Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: August, 2015 (3) Currently Viewing: 1 - 3 of 3

August 3, 2015 at 2:02pm

Change of command

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. –Col. H. Charles Hodges, Jr. will relinquish command of Joint Base Lewis-McChord to Col. Daniel S. Morgan, in a change of command ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday in Hangar 9, JBLM McChord Field.

Col. Hodges has been the joint base commander since August 2012. The joint base commander manages the day-to-day operation of Joint Base Lewis-McChord on behalf of the war-fighting units assigned here. 

Under Hodges’ leadership, JBLM was recently recognized as a Bronze Award winner in the 2015 Army Communities of Excellence Award program. This is the third consecutive year JBLM has been honored (2013 Silver, 2014 Bronze).  ACOE recognizes communities which maximize efficiencies, innovation, sustainability, and continuous improvement in installation management.

Col. Hodges will retire after 30 years of service to the nation in the U.S. Army.

Col. Daniel S. Morgan comes to JBLM from his previous assignment as a student at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa. His military career began in 1992 when he was commissioned as an Infantry Officer from Georgetown University ROTC. His military education includes Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, and Command and General Staff College. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs in 1992 and Masters’ Degree in National Security Strategic Studies in 1998 from Georgetown University.  In 2015, he earned a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

His assignments include the 3-325th Airborne Battalion Combat Team (ABCT), Vicenza, Italy; the 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, the 2nd Battalion, 3-502nd Infantry Regiment, and 4th Brigade Combat Team (Currahee), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; and 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Fort Drum, N.Y. He deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operation Joint Endeavor, and he deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.

Colonel Morgan took a break in active duty service from 1998-2001 to serve as the Executive Assistant to the Presidential Cabinet Officer, Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. 

August 7, 2015 at 5:53pm

Army Community Service celebrates 50 years

With an emphasis on saying "thanks," topped with kid-smiling fun, Army Community Service (ACS) on Joint Base Lewis-McChord celebrated 50 years of work last week with hot dogs, face painting and an obstacle course.

The three-hour "Party in the Park" was held July 31 at JBLM's Freedom Park and was a culmination of a month-long ACS celebration.

It was a way to say "thanks" to the people involved with ACS.

"It's an appreciation. Just to appreciate servicemembers, volunteers and staff," said Alicia Grady, chief of the Armed Forces Community Service Division. "(It's for) all of those who support the program, whether you're the service provider or the customer."

It was a day of fun and food. With the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR) providing the hot dogs, chips and pop, kids did the Rad Run Obstacle Course and had fun jumping around in the Bounce House and sloushing down the Slip-n-slide.

For 50 days leading up to the party at Freedom Park, stories were posted on the ACS Facebook page about the achievements and the goals of the programs.

"We kept with the theme of past, present and future," Grady said. "Every day you saw another post."

The party celebrated the servicemembers, family members, volunteers and staff of ACS's "Past, Present & Future."

There were plenty of "thank yous" to be given. Among the 20 ACS programs listed on the JBLM website are Community Information Services, which helps families connect to local, private, and voluntary service agencies that help families get the assistance they need;  Army Emergency Relief (AER), which helps with financial needs involving rent, utilities, emergency travel and vehicle expenses; and for soldiers heading overseas, there's the Relocation Readiness Program, which helps with overseas orientation and family support groups.

During the past month, Grady said there was recognition for the volunteers of ACS and recognition to the longest-serving employees.

On July 25, 1965, Army Community Service was formed when Gen. Harold Johnson, the Army Chief of Staff at the time, sent out a letter to all bases announcing the establishment of the program. However, it wasn't until 1995 that an official mission statement for ACS was written. The mission thereafter was to provide comprehensive, coordinated and responsive services that support readiness of soldiers, civilian employees and their families.

Now, 50 years after the installation of services, the 83 ACS Centers worldwide remain a key part of the Army family by supporting the military. The services provided by ACS have grown and include the Army Family Action Plan, Army Family Team Building, Army One Source, Army Volunteer Corps, Exceptional Family Member, Family Advocacy, Financial Readiness, Information and Referral,  Survivor Outreach Services, Spouse Employment, Transitional Compensation and Victim Advocacy.

ACS continues to grow and meet the changing needs of the Army families.

"We're always here to support families and their needs," Grady said.

For more information about ACS on JBLM, visit

August 20, 2015 at 10:24am

Off-base helicopter training needed

In an effort to avoid training conflicts between aviation units at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and other JBLM training units, and to ensure aircrews meet flying-proficiency standards and are ready for immediate deployment worldwide, the Aviation Division at JBLM has proposed the establishment of three off-base helicopter training areas in southwest Washington along with a mountain training area northeast of JBLM.

According to a press release released this month by the Department of the Army, aircraft used in training operations would include the MH/UH-60 Black Hawk, the AH-64 Apache, and the MH/CH-47 Chinook. At the four off-base sites, JBLM aviation units would be able to train day and night, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The only exception would be federal holidays.

The press release states approval of this project proposal would be very helpful in enhancing JBLM aviation units' ability to train effectively.

In 2011, JBLM aviation regulations were changed, reducing the allowable aircraft density for on-base training areas. This reduced aircraft density requirement leads to the potential for schedule conflicts between low-level helicopter training operations and ground-based combat units, which are given high priority for base usage.

According to the press release, low-level helicopter training areas off-base would "alleviate land-use conflicts that are occurring now and allow for future growth of the crews training at JBLM."

Meanwhile, approval of a mountain training area would, for the first time in Washington state, provide for critical high-altitude mountain environmental training (HAMET) for aviation units based at JBLM. Currently, JBLM aviation units needing HAMET are limited to three sites: two in Colorado and one in Texas. Unfortunately, the need for HAMET requires that JBLM aviation units commit to extensive travel time out-of-state, which inevitably leads to unavoidable scheduling difficulties, separation from families and cost.

To comply with regulations set forth by the National Environmental Policy Act, the U.S. Army is undergoing an environmental impact analysis and plans to publish a draft environmental analysis document that will inform governmental and non-governmental agencies and the public about the potential impacts of the proposed aviation operations.

The scoping period ends Sept. 4, and all comments must be received by then. Comments should clearly identify "JBLM Off-base Helicopter Training Area" on the first page. Individuals or agencies must include their name and contact information.

Comments can be emailed to or by standard mail to Department of the Army, Directorate of Public Works, Attn Environmental Division (NEPA), 2012 Ligget Ave., Box 339500 MS 17, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA 98433-9500.

Next winter, following the conclusion of the scoping period, a draft environmental analysis (EA) will be issued. This will be followed by several public meetings where agencies and individuals will be able to comment on the draft EA. A final EA will be issued next spring.

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