Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: November, 2013 (6) Currently Viewing: 1 - 6 of 6

November 5, 2013 at 10:56am

JBLM commander Col. Charles Hodges to speak at South Sound Military and Communities Partnership Forum

Col. H. Charles Hodges Jr. took command of Joint Base Lewis-McChord Aug. 7 during a ceremony. Photo credit: Sgt. Christopher M. Gaylord

Col. Charles Hodges, the commander of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, will be the keynote speaker at a 2-and-a-half-hour forum in Tacoma Thursday, Nov. 14 about  the challenges facing the military base and the region.

Hodges' 30-minute talk is titled, "Realization: Local impacts of the sequestration and the draw down."

After Hodges' speech, a panel that includes city council members from Lakewood and Lacey and a regional director will discus solutions to I-5 traffic through JBLM, which is often in gridlock at peak commuter times.

Read more...

November 5, 2013 at 10:57pm

Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire: From the fire emerges healing

With Connor McClelland's encouragement, Staff Sgt. Bruce Kandle blows glass while Staff Sgt. Jennifer Cox watches. Both Warrior Transition Battalion soldiers are taking part in the Museum of Glass' Hot Shop Heroes program. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

In his play Prometheus Bound, Aeschylus (525 B.C.) writes that Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to the human race in order to create civilizations.

For his act, Prometheus was bound to a mountain from which he eventually escaped.

But the gift he gave humanity keeps on giving.

The Museum of Glass located in downtown Tacoma has partnered with Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) to host a Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire program that allows soldiers the opportunity to develop self-confidence and physical skills as they transition back to active duty or civilian life.

"It is about collaboration, camaraderie and support," Joanna Sikes, the museum's director of external affairs, said.

"These soldiers are working within a circle of peers in an exciting and dangerous environment who have never lost sight of the mission."

Molten glass, 2100-degree heat and teamwork on the part of a dozen soldiers is what photographer J.M. Simpson captured tonight.

>>> Spc. Cory Owens, Spc. Tony Truong and Sgt. Ronnie Bernardo, Warrior Transition Battalion, make glass beads as part of the Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire hosted by the Museum of Glass.

>>> Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire hosted by the Museum of Glass works with JBLM Soldiers in building life skills for a successful return to active duty or transition to civilian life.

>>> Sgt. Lee O'Guin and Maj. Kathleen Steele watch as Sgt. Austin Baker creates a cup from molten glass.

>>> Spc. Tong Truong, Warrior Transition Battalion, looks closely at different pieces of green glass before melting it.

>>> Staff Sgt. Bruce Kandle watches as a molten piece of glass is rolled at the end of a punty, a rod used to blow the glass into a desired shape.

>>> Artist Patricia Davidson works with Spc. Cory Owens and Sgt. Ronnie Bernardo as they learn to create glass beads.

See Also

JBLM Warrior Transition Battalion teams with Museum of Glass on pilot program

November 6, 2013 at 1:58pm

Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza to command I Corps at JBLM

This just in from the U.S. Army Public Affairs:

Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown, commanding general, I Corps Joint Base Lewis-McChord since July 3, 2012, has been reassigned as commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. 

Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, will be appointed lieutenant general and assigned as commanding general of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He is currently serving as commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

A change of command is planned for the third week of January 2014.

UPDATE: More details on the command changes coming to JBLM

November 10, 2013 at 8:40am

Words and Photos: Auburn's 48th annual parade honors veterans

American flags fly as soldiers and airmen from Joint Base Lewis-McChord march in the Auburn Veterans Day Parade. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis beamed with pride.

"This is the best thing ever; I wouldn't miss this event for anything," he said as he stood in the middle of Main Street.

"It is an absolute honor for Auburn to host this event, the largest of its kind west of the Mississippi River."

For some in the crowd, the day brought tears.

"I knew these men; they died in Vietnam," Brian Kraft, an Army veteran who served there in 1966-1968, said as he stood in front of the "Traveling Wall," a replica of the Vietnam Wall Memorial.

He held a small, white piece of paper in his right hand; on it there were seven or eight names written in pencil. 

Tears spotted the paper.

"It's hard," Kraft concluded, "but I'm glad I came."

>>> Since a C-17 could not do the fly-over to begin the parade, a Vietnam era Huey helicopter did the honor. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> The Auburn Veterans Day Parade and Observance - the largest event of its kind west of the Mississippi - drew a huge crowd and more than 200 different organizations. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Vietnam Veteran Brian Kraft looks on the Traveling Wall for the name of one of the men he served with in Vietnam. Photo Credit: J.M. Simpson

For others, the parade marked a way to honor those who served or are serving.

"This event is a great way to pay tribute to all veterans," Bill Lyons, another Vietnam veteran pointed out. 

"We've asked a lot of all of our veterans, and now is an opportunity to show our appreciation."

>>> World War II Navy veteran Don Hanson walked the parade route, shaking hands with and touching many in crowd. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Vietnam and Army veteran John Morris was one of the many motorcycle riders to join the parade. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Waving flags, shouts of "thank you!" and smart salutes as the American flag passed by characterized the thousands of individuals who lined Main Street.

"I'm just happy to be here and be alive," Don Hanson, a World War II Navy veteran said as he walked the length of the parade route shaking hands with all he came into contact with.

Two Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers saluted him.

"No," he said, "I salute you."

As does America.

See Also

Veterans Day Command Center

>>> Members of the Washington Civil War Association unfurl the colors of the 4th Regiment, U.S. Infantry. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Erena Heino combs her horse, Lucy, in preparation for the Auburn Veterans Day Parade. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Local service members lost in Iraq and Afghanistan were remembered. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

November 21, 2013 at 11:07am

Words & Photos: JBLM Santa's Castle Ruck March with the 555th Engineer Brigade

Spc. Robert Powell, 14th Engineer Battalion, got into the spirit of the season for a 2.6 mile walk from the 555th Engineer Brigade Headquarters to the American Lake Conference Center. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

It was cold and dark this morning on Able Field behind the 555th Engineer Brigade's headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

But the lights, the music and the spirit were bright and warm.

"We are a giving organization," Col. Nicholas Katers said before beginning the 2.6-mile Santa's Castle Ruck March that ended at the American Lake Conference Center.

"We are giving back to our own."

>>> Santa Claus, also known as Spc. Andrew Cuadrado, led the 15th Annual 555thEngineer Brigade Santa's Castle Ruck March featured more than 1,000 soldiers delivering over 2,500 toys for distribution to children. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The festive march supports Santa's Castle, an organization that has provided gifts to the children of Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, activated National Guard and Reservist families experiencing financial difficulty.

Last year Santa's Castle provided gifts to almost 2,000 children in more than 800 families.

>>> Pfc. Dylan Lake's red and green chemical lights helped light the way for the Santa's Castle Ruck March. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

"This is an awesome event, a time to give to those who may not have anything for Christmas," Spc. Alex Wilhelm said.

"We are the largest contributor of gifts to Santa's Castle, and we are proud of that."

Each soldier bought and contributed at least one gift to Santa's Castle. Many gave more.

"I bought one of my favorite toys as a little girl," Spc. Tiffany Johnson said as she pulled out a Barbie doll.

"I hope this makes some little girl happy."

>>> Spc. Alex Wilhelm, 110th Chemical Engineers Battalion, was all smiles after completing the Santa's Castle Ruck March. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Col. Nicholas Katers, commander, 555th Engineer Brigade, and CSM Kevin Bryan lead over 1000 soldiers on the Santa's Castle Ruck March this morning. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Capt. Jamie Matthews holds Fedora after the completing the 2.6 mile march from the "Triple Nickel's" headquarters to the American Lake Conference Center. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Attired for the Christmas Season, soldiers attached to the 555th Engineer Brigade bought and contributed over 2500 toys to Santa's Castle. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

See Also

Santa needs your help

November 28, 2013 at 8:47am

A Lancer Thanksgiving: Two turkeys are spared at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Turkey cooked to perfection at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The two turkeys in the cage in front of the Lancer dining facility at Joint Base Lewis-McChord North yesterday were the lucky ones.

They weren't being cooked and then eaten.

Inside the facility, soldiers from 2nd Brigade (Lancers), 2nd Infantry Division enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner comprised of roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots, lobster, gravy, stuffing, pie, cake, breads, ice cream and - yes - turkey.

"We've spent the last three weeks getting ready for today," Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Campbell, the dining facility manager, said as we watched his staff work to keep the food coming.

"This is definitely the busiest day of the year for us, and we're prepared to serve up to 1,500 soldiers today."

>>> Spc. Keith Welch butters carrots during an annual Joint Base Lewis-McChord Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday, Nov. 27. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Some of the brigade's officers and senior noncommissioned officers served the Thanksgiving repast to their soldiers and their families.

As soldiers filed past the brigade's Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Dotson, he would ask them what their physical fitness score was.

"That's a great score," Dotson said as he piled roast beef onto their plates.  "Now have a wonderful Thanksgiving."

>>> Sgt. 1stClass Yao Pan puts the finishing touches on a fruit garnish in preparation for a Thanksgiving dinner at the Lancer Dining Facility. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Working beside the sergeant major, Col. Louis Zeisman carved beef and had a kind word for every soldier that passed by.

"These soldiers we are serving are the heroes," he said during a brief pause in the serving line.

"It's our privilege to serve them and their families."

>>> More than 500 pounds of turkey were prepared and served for the soldiers of 2nd Brigade.  These two were lucky. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>>  One of the most popular lines was the pie line. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>>  PV2 Aaron Kalior made sure there were plenty of cakes, cookies and sweetbreads during the Thanksgiving dinner. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>>  Command Sgt. Maj. Cedric More, 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery, serves a soldier his Thanksgiving dinner. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>>  Col. Louis Zeisman, commander, 2nd Brigade (Lancers), 2nd Infantry Division and CSM Timothy Dotson helped to serve soldiers their Thanksgiving dinner. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> A large sculpture of a Native American warrior on horse back dominated the dining area where Lancer soldiers enjoyed their Thanksgiving dinners. Spc. Raphael Yee used tallow to create the iconic image. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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