on."

Civilians under furlough, Hagel said, face the uncertainty of not knowing when they will receive their next paycheck.

"I strongly support efforts in Congress to enact legislation to retroactively compensate all furloughed employees," he said.

"And I will continue to urge Congress to fulfill its basic responsibilities to pass a budget and restore full funding for the Department of Defense and the rest of the government," Hagel said.

Written by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., a journalist with the American Forces Press Service.

Filed under: Defense News, Policy/Politics,

October 6, 2013 at 4:45pm

Update: Spc. Tevin A. Geike of JBLM died from stab wounds

This in from 7th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office:

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - On Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, Spc. Tevin A. Geike, died from wounds suffered during an altercation while with friends in Lakewood, Wash. The incident is currently under investigation by the Lakewood Police Department.
Geike, of Summerville, SC, was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-158th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th Infantry Division.
According to unit records, Spc. Geike entered the Army in October 2010 and reported to Fort Jackson, SC, for Army Basic Training. Following graduation, he reported to Fort Rucker, Ala., for Advanced Individual Training in the Military Occupational Specialty 15P (Aviation Operations Specialist). Upon graduation from AIT, Geike arrived at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in April 2011. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4-6th Attack Reconnaissance Squadron, 16th CAB, as an aviation operations specialist. In October 2011, he was reassigned to the 2-158th AHB.
Spc. Geike's civilian and military education includes a high school diploma (2010) and Military Occupational Specialty 15P: Aviation Operations Specialist (2010).
His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Aviation Badge.

UPDATE: Reuters reports race not a factor in Geike's stabbing.

UPDATE TWO: The office of Pierce County Prosecuotr Mark Lindquist has released a statement regarding the three men charged with murdering Spc. Tevin A. Geike. The release is posted below:

Today, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Jeremiah Hill, 23, with MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE in the stabbing death of Tevin Geike, 20. Cedarium Johnson, 21, and Ajoni Runnion-Bareford, 21, were charged with RENDERING CRIMINAL ASSISTANCE for tampering with evidence. The victim and defendants are all active duty soldiers stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord.

"This was a senseless and sad murder where a soldier killed a fellow soldier for no reason," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. "Our prayers go out to the family and friends of Specialist Geike. He served our country honorably, and it breaks our hearts to see him lose his life in a cowardly street stabbing."

On October 5th, 2013, at approximately 2:30am, Geike and two fellow soldiers were walking in the 12500 block of Pacific Ave SW after leaving a gathering at a nearby motel. According to a witness, the car passed by the three friends and someone from the vehicle made an unspecified racial slur towards the men on foot. Witnesses could not recall what was actually said. The victim and his friends responded that they were combat veterans. The vehicle pulled over, and four of the five men got out and approached Geike and his friends. Once it was established that all parties were active duty soldiers, the occupants of the vehicle began to walk back to the car. It appeared the confrontation had defused. Defendant Hill grabbed the victim, put him in a "bear hug" hold, and stabbed him twice. Hill got back into the car, and the vehicle and its occupants left the scene.

Hill was covered in blood and told the car's occupants that he "cut" the victim. Defendant Johnson ordered the car's driver to proceed to Tillicum, where he then told Defendant Runnion-Bareford to throw the knife into the roadside brush. The vehicle belonged to Runnion-Bareford, so when the suspects returned to JBLM, Runnion-Bareford attempted to clean the blood from his vehicle, and parked it several blocks from his barracks to avoid detection. Over the weekend, Hill requested assistance from an Army medic to treat a cut on his hand. Hill told the medic that he suffered the cut to his hand when he "stabbed someone to death." Investigators recovered bloody clothing from Hill's and Johnson's rooms and also recovered the knife from a roadside in Tillicum.

The two suspects who spoke to investigators said race was not a motivating factor in the assault, and the victim's friends said that the initial slur was the only race-related language used. The other two occupants in the vehicle were fully-cooperative and detectives do not believe they participated in the stabbing or tampered with evidence. They will not be charged.

An autopsy showed that Geike suffered a superficial stab wound to his right side, followed by a deep stab wound to the front of his chest, which struck his heart.

The defendants were arraigned today at 1:30pm in Courtroom 270 of the County-City Building in Tacoma. The three plead "not guilty." Bail was set at $2 million for Hill and $250,000 for Runnion-Bareford. Johnson was released to Joint Base Lewis McChord. Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

October 7, 2013 at 2:14pm

Washington National Guard: Furloughed technicians recalled to duty

Around 700 full-time federal technicians with the Washington State National Guard have been recalled to work Tuesday, Oct. 8 after being furloughed Oct. 1 during the federal government shutdown, according to a release by Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the state's adjutant general.

The change was the result of Saturday's announcement by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that the Pay Our Military Act allowed the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for certain employees whose responsibilities contribute to the "morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members."

Almost all furloughed full-time federal technicians in Washington state are being recalled though several furloughed technicians within the U.S. Property & Fiscal Office are ineligible for recall. Also, state employees who have been furloughed by the state are not recalled at this time.

October 8, 2013 at 3:24pm

JBLM to receive Army Communities of Excellence Silver Medal Award Wednesday

This just in via the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs Office:

Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, I Corps commanding general, will present the Army Communities of Excellence Silver Medal award to Col. H. Charles Hodges, Jr., on behalf of JBLM, Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the American Lake Conference Center.

JBLM leadership was notified of the award selection in a March 13 Department of the Army Headquarters message from the office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management.


October 20, 2013 at 11:44am

JBLM team wins its division at Army Ten-Miler

The JBLM Men's Active-Duty Masters Team grabbed first place in its division at the 2013 Army Ten-Miler Oct. 20 in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit: Ken Swarner

The Army's 29th annual Army Ten-Miler race was held today in Washington, D.C. at the U.S. Pentagon. Produced by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, D.C., known as MDW, this prestigious race attracts 35,000 military and civilian runners from around the world. It is the third largest 10-mile race in the world, and all proceeds benefit Soldier and Soldier family MWR programs.

The Army Ten-Miler event also features a two-day Army Ten-Miler Expo, presented by Boeing, on Oct. 18-19, at the D.C. Armory. The expo hosts more 75 exhibitors and attracts 40,000 attendees. Race day activities include a "world class" race with elite athletes, live music, youth activities, and the popular "Hooah Tent Zone" which features interactive displays and exhibits by Army installations from around the world, including the Joint Base Lewis-McChord chapter of the Association of the United States Army handing out red, white and blue water bottles.

The unofficial Army Ten-Miler race results are in. The JBLM active-duty masters team grabbed first place in its division. UPDATE: JBLM Active Duty Masters Men team placed first in its division with a time of 4:12.26. The team was comprised of Christopher Rizzo of JBLM, George Mount of Tacoma, Jeffery Bryan of Steilacoom, Jonathan Richner of Marysville and Yong Park of DuPont.

The JBLM Active Duty Women team placed fourth in the Commanders Cup division with a time of 4:34:54. The team was comprised of Amanda Dietzen of Lacey, Chelsea Prahl of Steilacoom, Christina Rath of Steilacoom, Cristal Ramirez of University Place, Erica Chabalko of DuPont, Hailyn Bluff of Puyallup, Jennifer Han of JBLM and Marisa Gossweiler of Tacoma.

Other local male winners were Gregory Leak from Steilacoom took 12th place overall with a time of 50:01. Preston Myers of JBLM grabbed 35th place with a time of 52:58. Jake England of DuPont took 47th place clocking in at 54:13.

The first local female to cross the line was 23-year-old Chelsea Prahl of Steilacoom with a time of 1:00:11, who placed second in her division.


See Also

Rono leads All-Army to second place in Ten-Miler

October 28, 2013 at 11:41am

Military receive free tickets to PLU vs. UPS football game Saturday

Are you ready for some football? Photo courtesy of Facebook

As a way of saying thanks for their service, Pacific Lutheran University is inviting the troops - active and retired - to attend PLU's final home game of the season free Saturday, Nov. 2.

It's an early Veteran Day's appreciation moment.

"With our close proximity to JBLM, we wanted to do something to recognize our veterans," said Tyler Scott, PLU's sports information director. "We wanted to do something to recognize our veterans in our last home game of the year."

PLU's last home game of the season will be Saturday against rival University of Puget Sound. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. They anticipate handing out 1,000 tickets.

"Just come to the game and get the tickets," Scott said. "Show your military ID and you get in."


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