Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: June, 2015 (7) Currently Viewing: 1 - 7 of 7

June 3, 2015 at 6:33am

1st Corps colonel honored for longevity

Col. Lynda M. Granfield, 1st Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord was in good company last Friday.  She stood shoulder to shoulder with warriors from elite units, Medal of Honor recipients, and war heroes as the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School honored 12 veterans and three active-duty soldiers - in an awards ceremony forSpecial Forces, civil affairs and psychological operations.

Granfield received the Elder Statesman award as the longest-serving civil affairs soldier.

Granfield, commissioned in 1986, served in Desert Storm, as military assistant to the director of Task Force Business and Stability Operations in Afghanistan, and as senior military advisor to the Independent Director of Local Governance in the International Joint Command in Afghanistan.  She has also supported operations in Haiti, Bosnia and Liberia.

Filed under: I Corps,

June 11, 2015 at 11:22am

Law regulars DoD to know of abuse

From the State Legislature today ...

Governor Jay Inslee signed into law today SB 5079, the Senate version of a bill sponsored by Dick Muri. Requested by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), it requires the state Department of Social and Health Services to notify the military of child abuse and neglect allegations involving children in military families.

"The defense department would like all states to enact this legislation, to ensure the military knows when serious allegations are made," said Muri. "Washington is the first state to pass such a law. It will add one more layer of protection for military children."

June 11, 2015 at 11:26am

EOD soldier vies for World Record

YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER, Wash. – US Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Johnson will attempt to claim the world record for the fastest mile run in the Med-Eng EOD-8 Bomb Suit.
This event, apart from the world record attempt, will be an opportunity for Johnson and his fellow Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Soldiers to raise money and awareness for the EOD Warrior Foundation.  The unit is stationed at the Yakima Training Center.
The event will be open to the public and include activities for all ages. Visitors will have the opportunity to try on the bomb suit, view various EOD tools and equipment, talk to EOD soldiers about their job, talk with ambassadors from the EOD Warrior Foundation, meet representatives from local businesses and encourage Johnson during his run.
The event will be at the Yakima Greenway’s Sherman Park with food and drink available from local food vendors.

June 12, 2015 at 11:05am

Assistance to servicemembers and their families

It's a common occurrence for servicemembers to not reach out for help until they are "deep into the foxhole." In other words, a majority of servicemembers will wait until their bills have piled up, their savings have been depleted, an eviction notice possibly has been served, employment is gone and their family is severely struggling alongside them, until actually realizing they have an issue in their personal lives and they should seek help.

How could command expect a servicemember to report to duty, or even drill, if they can't pay their bills?  If they don't even have money for their electricity, how could they afford the gas to get to their duty station?

That's where the one-stop-shop mentality of the Joint Services Support Directorate of the Washington National Guard comes in to serve this servicemember in a similar way that he or she usually serves their community and nation: All encompassing.

The Joint Services Support (JSS) program utilizes an all-in, all-faceted, so-to-say "land, sea and air approach" to assisting servicemembers and their families.

Joint Services Support Washington (JSSWA) is designed to be this one-stop services center for not only members of the Washington National Air & Army Guard, reservists and their families, but also constantly serves the airmen, veterans, servicemembers of all other branches as well.

The JSSWA follows the model and guidance of the Michelle Obama Initiated Joining Community Forces to seek outside assistance and resources from agencies like the WDVA, JBLM SFL-TAP, Operation: GoodJobs, Red Cross, PacMTN, WorkForce and many others.

By utilizing and continuously outreaching to other agencies and military working groups, such as the Washington Military Transition Council (WMTC), similar to those listed, the JSSWA is able to take advantage of the resources/events that they might not otherwise been able to provide to their servicemembers.

The JSSWA has used this model as the basis for their organization and by housing an Employment Transition Services, Family Programs, Youth Programs, Family Readiness Groups (FRGs), VA/TAA (Transition Assistance Advisors) assistance, Survivor Outreach Services, Suicide Prevention/Awareness, Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention, Master Resiliency Training & Comprehensive Soldier & Family Fitness (MRT/CSF2), a Psychological Counselor and Resiliency/Operations programs all in one building on Camp Murray (although they have specialists spread throughout the state, most commonly near/in armories) to identify the issue and to fix as many facets of life issues that the servicemember may be facing.

If seeking assistance, contact the JSSWA's 24-hour toll free line at 1.877.585.5655 or visit them at

JSSWA Programs available for servicemembers and their families:

Employment Transition Services (ETS):

Employment Transition Coaches (ETCs) assist with developing employment opportunities through a documented process including career guidance, job skills assessment, resumé development and interview skills.  ETCs advocate: benefits for hiring veterans; identify regional employment opportunities; apprenticeship programs; partner with ESGR, JBLM ACAP, Camo2Commerce, Hiring Our Heroes, county chambers and WorkSource for Career, Resource and Education Hiring Fairs.

Family Programs:

Provides readiness, resources, referrals and other assistance as needed to servicemembers and families to meet the uniqueness of military life. Helps to enhance unit cohesion, build family self-reliance and increases family readiness. Family Readiness Support Assistants, or FRSAs, are responsible for outreach, communication and coordination to include Family Readiness Groups and a Deployment Cycle Support through all phases of deployments.

Washington National Guard Youth (WANGY) / Youth Programs:

These youth programs concentrates on youth development and resiliency through youth activities and training.  They collaborate with youth organizations to enhance training opportunities for National Guard youth.

Transition Transition Assistance Advisors (TAA):

Assists you with navigating through the numerous benefits and entitlements in the DoD and VA system. TAAs take the time to ensure you have access to all federal, state and local programs. They assist you with understanding the benefits you have earned.

Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP):

Yellow Ribbon provides information, services, referrals and proactive outreach programs to servicemembers of the National Guard and their families through all phases of the deployment cycle.

June 12, 2015 at 11:33am

Seahawks to lead youth football camp

Kids will get a chance later this month to learn how to catch a football and intercept a pass from some NFL players they've rooted for on TV.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and fullback Derrick Coleman along with former Seahawks defensive back Marcus Trufant, will coach a one-day camp at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"We want to thank the military and their families," said Armando Mejia, the Seahawks fan development assistant director. "It's our way of saying thanks."

The camp is June 27 at Cowan Stadium from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The camp costs $25, and is only for children ages 5 to 18 and whose parents are serving at JBLM.

In addition to the three Seahawk players, there will be local high school coaches coaching at the camp. The objective is to help improve the fundamentals in playing football.

Coleman, who is partially deaf, will also put on a special session to discuss exceptional family members he's known, and about some life-learning experiences.

At the end of the camp, there will be an autograph session. Registration is open until June 19. You can register at

Trufant, a graduate from Wilson High School in Tacoma, grew up cheering for the Seahawks. After graduating from Washington State University, Trufant was drafted in the first round by the Seahawks in 2003. He played 10 years in the NFL, all with the Seahawks. In his 136 games with the Seahawks, Trufant finished with 21 interceptions, two of which he ran back for touchdowns.

Trufant played on the Seahawks' 2006 Super Bowl team and retired from the NFL in 2012. Trufant's younger brother, Desmond, played at the University of Washington and was a first round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2013.

June 18, 2015 at 1:10pm

Becoming a LEAN-er military

What makes Lean so engaging across the workforce is its emphasis on a bottom up approach for culture shift. By relying on their own customers, stakeholders, employees and leadership, a larger buy-in focus is used to make changes in some, or all, aspects of a company.  Sometimes just cutting out one unnecessary step can save a company millions of dollars.

"The Washington Military Department has embarked on a long-term journey to adopt Lean," said Washington National Guard Adjutant General, Major General Bret Daugherty. "The information will help shape future Lean communications and measure agency-wide progress of adopting Lean thinking, tools and techniques."

With the National Guard Bureau's approval to offer a course in Washington state, the Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) Office on Camp Murray has developed a Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Green Belt (GB) Certification Program, in conjunction with the CPI offices of Oregon and Nevada.

In order to obtain certification, applicants must submit a nomination form, if selected then attend the course, pass the final exam with a 70% or higher, and also complete a Lean project within 60-90 days of course completion.  All students will have an experienced LSS mentor to help them with the completion of their projects.

Lean is important every day, as it can provide a basis for process improvements anywhere in your life, not just at work.

"Often, when students leave our training, they begin to see areas for improvement throughout their work place and home life," said Washington State Military Department Lean Coordinator Samantha Einarson.  "With the eight-step problem solving technique that we teach, students then have the skills to correct some of those wastes."

Lean 8-Step Problem Solving Techniques:

  • Clarify the Problem
  • Breakdown the Problem
  • Set a Target
  • Analyze the Root Cause
  • Develop Countermeasures
  • See Countermeasures Through
  • Evaluate Both Results and Process
  • Standardize Successful Processes

The class also promotes teamwork and cooperation in solving problems, thus enabling students to better work with others outside of their organization.

Lean thinking isn't just fixing procedures/platforms that already exist.

"The Greenbelts (Lean Green Belt certified) had identified that there was no actual process to get from start to finish; each person was doing their own steps," added Einarson about a class taught earlier this year on Camp Murray.  "By collaborating with the teams as a whole, they were able to create a standardized process that saves time, eliminates waste and improves morale."

Teamwork and utilizing ideas and suggestions of the entire department tends to be a reoccurring theme of Lean success, especially when creating a new process altogether.

The impact from teaching the Green Belt Certification Course isn't showing any signs of slowing down.

"One project that is currently being completed will save six minutes of data entry per mission and they conduct 250 missions per month which equals twenty-five hours of savings per month," said Einarson.  "The technicians who work on that process will be able to use that time for other areas of their work and avoid some of the previous frustrations they were feeling."

The Washington Military Department isn't stopping at just teaching the prestigious Green Belt Certification course either.

"We are currently working with three other CPI offices in other states to build a Lean Black Belt course that we could then offer in our state," said Einarson.  "Additionally, we are in the beginning phases of planning an Army Lean Six Sigma course here, pending approval."

In the civilian world, employees certified with Lean Six Sigma Green Belts earn between $55k and $98k annually, with a black belt salary range increasing dramatically from there as well.

The Green Belt Certification Course, being taught for free on Camp Murray, holds a price tag around the $1,675 range at educational agencies such as the University of Washington.

These certifications have already proven to be highly beneficial in the military world, but it doesn't just stop there; the civilian world benefits as well.

June 26, 2015 at 9:41am

Medical research unit coming to JBLM

The U.S. Army's premier medical research unit for behavioral health in Europe is relocating to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, effective June 30. Once fully manned, the unit is comprised of 10 personnel.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Unit-Europe has been a vital part of the U.S. Army in Europe for 38 years, providing evidence-based research to help improve the well-being and resilience of soldiers and their families.

USAMRU-E conducts applied field studies with soldiers in garrison, deployed and training settings. These studies help determine prevalence rates of current challenges facing soldiers and families, identify emerging behavioral health threats to the force, and help guide potential training and intervention efforts. That mission will continue at JBLM.

"What's unique about us is that one hundred percent of our work is done with soldiers, where soldiers are," said Lt. Col. Jeff Thomas, USAMRU-E commander. "Whether they're in garrison or in a deployed environment, we conduct all of our research where soldiers work. It's an ideal way to get accurate data. Not only are we able to move out on programmatic research, but we can also listen to what's going on at an operational unit."

USAMRU-E is headed to JBLM, where it will focus its research on soldiers in the Pacific theater of operations.  The unit will be provisionally redesignated as U.S. Army Medical Research Unit-West, next week. On October 1, it will become Military Research Directorate-West - a directorate of WRAIR but no longer a Command as USAMRU-E was designated, according to Thomas. They will be co-located with the T2 - telehealth and technology group.

The unit will be lead by Lt. Col. Sandra Escolas, who is set to arrive in early July.

"USAREUR has been a fantastic place to do research and we've received outstanding support from ERMC and USAREUR. It's been a great environment to do research that supports the warfighter and also supports our program. 

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