Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: May, 2015 (14) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 14

May 2, 2015 at 6:01am

Silver Star for JBLM soldier

Sgt. 1st Class Earl D. Plumlee with the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord received the Silver Star Medal Friday for his actions in Afghanistan in 2013.

When attacked by a vehicle-borne IED and nine insurgents, Plumlee engaged the enemy at close range even after wounded by a detonating suicide vest.  According to an Army report, he risked his life in the line of fire to rescue another soldier while preventing the insurgents from gaining entry to his forward operating base.

(U.S. Army Photo by SPC Codie Mendenhall, 1st SFG (A) shows Plumlee receiving his medal from Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, I Corps Deputy Commanding General.

Filed under: Special Operations Units,

May 3, 2015 at 6:02am

Should DuPont's gate move?

A proposal to change the interchange on Interstate 5 and move the DuPont Exit further north up the freeway will be open for comment Tuesday night in Lakewood during a public meeting, hosted by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

"This event is intended to provide information and solicit public feedback and seek the public's input on items you think should be studied during the environmental process for the proposed improvements, officials wrote in a WSDOT release. "No formal presentation will be provided - attendees are welcome to come and go, review materials, and discuss their questions and concerns with WSDOT officials throughout the three-hour event.

The open house is Tursday, May 5 from 4-7 p.m. at Clover Park Voc Tech's McGavick Center in Lakewood.

The McGavick Conference Center is at 4500 Steilacoom Blvd in Lakewood.

View the proposed changes to I-5 on Flickr:

Filed under: Joint Base Lewis-McChord,

May 4, 2015 at 1:23pm

Free Microsoft certification for JBLM troops

(Pierce County Library) – Veterans can improve their technology skills and employability by enrolling in a free  Microsoft IT Academy Open Lab through Pierce County Library System between now and May 28.

Transitioning service members study at their convenience at home or at the drop-in Open Labs which are professionally staffed. Courses offered include Microsoft Office, Microsoft Server,Microsoft.Netandhundreds more. Microsoft certification is offered for free ($150 value) for enrollees in the program.Statistics show that proficiency in the Microsoft Office suite is one of the top three most-desired job skills.

Open Labs are available at locations on or near Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM):

·         Stone Education Center, JBLM, 6242 Colorado Ave., Tacoma, WA 98433
Mondays, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

·         RallyPoint/6, 9881 Bridgeport Way S.W., Lakewood, WA 98499
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays; 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

The Open Labs are made possible by a partnership between the library, WorkForce Central and RallyPoint/6. The partnership was underwritten by a $7,500 grant from the Washington State Library to support digital literacy. The library’s partnership supports the development of skills that will enhance the employability of returning military personnel in a digital and evolving world. Pierce County Library System is dedicated to helping job seekers boost their digital skills and explore new possible career paths through online learning.

Filed under: Exchanges,

May 5, 2015 at 5:55am

Q13 salutes Vietnam vets on anniversary

(US Army photo)

The 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War comes alive during a weeklong tribute played nightly on Q13 FOX News next week, according to a station release.

“Vietnam Vets came home to a nation that was conflicted by the war. Q13 FOX News will feature five incredible stories over five nights as told by the soldiers themselves. This very intimate dialogue with Joe Galloway focuses on each vet’s courage and commitment to their country,” said Q13 FOX SVP and General Manager Pam Pearson. “We are incredibly honored to have been a part of this project.”

Galloway, a front-line war correspondent for the United Press International and witness to the first major battle in November 1965, was decorated with the Bronze Star with Valor for heroism on the battlefield and his book “We Were Soldiers…and Young” inspired the movie,  “We Were Soldiers” released in 2002.

“These are, for me, the most honorable people I know,” Galloway said in the release. “The most loyal friends that I have in my life I earned on the battlefield. I can’t let their experiences just go, that’s just not in me.”

Narratives in the series include Joe Crecca, who spent over six years in captivity as a P.O.W.  Bruce Crandall, Congressional Medal of Honor and well-known for flying Huey helicopter missions during the battle of la Drang Valley, shares his own reflections on the war.  Other vets featured are Mel Sheldon, Greg Wood, and John King.

Filed under: Veterans,

May 6, 2015 at 7:23am

How getting to base might change

A proposal to change the interchanges in three places on Interstate 5 in front of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, including moving the DuPont Gate further north was the focus of a public open house Tuesday.

The Washington State Department of Transportation launched a study three years ago to relieve traffic congestion in front of the base, and if approved, could change the landscape starting around 2020.

Tuesday’s event was "intended to provide information and solicit public feedback and seek the public's input on items (we) think should be studied during the environmental process for the proposed improvements,” officials wrote in a WSDOT release.

Highlights of the changes include closing Exit 119 at the now DuPont Gate and moving the interchange several hundred feet north to create a longer driveway to the base access point. Current plans do not however address potential public access to the Fort Lewis Museum.

The interchanges at exits 122 (Madigan) and 123 (Logistics) would also be widened and improved. The existing historic Logistics gate seen from the freeway would also need to be moved further back from the road to accommodate the changes, officials said.

The construction opens the possibility for a dedicated bike path that would stretch from Mounts Road to the Gravelly Lake Exit, plus the potential for a road between Lakewood and Tillicum along the east side of the Tacoma Country Club.

While change may be difficult for some, officials warned of dire effects if these traffic improvements are ignored. Currently peak drive time between exits 118 and 123 are 16 minutes southbound and 25 minutes northbound. By 2020 those will likely increase to 45 minutes southbound and 70 minutes northbound.

Part of the plan calls for widening I-5 to add a fourth lane for HOV, and by 2040, five lanes. Officials said roughly fifty percent of the daily traffic in the zone does not come from the joint base.

View the proposed changes to I-5 on Flickr:

May 8, 2015 at 6:47am

Mother's Day on JBLM

Looking for ways to celebrate mom and stay close to JBLM at the same time.  Here are a few ideas we picked up from JBLM officials:

Mother/Son Dance at McChord Club

When: Today, 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Ballroom

Where: The Club at McChord Field, 700 Barnes Blvd., McChord Field.

Pricing is $17 per couple, $7 for each additional son. Call or visit the Club at McChord Field for reservations 253-982-5581. Payment required prior to event. No walk-ins. Includes dancing, refreshments, games and prizes.

Raft with Mom on the Wenatchee River

When: Sunday

Where:Wenatchee, Wash. Meet at the Northwest Adventure Center, located at 8050 NCO Beach Road, Lewis North, at 8 a.m.

Northwest Adventure Center is providing a fun rafting trip special for Mother’s Day. The cost is $65 per person and reservations can be made at 253-967-6263.

Mother’s Day Brunch at McChord Club

When: Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where:The Club at McChord Field, 700 Barnes Blvd., McChord Field

Treat Mom to brunch at the Club at McChord Field for delicious breakfast and lunch dishes. All you can eat. Reservations are required, call 253-982-5581. Full menu and prices can be found at

Filed under: Holidays,

May 10, 2015 at 7:27am

Guard team takes first

(WA National Guard) - The Washington National Guard Marathon team crushed the competition at the Lincoln National Guard Marathon, taking first place in the team category, three members took first place in their age divisions and four members qualified for the All National Guard Team!  If you are interested in joining, please send us a message on facebook or email

May 11, 2015 at 10:00am

Rally Point 6 joins USO network

Rally Point 6, the Lakewood-based transitional assistance center for veterans, was named one of four partners in the USO Transition 360 Alliance, according to a release today.

The USO program helps military personnel and their families transition back into civilian life.  The other three organizations joining the program are  Stronger Families, Comfort Crew for Military Kids, and Hire Heroes USA. 

"RP/6 will augment the USO by connecting service members and their families with specific resources and organizations within their community to support them on their path forward," according to the release. 

“I’ve been able to witness the impact RP/6 has had on our transitioning military families in the 10th Congressional District. A partnership with the USO comes at just the right time, as more of our service members are transitioning out of military service and can benefit from these highly effective career and benefit resources provided by the dedicated RP/6 team,” said Washington State Congressman Denny Heck, 10thDistrict.

TheUSO picked those partners that could bring leverage to the cause.

“Individually, we could not serve as many troops as well as we can collectively. So the USO has brought these groups together to combine the very best of what each of us has to offer America’s transitioning military families, on a scale that no single organization could achieve alone,” said J.D. Crouch II, CEO and President of the USO.

 Veteran officials agreed.

“The RP/6 and USO partnership is a perfect match," stated WA State Director of Veterans Affairs Alfie Alvarado-Ramos. "The collective might of these two organizations will ensure that service members and their families across the country enjoy what has been a national best practice conceived in WA State."  

For more information about the USO Transition 360 Alliance, please visit, and

RP/6 at

Filed under: Veterans,

May 13, 2015 at 5:42am

Nurses awarded

(Madigan Army Medical Center) - Three #TeamMadigan nurses won the Daisy Award, an honor bestowed upon those who provide stellar care with compassion. The winners were
(L-R): Lori Hyland, Madigan Pediatrics; Greg Williams, Winder Clinic; Tamara Smith, Family Medicine Eagle/Falcon Team

Filed under: Madigan,

May 15, 2015 at 9:40am

I-5 improvements around JBLM included in NDAA

WASHINGTON, DC – Today the House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, which included an amendment that would provide funding for roads in urban areas around military installations such as Interstate 5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The amendment from Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) authorizes $25 million to be made available through the Office of Economic Adjustment for “transportation infrastructure improvements associated with congestion mitigation in urban areas related to recommendations of the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission.”
“We all hate traffic. But when traffic affects our military’s ability to get to base, do the job, and be ready for anything, we must do more,” Heck said. “This proposal creates a more streamlined, competitive grant program for the construction of transportation improvements in military communities like ours.” 
In 2014, Rep. Denny Heck introduced the COMMUTE Act to provide a more streamlined process for military installations facing traffic jams around the country.
“Combined with a comprehensive state plan to complete SR-167 and improve I-5 around JBLM, a strong plan to provide federal revenue will bring our transportation network up to speed with our state’s needs,” Heck said. “In addition to this common-sense amendment, it is time to restore long-term certainty to the Highway Trust Fund, create more good paying jobs, and build infrastructure worthy of the 21st century.”

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