Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: March, 2017 (31) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 31

March 2, 2017 at 2:15pm

Three wells on JBLM shut down

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Over the past several months, the Army is testing drinking water on its installations for the presence of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), two manmade chemicals found in many consumer and industrial products.  



In accordance with Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Act guidelines, JBLM is notifying on-base consumers of drinking water that three of the base's 28 drinking water wells have been shut down and removed from the base drinking water system because they exceed the new EPA lifetime health advisory level (LHA) for PFOS and PFOA.



The remaining 25 wells will be used to meet JBLM's drinking water needs.



JBLM's drinking water is safe to drink.



To ensure the continued availability of safe drinking water for JBLM residents and employees, JBLM will continue a program of recurring sampling of drinking water sources for PFOS and PFOA and other requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act.



[See attached JBLM Drinking Water Sampling Results Notification]



BACKGROUND:

*  April 2016 - When the PFOS/PFOA subject arose within DoD, JBLM's Public Works Environmental Division proactively tested the base drinking water wells for PFOS/PFOA as part of the installation's routine compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

     -  The April 2016 test included 23 active wells; five wells were off-line for maintenance and were not tested.

*  May 2016 - After JBLM completed initial testing, the EPA issued a Lifetime Health Advisory level for PFOS and PFOA in drinking water of 70 parts per trillion (ppt). As part of the Army's commitment to supplying quality drinking water to its Service members, family members, and civilians, the Army implemented a comprehensive PFOS and PFOA testing program.

*  June 2016 - JBLM received the April test results for the 23 active wells. Test data indicated two wells-one on McChord Field, and one on Lewis Main-had levels of PFOS/PFOA which exceeded the EPA LHA levels. Both wells were shut down and isolated from the JBLM drinking water system.

*  November 2016 - 28 of JBLM's drinking water wells were tested for PFOS/PFOA presence (five which were previously off-line for maintenance were tested for the first time).

*  January 9, 2017 - Lab results confirmed previous test results and also confirmed excessive levels of PFOS/PFOA in one of the previously untested wells located on McChord Field. To date, three of JBLM's 28 drinking water wells-two on McChord Field and one on Lewis Main-have been shut down and removed from the base's drinking water system because they exceeded the new EPA LHA for PFOS and PFOA.

March 2, 2017 at 2:16pm

HIMARS won't fire on JBLM

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – At this time, JBLM Army leaders have decided to not pursue further environmental study toward integrating the HIMARS Reduced Range Practice Round (RRPR) into JBLM’s permanent training infrastructure.  Army leadership wants to place more efforts and resources into other training and operational requirements for the near future.

In September 2016, 27 RRPR were fired during a three-day test on JBLM so monitors could record the sound levels generated by firing the practice rockets. According to the U.S. Army Public Health Command Noise Monitoring Study, none of the levels exceeded 130 decibels outside the JBLM boundary.

“After reviewing the (September 2016) test results, we took a very hard look at whether we could add RRPR to our training activities here at JBLM,” said Col. Daniel S. Morgan, JBLM Joint Base Commander. “While the Yakima training Center is an option, it’s not a 365-day-a-year training solution for JBLM units, so having the flexibility to certify our HIMARS crews at JBLM would maximize our Soldiers’ sustained readiness,” Morgan added.

“Although the noise study states ‘HIMARS [RRPR] would not produce noise levels which exceed those from existing training operations at JBLM,’ we have other emerging priorities that we must put our efforts and resources toward at this time,” said Morgan. 

“We also felt it was important to consider input from our community partners as well before making this decision,” Morgan said. “We couldn’t have gotten to this point without the support of the communities that surround JBLM. We thank the Nisqually Tribe for their cooperation and collaboration in conducting the September test, and we thank the citizens of DuPont, Lacey, Yelm, and Roy for providing us with timely feedback.”

JBLM leaders point out that a lot of work and study has gone into the HIMARS RRPR test, especially since HIMARS is one of the principal weapons currently being used in combat operations overseas. That said, leadership does not want to diminish the value of, or lose the work that’s been done, and so to preserve that effort and the great collaboration which went into the RRPR noise test, the study and findings will serve as the basis for potential future discussion should the concept be revisited based on emerging requirements and priorities.

March 2, 2017 at 2:52pm

Army drone odyssey draws questions

Paratroopers prepare an RQ7 Shadow unmanned aircraft system for launch on Forward Operating Base Sparta on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Jan. 30, 2014. Photo credit: DoD

SAN ANTONIO - Mystery shrouds the rogue flight of an Army unmanned surveillance aircraft that was launched from southern Arizona on Jan. 31 by troops from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, flew hundreds of miles independent from human control and was found Feb. 9, broken apart in a tree outside Denver.

The incident has raised questions: Why did the Shadow RQ-7Bv2 unmanned aircraft fly so far outside its 77-mile range, and how did the Army lose its aircraft for 10 days?

The Shadow was part of a training mission conducted at Fort Huachuca in Arizona by soldiers from the 2nd Stryker Brigade, 7th Infantry Division at JBLM, according to Lt. Col. Fredrick Williams, a division spokesman.

The aircraft quickly lost its connection with its ground crew after it was slung from its pneumatic catapult, said Tanja Linton, a Fort Huachuca spokeswoman. Linton confirmed Monday that the aircraft essentially flew the entire 630-mile journey outside of the Army's control.

Army officials have declined for weeks to release specifics about the incident, pending the results of an investigation. The Associated Press reported the aircraft, used to conduct aerial reconnaissance and surveillance for brigade operations, was missing a wing when it was found.

An initial search of the area in Arizona failed to find the aircraft, and the Army concluded it likely disintegrated nearby, Linton said in a news release a week before the aircraft was found.

Soldiers from Fort Carson in Colorado secured the aircraft and will send it back to JBLM by rail, Williams said.

It remains unclear how the flight of the $1.5 million aircraft with a range of about 77 miles reached a point eight times that distance.

The Shadow, a 450-pound aircraft with a 20-foot wingspan, is flown mostly autonomously, with a preset bearing, altitude and wind speed, said Paul Stevenson, an Army aviation spokesman. The settings can be manually adjusted by an operator at a ground control station. The flight operator is paired with a payload operator, who controls the surveillance camera in real time.

The aircraft operates by using a line-of-sight radio communication link with a ground control station within that range, according to specifications from Textron Systems, the Shadow's manufacturer. Other unmanned drones are capable of remote piloting that uses satellite uplinks from across the world.

Stevenson declined to release the distance endurance of the Shadow, though it is capable of flying for nine hours, he said. The 77-mile range is the limit of the ground control station's link with the aircraft. It can fly farther than 77 miles in a circular pattern over an objective, for instance.

It is possible the Shadow could reach the 630-mile distance with the fuel it has on-board, said Paul Scharre, a former unmanned system policy official at the Pentagon and director of the Future of Warfare Initiative at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank. The National Weather Service recorded strong winds from the southwest into Colorado on Jan. 31, which also could have aided the Shadow on its long flight.

Most unmanned aircraft systems like the Shadow are programmed to respond in different ways when a link is lost, Scharre said.

Unmanned aircraft can loiter in the sky awaiting a link to reestablish, he said. The Shadow's software can send the aircraft back to its launch point if the link is severed, but this Shadow not returning raises the possibility that its emergency programming failed.

"It's reasonable to think it just kept flying on the heading in whichever direction it was pointed last," Scharre said.

Losing a link is not unusual and it's accounted for in the design of the aircraft, though the rogue flight and crash highlights broader concerns about unmanned aircraft, he said.

"Without a person on board, even with a good link, you're not going to have the same level of cognitive awareness," Scharre said. "And if you lose signal link, you may have a limited ability to re-assert control over the aircraft. This would not happen with a person unless they went crazy or defected. That's pretty rare."

If the emergency return programming failed, he said, it also points to the limitations of autonomous technology to adapt to changing conditions.

"When programming is pushed outside its parameters, things can fall apart really fast," Scharre said.

A 630-mile odyssey

Radar data provided by the Civil Air Patrol details an erratic path during the Shadow's doomed flight.

The aircraft flew east from Fort Huachuca in southern Arizona and banked sharply at 90 degrees after crossing into New Mexico. It flew north over the Gila National Forest and through sparsely populated areas and Native American reservations, according to a radar-tracking map.

The Civil Air Patrol radar system lost the Shadow's signal near the southern Colorado border as it went into mountains, about five hours and 10 minutes into its flight, said Lt. Col. John Henderson, vice commander of the Civil Air Patrol's National Radar Analysis Team, which tracks and analyzes aircraft locations in the event of crashes, including this Shadow.

Henderson said it must have maintained at least a 12,000-foot altitude to clear the mountain ranges. The Shadow was about 400 miles into its flight at that point, Henderson said, flying near Navajo City, N.M.

It is 232 miles from Navajo City to Evergreen, a town west of Denver, where the Shadow was found in a tree by a hiker, The Associated Press reported. The estimated flying distance: 632 miles, essentially the entire distance without Army command and control.

Re-examining safety and beliefs
Textron Systems, which manufactures the Shadow for the Army, declined several times to discuss capabilities of the aircraft, citing the ongoing investigation.
Morgan Stritzinger, a Textron spokeswoman, also declined to confirm any discussions between the company and the Army about safety and legal considerations of a wayward aircraft shuttling across a vast expanse of the American West before dropping at least 12,000 feet out of the sky near the country's 19th most populated city.
Other mishaps involving Shadows have occurred in recent years. In 2014, a Shadow aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania and was struck by a car. In 2011, a C-130 cargo plane collided with a Shadow in the air over Afghanistan.

The Shadow, which is also fielded by the Marine Corps, has an extensive operational history in Afghanistan and Iraq. The aircraft is used to conduct surveillance in ongoing operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq, according to Army releases.

The aircraft is slated to replace the reconnaissance mission of the Army's OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters as part of a restructuring plan started in 2014. All 10 divisional aviation brigades across the Army will field the Shadow aircraft alongside AH-64 Apaches by 2019, according to Army planning documents.

The Shadow's pairing with Apache crews will expand surveillance and scouting abilities by patching in direct video feeds of distant objectives and enemy positions, the Army has said.

As the use of unmanned aircraft rises, it's important to re-examine beliefs and misconceptions about technology, Scharre said. Most people understand glitches and software failures occur just by using cell phones and computers, for instance, but often do not apply the same understanding to unmanned aircraft, he said.

No technology can quite match the reasoning of a human, Scharre said.

"Imagine a soldier on Fort Huachuca getting lost doing land navigation, he said. "He's not going to keep going and wander into Colorado."

March 2, 2017 at 3:25pm

Unit finds warmth in teamwork

Local guardsmen practiced winter skills at Mount Rainier. Photo credit: Washington National Guard

Huddled together in snow caves at night, amid up to five feet of snow, about 30 members of Delta Company, 898th Brigade Engineer Battalion struggled to stay warm, but never lost their reason for coming: survival and teamwork.

For three days and two nights, the Washington National Guard soldiers perfected the ability to build fires, do land navigation exercises and survive - even as temperatures dropped to the single digits.

The February basic winter survival course at Ranger Creek State Airport near Mt. Rainier was led by Washington Air National Guard airman Staff Sgt. Brant Shaw, a member of the 116th Air Support Operations Squadron, who is also certified in several mountaineering courses.

"This training provides a lot of opportunities they may not get day to day, being M-I (Military Intelligence) and usually working out of a secure room," Shaw said, amid the sounds of crows in the trees and coyotes in the distance. "But they could be all over the world, so this challenges them on many different levels."

The uniqueness of the training environment was invaluable. Upon arriving at Ranger Creek State Airport via Chinook helicopter, the soldiers were greeted by several feet of snow. Even maneuvering through the snow proved to be quite a burden with soldiers trudging through the terrain from their helicopter to get to an acceptable clearing before donning snow shoes.

Shaw was able to demonstrate skills that helped them adapt to the cold and their surroundings, including how to build different types of shelter, all of which included building walls that were packed by snow.

"Snow makes a great insulator and air often gets trapped while passing through, which in turn lowers the amount of heat transfer," Shaw said.

The goal, Shaw said, was to get the soldiers out of their comfort zones and into environments that present challenges for soldiers to carry out the mission at hand. This was the unit's second time participating in the exercise in three years.

The soldiers were taught a number of skills during their expedition, one of which was fire building and they even competed as teams to see who could build their fire the quickest. The overarching theme of the weekend was to work as a team.

"This is huge for us," said Spc. Arthur Rodriguez, a soldier in D Co., 898 BEB. "The ability to make these memories together, learning how to survive out here, is going to help us be more cohesive as a unit."

Even though the soldiers were expecting to just get skills to help them in harsh winter conditions, they ended up getting a lot more in return. The unit grew as individuals and as a team. By toughing out the outdoor elements and maintaining a warrior mentality, they bonded through that experience. The training could act as a valuable asset for any unit and that is what Staff Sgt. Shaw truly believes.

"Having a great attitude makes all the difference, which these guys did, they were troopers all weekend and that goes a long way," Shaw added.

March 2, 2017 at 4:19pm

Perspective changing experiences in the Pacific

Spc. James Gersler, Company C, 1-23 Infantry, drinks chicken blood as a substitute for water during the jungle survival course with the Royal Thai Army at Korat, Thailand, Feb. 20. Photo credit: Maj. Kelly Haux

Editors Note: The following is a first person blog by Staff Sgt. Samuel Northrup

Two goats were slowly led up the hill for the sacrifice. I looked on as one of the locals brought the first goat to be sacrificed near to him. In one movement he cut the animal's throat open and the blood began to spill out. He prayed as he held the animal and moved ceremoniously around the construction site to ensure the animals blood was properly placed at the right locations for the blessing. Other U.S. soldiers, most of whom are not accustomed to animal sacrifice, watched in awe. This blessing, a local Filipino custom, was done to help protect the new medical center we were constructing.

This took place around March 2010, during Exercise Balikatan, an annual bilateral exercise between Philippine and U.S. military forces that focuses on partnership, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief capabilities, and force modernization. Back then I was part of the 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion. Our focus was training and working with the armed forces of the Philippines. Simultaneously, we were also helping out the local population by building a schoolhouse and a new medical center for villagers located at the the island of Luzon, Philippines.

Now Balikatan is part of a larger training deployment known as Pacific Pathways that encompasses other countries in the Pacific. Soldiers from selected units (for 2017 it includes 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team) are deployed from one country to the next to train with that country's military force.

These types of exercises are nothing new for the U.S. Army, but what they have to offer is invaluable for every new group of soldiers that get to experience them.

Breaking out of the routine

A major benefit of traveling overseas to train with an ally is breaking out of the same training routine. Soldiers back in the U.S. begin to get used to going to the range, live fire exercises, morning PT, etc. They know what to expect, which is not always a good thing.

Now throw soldiers in a training environment with a foreign military they never trained with and you get some interesting results. Militaries around the world do much of the same training, but the finer details can be different. Some countries may use tactics we don't use, forgotten, or just never considered. Seeing it played out gives us the opportunity to learn from them and vice versa.

Going back to Balikatan 2010, the Filipino Army Engineers used rustic, some would consider archaic, construction techniques. One example is a water level (plastic tube filled with water) to determine if two points were the same height. Some of these methods, such as the water level, turned out to be more efficient than the ones we used.

This year for Pacific Pathways, our "Ghost Brigade" soldiers got an opportunity to train with the Royal Thai Army during a jungle survival course. They started fires without modern tools, searched for water and cooked food with barest of essentials.

For a young U.S. soldier, this experience can be an eyeopener. Since 1987, there has been less and less people venturing out to visit nature, according to a study submitted to PNAS. Soldiers do conduct field training exercises, but getting them out into a foreign jungle with snakes and wild animals is a whole other experience.

"It's good training with the Thai soldiers; this is a beautiful country and the training has been good building relations between the Thai military and the U.S." - Spc. James Gersler, Company C. 1-23 Infantry.

"It tastes like freedom!" - Pvt. Alexis Fiarito, Combat Engineer, Company A, 23rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, after killing the chicken and drinking its blood.

You become better at developing models of the world and your environment when you explore other countries and their cultures. You better understand how they think and how you think. You begin to see more solutions to problems and you can teach those ideas to your junior soldiers - essentially affecting another generation of soldiers with the training you experienced.

March 2, 2017 at 6:13pm

JBLM decides no further action now toward adding HIMARS RRPR to permanent training activities at the base

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - At this time, JBLM Army leaders have decided to not pursue further environmental study toward integrating the HIMARS Reduced Range Practice Round (RRPR) into JBLM's permanent training infrastructure.  Army leadership wants to place more efforts and resources into other training and operational requirements for the near future.

In September 2016, 27 RRPR were fired during a three-day test on JBLM so monitors could record the sound levels generated by firing the practice rockets. According to the U.S. Army Public Health Command Noise Monitoring Study, none of the levels exceeded 130 decibels outside the JBLM boundary.

"After reviewing the (September 2016) test results, we took a very hard look at whether we could add RRPR to our training activities here at JBLM," said Col. Daniel S. Morgan, JBLM Joint Base Commander. "While the Yakima training Center is an option, it's not a 365-day-a-year training solution for JBLM units, so having the flexibility to certify our HIMARS crews at JBLM would maximize our Soldiers' sustained readiness," Morgan added.

"Although the noise study states ‘HIMARS [RRPR] would not produce noise levels which exceed those from existing training operations at JBLM,' we have other emerging priorities that we must put our efforts and resources toward at this time," said Morgan.

"We also felt it was important to consider input from our community partners as well before making this decision," Morgan said. "We couldn't have gotten to this point without the support of the communities that surround JBLM. We thank the Nisqually Tribe for their cooperation and collaboration in conducting the September test, and we thank the citizens of DuPont, Lacey, Yelm, and Roy for providing us with timely feedback."

JBLM leaders point out that a lot of work and study has gone into the HIMARS RRPR test, especially since HIMARS is one of the principal weapons currently being used in combat operations overseas. That said, leadership does not want to diminish the value of, or lose the work that's been done, and so to preserve that effort and the great collaboration which went into the RRPR noise test, the study and findings will serve as the basis for potential future discussion should the concept be revisited based on emerging requirements and priorities.

March 6, 2017 at 7:25am

Event helps women tranisition into job market

Transitioning women have an opportunity to look at opportunities available beyond their military career at an upcoming two-day Redefining Your Future Symposium.

The event is planned for transitioning female service members, as well as women veterans and military spouses and is coordinated through a partnership of Redefining Your Future, the Service Member For Life-Transition Assistance Program and the Washington State National Guard.

Similar symposiums are offered twice each year. The current event will be at the Washington National Guard Aviation Readiness Center, 2nd Division Drive, Bldg. 6224, at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants must attend both days, and registration is required.

Shellie Willis, founder of Redefining Your Future, said the event is an opportunity for women to “grow, network and be empowered.”

The symposium is a “four-tier life-cycle technique designed to effectively engage women and show them what their transitioning shift will look like,” Willis said.

“Our life-cycle is: education, information, empowerment and transformation — hence redefining how they approach transition and redefining how they use resources,” she said.

The event will include resume preparation, LinkedIn setup information and coaching. There also will be women guest speakers from various businesses and leadership positions.

JoAnn Moravac, communications director for Redefining your Future, is a former military service member. She said attending a previous Redefining Your Future event helped her in the difficult transition from military to civilian. Moravac said the information and resources she gained helped make her transition smooth.

“I benefited from learning different courses of action to take for actively pursuing employment, while having a strong support system that consistently motivated me and educated me on various networking resources and employment preparation,” Moravac said.

Moravac said she sees the event as giving back to women who served in the armed forces.

“Service members sacrifice a lot — some more than others,” she said. “It’s important to remind our female service members that their skills and knowledge gained during their service is instrumental and valued even after they transition out of the military.”

She said women who attend the symposiums will benefit from confidence building and networking.

“It feels good in knowing we can provide assistance and education to those who need it, especially as they prepare to make the shift into the next phase in their lives,” Moravac said. “I am honored to be a part of a movement that drives empowerment, education, motivation and inspiration for our female service members and military spouses.”

One speaker at the upcoming event at JBLM is Ashley Layton, campus director of the Auburn campus of Commercial Driver School. Layton is responsible for managing all aspects of the campus and overseeing all training and job placement in King County.

Layton works closely with local employment groups and the Veterans Administration, helping clients find work in a high demand career field, according to her biography on Redefining Your Future’s Facebook page. She has spoken at WorkSource orientations and various seminars about job placement, resumes, the importance of networking and interviewing ins and outs.

Layton, a military spouse, said she understands what veterans and their families go through when starting over or transitioning from military to civilian life.

Prior to working with Commercial Driving School, Layton spent the past decade traveling across the country and overseas in support of her husband’s military career.

March 6, 2017 at 7:27am

Military Saves Week starts today on JBLM

Retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Johnnie Yellock, of Fort Worth, Texas, talks with service members during the kickoff of Military Saves Week at Carey Theater Monday. (JBLM PAO photo)

The importance of financial and mission preparedness: “Mission Readiness plus Financial Readiness equals Service and Family Member Success,” is the theme of the 2017 Military Saves Week, which kicked off Monday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and at other military installations across the country.

Military Saves is part of the nationwide America Saves Campaign and is a yearlong effort that focuses on the financial readiness of service members and their families.

JBLM’s Armed Forces Community Service hosted a kickoff event Monday at Carey Theater on Lewis Main and at the McChord Theater on McChord Field and also offered financial planning, budgeting, retirement and resource workshops throughout the week in various locations on base.

“The goal of this entire week is to change your mindset,” said retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Johnnie Yellock, the event’s guest speaker. “I’m telling you to live within your means, live beneath your means, so you can set yourself up for the future.”

Yellock was wounded when the vehicle he was traveling in hit an improvised explosive device July 6, 2011, during his second tour in Afghanistan. He was transported back to the United States and has since endured 30 surgeries. Yellock was medically retired in 2013. He received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals and, after intensive rehabilitation and one-year in a wheelchair, wears braces on his legs in order to walk.

He doesn’t focus on what he’s been through — more on what’s coming next, he said. He talked of professional athletes being paid high salaries and blowing their money, rather than saving for the unexpected. Fortunately, he began saving for his future shortly after joining the military, he said.

Yellock was required to clean up his credit in order to be accepted into the military.

“I had a credit score of 350,” he said. “Now it is over 800.”

That came through extensive work getting rid of credit card debt and incorrect items on his credit report, as well as starting savings programs through the military, Yellock said.

“I had a steady income; I was able to pay all my bills,” he said. “A year after joining (the military), I started the Thrift Savings Plan and at the same time I started contributing to my Roth IRA. I started with $100 a month and eventually I maxed (allowed contributions) out. This all came out of my pay, and if you don’t see it you can’t miss it.”

Yellock credits that forward thinking with making life much easier.

“Financial preparedness is important because you’ve got enough on your plate,” he said. “If you’re the main breadwinner for your family, you don’t want to be thinking about money when you’re deployed. You need to set up the process so by the time you need it, it’s already there and when you deploy you can focus on your mission.”

Yellock also recommended talking with financial counselors available through AFCS.

“I wish I’d taken advantage of the counseling and programs you have available to you,” he said.

Peter Fevriere, a financial readiness counselor with AFCS, thanked Yellock during a question-and-answer segment at the end of the program at Carey Theater.

“Many times when I go out to the units (to talk with service members about financial planning), it’s hard to get them to buy into it,” he said. “You’ve helped show the facts about this. What (service members) need to see is: at the end of the day, it’s your future and your family’s future that will be impacted.”

March 6, 2017 at 10:24am

New I Corps CG getting orientated

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky (center), listens during a 62nd Maintenance Squadron operations brief on the McChord Field flightline, March 2, 2017 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The tour also featured briefings on the Joint Precision Airdrop System, Prim

Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky, who recently relinquished command of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), arrived at Joint Base Lewis-McChord recently to take command of I Corps from Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza.

Volesky toured the base last week as part of his orientation to I Corps and JBLM.

A native of Spokane, Washington, Volesky graduated from Eastern Washington University in 1983.  He is a Silver Star recipientfor actions April 4, 2004 during the Siege of Sadr City, according to Wikipedia.

Volesky maintains a Facebook page at facebook.com/gary.volesky

Lanza's next assignment has not been announced.

March 6, 2017 at 12:10pm

16th CAB headed to Afghanistan

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th Infantry Division refuel UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters during training at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Jan. 26, 2017. The Soldiers were supported by U.S

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - The 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th
Infantry Division, will case its colors March 10 ahead of its deployment to
Afghanistan. The casing ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. at the Evergreen
Theater.

The "Raptor" brigade is set to deploy to Afghanistan with about 800 Soldiers
as part of a regular rotation of forces in support of Operation Freedom's
Sentinel, where they will conduct full-spectrum aviation operations promoting
security and stability in the region.

"The soldiers of the Raptor Brigade have worked very hard to build readiness
over the last year, and I am extremely confident in their ability to
accomplish our upcoming mission," said Col. William A. Ryan, 16th CAB
commander. "We employ some of the Army's most advanced aviation technology,
but it is our tremendous team of Army professionals that will ensure mission
success."

The 16th CAB, led by Ryan and Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Brock, will uncase the
brigade's colors in theater once they officially take over the mission from
the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, in early April.

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