Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

September 28, 2017 at 11:31am

SAMC adds to its ranks

Inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club (SAMC) were 1st Sgt. Richard Laughlin, 555th Engineer Brigade, originally from Quincy, Illinois, and Sgt. Norman Frasier, Jr., 51st Expeditionary Signal Battalion, a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Like other inductees into the club, Laughlin and Frasier underwent a rigorous selection process that included a difficult board, an Army Physical Fitness Test, an essay, and a written test. Would-be SAMC members had to score at least 90 percent in each event.

"The main reason why I wanted to become an Audie Murphy member was I wanted to set the example for junior soldiers, said Laughlin. "It is a big deal. It's more than just going to a board. It's a community and you're expected to perform beyond the average."

Frasier added that earning membership in the SAMC says a lot about the inductee.

"It means you're the elite of the elite and you're ready to serve your community in every way shape and form possible," said Frasier.

Founded in 1986 at Fort Hood, Texas, the SAMC is a private organization for non-commissioned officers that, according to the Audie Murphy Memorial website, was created to "develop, inspire and motivate the best leaders possible in the U.S. Army."

Inductees receive a medallion and a coin.

The SAMC was named after America's most decorated World War II soldier. According to the Audie Murphy Memorial website, Murphy received every award for valor the U.S. had to offer and five awards from France and Belgium.

After the war, Murphy went on to work as an actor, starring or appearing in 44 feature films, including the autobiographical To Hell and Back.

He was also known as an advocate for veterans who worked to raise awareness of what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Murphy died in a plane crash in 1971.

September 28, 2017 at 11:28am

593rd ESC sustains winning edge

Col. James Moore shows I Corps commanding general Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky the 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command’s Early Entry Command Post during the Ulchi Freedom Guardian 17 exercise in South Korea Aug. 29. Photo credit: Capt. Cain Claxton

Dozens of soldiers from the 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command deployed to South Korea in August to participate in Ulchi Freedom Guardian, an annual 10-day defensive exercise designed to enhance readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula.

In the exercise, the 593rd ESC established an early entry command post in order to direct sustainment operations in support of I Corps.

"We went to Korea to exercise our capability to expeditiously deploy, establish an EECP, and provide mission command in an austere environment," said Maj. Kyle Smith, the officer-in-charge of the ESC's current operations section.

Staff Sgt. Richard Pacheco, a wheeled-vehicle mechanic and power-grid manager for the ESC, did his part to make sure the EECP stayed operational with electricity.

"We started prepping the power grid a few months out," Pacheco said. Preparations included conducting a full site set-up with all the pieces of equipment that use electric power, then running through checks to make sure everything works properly when operating under full and reduced power. "The biggest learning curve is you cannot predict for everything to go right, so you have to have contingencies. Plan for the worst, but be prepared for even more severe things to happen."

While Pacheco kept power flowing, it was Spc. Vincent Dupont's job to keep relevant the endless flow of data coming into the EECP. Dupont, an ammunition stock, control and accounting specialist in the 593rd ESC Support Operations section, aggregated the information into a common operating picture for the commander to make decisions.

"There were a lot of moving parts, but I always had a sense that people knew what they were supposed to do," Dupont said of the support operation section, otherwise known as "SPO."

The SPO section is staffed with subject matter experts on all matters logistics and sustainment, but coordinating their knowledge and experience into an exercise like UFG can be demanding. Improving from previous exercises, "We seemed to have more precise focus on what we were supposed to achieve as a team," Dupont said.

"Our job was to set the conditions that enable freedom of action and endurance," said SPO Plans Officer Maj. Paul Reyes. Put another way, the 593rd ESC ensured America's First Corps could keep fighting on its terms.

Beyond the benefit of rehearsing drills and responding to computer-simulated scenarios, the exercise also allowed soldiers to work with senior Army commands and international partners, fostering relationships and understanding, Reyes said.

About 17,500 U.S. servicemembers participated in the exercise, with 3,000 troops coming from off the Korean peninsula. U.S. forces joined Republic of Korea military forces from major ROK units representing all services, as well as ROK government participants. In addition to the ROK and U.S. forces, U.N. Command forces from seven sending states, including Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom participated in the exercise.

Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission observers monitored the exercise to ensure it was in compliance with the Armistice Agreement for the Restoration of the South Korean State (1953). Training exercises like UFG are carried out in the spirit of the Oct. 1, 1953, ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty and in accordance with the Armistice. These exercises highlight the longstanding military partnership, commitment and enduring friendship between the two nations, help to ensure peace and security on the peninsula, and reaffirm U.S. commitment to the Alliance.

September 27, 2017 at 6:47am


ARLINGTON, WA, September 15, 2017 – “A tale is but half told when only one person tells it” (Saga of Grettir, Chapter 46)

The Downtown Arlington Business Association is very pleased to bring the 3rd annual Arlington Viking Festival to Legion Park in downtown Arlington on October 7th and 8th, 2017. The festival offers many family-friendly and hands-on activities each day including a Viking Village, authentic traders, marketplace and many demonstrations like forging, weaving, spinning, axe throwing, and heavy weapons fighting. New this year is a beer garden and food court in lieu of last years’ pub tour. Also new is an after-hours party/costume contest to be held on Saturday night at the Mirkwood Public House in downtown Arlington. Here you will find live music, food and drink specials and the traditional Viking drink mead provided by Aesir Meadery. Saturday night will also see a traditional Viking wedding (not a re-enactment) and Sunday we will host a flat bread and jam eating contest. Individuals over 18 can join in the feats of skill & strength competition with the first place male and female warriors winning a $100 gift card. Detailed event information can be found at or on our Facebook page.

“This Viking Fest is a way to celebrate and accurately portray Viking history about which there are many misconceptions in the world. It is also a recognition of the very strong and long-standing Scandinavian history here in Arlington.” – Mike Britt, Past President DABA.

Other immersive and educational activities for attendees are opening and closing ceremonies in the Earl’s longhall (house), a Swedish Pancake breakfast at the American Legion Post 76 on both mornings and through touring the modern day Scandinavian artifact display in the City Hall Council Chambers. Hosted by the Stilliguamish Genealogical Society, participants can also find out if there is a Viking in their family tree and learn about Arlington’s rich Scandinavian history. Attendees can win entry to a raffle prize offered by DABA if they visit this display. And there will be other fabulous raffle prizes available including some hand-crafted pieces made by our volunteer re-enactors.

The Downtown Arlington Business Association exists to nurture downtown member businesses through annual events. tourism promotion, group rate advertising and more.


September 26, 2017 at 5:55am

What Do New Homes Include?

Buying a new home is an exciting purchase! But do you know what’s included? It’s common for buyers to confuse a to-be-built “new construction home” with a “custom home.” However, there are distinct differences between the two that every informed buyer should know.

What’s included with a new construction home:

  1. When you buy a new construction home, you will likely be presented with several floor plan options. The plans aren’t created according to your exact specifications, so you won’t be shopping around for an architect. The floor plans are usually tried and true, meaning they have been built before and homeowners can attest to their quality and functionality. Your floor plan is included!

    Insider tip: Richmond American doesn’t believe in cookie-cutter homes. We offer a variety of popular structural options to accommodate a wide range of lifestyles. For example, many of our floor plans feature optional bedrooms, sunrooms and lofts. All of these structural choices can be conveniently rolled into your mortgage, but keep in mind they can impact base pricing.

  2. Like most new home builders, our new construction homes have a range of included features, such as flooring, cabinetry and light fixtures. With Richmond American, the features included in our homes are second to none and many color choices are available. No matter the builder, it’s important to ask questions about inclusions up front. Essential features such as cabinetry and flooring are included!

    Insider tip: If you purchase a to-be-built home from Richmond American, you’ll work hand-in-hand with a professional design consultant to create a cohesive look for your new living spaces—a complimentary service! We also understand that a buyer’s wish list will differ from customary product offerings. In addition to hundreds of standard selections, we’re proud to offer hundreds of exciting upgrades to bring your vision to life. If you’ve already begun envisioning the types of finishes and fixtures you’d like in your new home, create a Pinterest board so you can show your designer.

What’s included with a custom home:

The short answer: not a lot! The trade-off is maximum flexibility. Anything your architect and interior designer can dream up that meets building codes, you can have. Speaking of which, you will have to hire the professionals yourself. If you hire a Design-Build Firm, they may help coordinate the hiring of subcontractors, but ultimately you’ll be responsible for monitoring design and construction to make sure the people you’ve hired stay on track.

Working with a custom builder, you may also have to shop multiple vendors at several stores to find all of your fixtures and finishes. The interior designer you hire can to help you manage the process and ensure your selections are well coordinated.

Insider tip: Hiring your own professionals can be quite costly and unexpected expenses can add up fast. You’ll also have to purchase land and make sure the plot is developed and able to house a residential property. If the only dream home you can envision for yourself is a completely custom home, this may be your path. But keep an eye on that price tag! It can skyrocket fast.

Think new construction may be the way to go? Visit to find dream home today!


September 22, 2017 at 5:42am

JBLM team ready for softball showdown Saturday

Robert Straughn delivers a pitch during a recent JBLM team softball practice at the Lewis North Athletic Complex. JBLM PAO photo

A few weeks ago, service members from the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron and the Group Support Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), were battling for the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Commander’s Cup Softball Championship. Rivals become allies as players from both teams will go against a group of local Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard members in an exhibition match at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma Saturday.

The game’s opening ceremonies will begin at 3 p.m. and will be part of an overall day of festivities at the home of the Tacoma Rainiers, the AAA-affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

There is a mutual respect between both sides and team-captains — Robert Straughn, of GSB, 1st SFG, and Brandon Simpson, of 22nd STS — are familiar enough with each other to plan the best lineup out of the 18 available players.

“(He and I) both have really good knowledge on softball and baseball,” Straughn said. “You will see a team that looks like it’s played together for years.”

Both teams combined for 49 hits during the JBLM softball title game Aug. 31. The 22nd STS won 17-6 in a five-inning, mercy-shortened game.

When JBLM championship clubs played their game at the Lewis North Athletic Complex, the distance from home plate to the outfield fences are 300 feet throughout. Cheney Stadium’s center field wall is 425 feet from home and includes a wall that stands 29 feet tall. The left field and right field walls are 325 feet from the plate, while left center and right center are 385 feet away.

“Because of the fact the field is so big, we have to change our approach,” said Brandon Simpson, co-captain from the 22th STS. “Now if they decide the play the field close (to the infield), then we just have to counter the defense.”

The creation of the game builds off an event last year hosted by the Tacoma Navy League, who worked with USO Northwest to have the local Navy face a team of Coast Guard and Marine Corps service members — a game the Navy won handily, 24-6.

According to Karen Getchell of the Tacoma Navy League, the Tacoma Rainiers requested that the military softball game include Army and Air Force members from JBLM. The event coordinators agreed and made it an exhibition between two multiservice teams.

“It’s just a great way for all of the different branches to come together and compete,” Getchell said.

The game between JBLM and local Navy, Marines and Coast Guard is the main event, but there are several additional activities for military families. Kids will have the chance to run the bases and participate in baseball clinics focused on pitching, hitting and catching fundamentals.

The event starts at 11 a.m. and is scheduled to last until 5 p.m. Admission is free, but participating in the home run derby is $5 and the fast pitch booth is $1. The concession stands will be open at Cheney Stadium for food sales.

September 21, 2017 at 1:22pm

1st SFG (Airborne) host Seattle Seahawks at JBLM

Seattle Seahawks mascot Blitz looks on as 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) perform a simulated stress fire exercise at the 1st Special Forces THOR3 facility on JBLM, Sept. 19. Photo credit: Sgt. John Conroy

Members of the Seattle Seahawks visited the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Sept. 19, to officially kick off a season-long partnership. Since 2012, the Seahawks have partnered with a military service each season, and this season the team selected the 1st SFG (A).

The 1st SFG (A) commander, Col. Guillaume Beaurpere, accepted the 12th Man flag from U.S. Navy representative, Rear Admiral Gary Mayes, commander of Navy Region Northwest, in an informal change of command ceremony.

"Today is about partnership," Beaurpere said to the more than 200 soldiers and sailors in attendance. "Two teams come together to join in the spirit of competition and commitment to service. On one side, you have our nation's most elite athletes with a passion for a sport and a commitment to excellence. On the other side, you have a national treasure in the men and women who choose to serve their nation and protect our liberties."

Before the change of command ceremony, the Seahawks visited the 1st SFG (A) compound, reflecting at the group's memorial wall which bears the names of its fallen soldiers.

"It was an honor to see that memorial," said Shaquill Griffin, rookie cornerback for the Seahawks. "It shows the respect they have for their fallen members."

The Seahawks received a tour of the Tactical Human Optimization, Rapid Rehabilitation and Reconditioning (THOR3) facility where the 1st SFG (A) trains its soldiers to be tactical athletes as well as providing them with resources such as nutritional guidance, strength training instructors and physical therapy. The team was given an in-depth demonstration of what goes into a typical workout including navigating difficult obstacles while wearing heavy body armor and finishing with a simulated stress fire exercise.

Afterwards team members signed autographs and posed for pictures. The lines stretched out of the facility as servicemembers gathered to have footballs, jerseys and other memorabilia signed as a memento of the special occasion. Mutual admirations were exchanged between players and servicemembers.

"I felt like I wanted autographs from them," Griffin said.

"Having the Seahawks visit was an amazing and humbling experience," said Sgt. Shai Maya Dawson, a 1st SFG (A) human resource specialist. "Knowing that they appreciate us as much as we appreciate them was definitely something I will always remember."

The day included static displays of military freefall parachutes, scuba equipment and un-manned aerial capabilities, as well as a MH-47 Chinook and MH-60L Black Hawk helicopters provided by the 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The visit concluded with Beaurpere thanking every member of the Seahawks and their staff for visiting JBLM and 1st SFG (A).

As the players boarded the bus to depart, handshakes and well wishes were exchanged as members of each team bid the other good luck in the upcoming season and on future missions.

September 21, 2017 at 1:13pm

Meet the Army's 'Dungeon Dragons'

The 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade recently completed the largest Patriot modernization project ever conducted outside a U.S. depot facility. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Monik Phan

More than four stories below ground, soldiers from the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade provide 24/7 real-time surveillance of the tactical ballistic missile threat on the Korean Peninsula. Known as the "Dungeon Dragons," these teams of soldiers are essential in monitoring, receiving and disseminating information to ensure U.S. ballistic missile defense is prepared to respond to any threats in the Korean theater of operations.


From the most southern point in South Korea to the 38th parallel, the 8th Army mantra of "fight tonight" reverberates throughout every unit along the way. This motto is embraced by the soldiers of both the Fire Direction Center and Air Defense Artillery Fire Control Officer office, who coordinate on the early detection of missile threats on the peninsula.

"The primary mission of the FDC and the ADAFCO is to provide situational awareness to our brigade commander on the Korean Peninsula," said Staff Sgt. Raul Duenas, an air defense battle management system operator with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

As an air defense battle management system operator, Duenas works in the Fire Direction Center and monitors multiple systems that provide a common operating picture of tactical ballistic missiles and air breathing threats. The images are depicted with detailed information to enable his team to submit time-sensitive reports both vertically and horizontally for 360-degree situational awareness when a missile is launched.

"If something were to happen, we would be the first people to know about it," said Duenas. "We will be the first ones to see it. We will have to quickly react to make the necessary phone calls and disseminate information about the event."

The Fire Direction Center and Air Defense Artillery Fire Control Officer office personnel work around the clock to ensure every potential threat is observed. Their systems are always collecting and saving data so they can quickly analyze the information to prepare and consolidate situational reports for the brigade command team.

"Our job is to monitor the screens to see the first signs of any threat," said Spc. Ryan Buchanan, an Air Defense Enhanced Early Warning Operator from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. "We are the ones that monitor the radars and see what happens in the air."

The brigade's monitoring systems are capable of identifying the type of missile that is launched with the use of their advance radar technology, said Spc. Christopher Lee, an air defense battle management system operator from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

Due to the North Korea threat, the brigade is always conducting training to help their units stay prepared, said Pfc. Dorold Nguyen, a Patriot Fire Control Enhanced Operator/Maintainer with the brigade. The units are always training to ensure everything is fully mission capable and batteries are at the directed posture of readiness.

One of the most essential components within the Air Defense Artillery community is the data-link architecture that allows units to communicate with each other while they are geographically dispersed. Although there are measures in place for units to fight autonomously if needed, the brigade is most effective when communication links are networked.

"We are always testing our communication links between batteries and battalions to make sure they stay running," said Nguyen. "When everyone passes the information amongst each other, it helps us fight together."

The brigade recently completed an internal exercise with their Republic of Korea - Army Air Defense Artillery counterparts at Osan Air Base in order to prepare for the annual peninsula-wide exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian. The purpose of the training was to ensure the brigade operation centers, along with the crews that fight the air battles during Ulchi Freedom Guardian, are familiar with their systems and processes.

One of the biggest benefits of the combined exercise is the ability to conduct training and implement battle drills through digitized simulations, said Staff Sgt. Jordan R. Hobbs, an air defense battle management system operator with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

The brigade's combined exercise reinforced the leadership's emphasis of enhancing interoperability. Due to the high rate of turnover in the Korean theater of operations, there is a premium on conducting joint training events to maintain enduring relationships. Furthermore, the more the units work together in a training capacity, the better prepared they will be for real-world events.

Christopher Tarpley, event lead from Missile Defense Agency, explains the Air Defense Artillery exercises in Korea are simulated scenarios that provide a baseline of understanding of how the South Korean military and its allied forces could defend themselves during an attack, such as a tactical ballistic missile threat from North Korea.

During the exercises, soldiers with the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade coordinate with the Republic of Korea air force and the army to de-conflict airspace amongst each other. They are able to utilize each other's systems to identify different types of aircrafts and other objects that are visible in the airspace they monitor.

The 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade continues to implement combined and joint training whenever possible to enhance readiness and leverage capabilities. At each echelon throughout the brigade, combined and joint operations are planned to improve interoperability. The next large-scale, peninsula-wide training exercise is Key Resolve, and will occur in the winter of 2018.

September 21, 2017 at 1:05pm

Gray PT uniform disappearing from formations as wear-out deadline looms

Soldiers in their new black Army Physical Fitness Uniforms conclude an off-duty physical fitness session at the track in front of the Gaffney Field House on Fort Meade, Md., Sept. 14. Photo credit: David Vergun

Just five months ago, about half of the soldiers participating in organized physical fitness training at Fort Meade, Maryland, were seen wearing the grey Improved Physical Fitness Uniform.

On the morning of Sept. 14, inside the Gaffney Field House and outside track, there were only a couple of soldiers still in the IPFU. Dozens of others were seen sporting the new black Army Physical Fitness Uniform.

By Oct. 1, that number wearing the IPFU will reach zero Army-wide, as the wear-out date expires with "mandatory possession" kicking in for the APFU, per All Army Activities message 209/2014, which was released Sept. 3, 2014.


Soldiers seem happy with their new APFUs, according to a small opinion sampling conducted at Fort Meade.

That doesn't mean there aren't some sentimental feelings about the IPFU, however.

Spc. Lafavien Dixon, from Company C, 742nd Military Intelligence Battalion on Fort Meade, said he plans to wear the IPFU for organized PT right up to the wear-out date, out of a "sense of nostalgia."

Any time a uniform changes, soldiers will look back with a sense of fondness and happy memories, but not necessarily regret, he said.

The black with gold lettering design in particular, is something Dixon said he likes on the new uniform, as well as the two small ID card or key pockets in the shorts. The built-in spandex in the shorts is another improvement, he added.

Sgt. Christopher Davis Garland, Co. C., 742nd MI Bn., said he likes the overall look and feel of the new uniform and is supportive of the switch, but will miss the "cottony feel" of the gray reflective shirt.

Rather than discard the IPFU, he said he plans to wear parts of it when doing yard work.

Garland, a self-described "PT freak," said he will also wear parts of the IPFU when participating in off-duty Spartan races, which include a number of obstacles that must be negotiated. He said he didn't want to tear up his APFU doing that.

Spc. Douglas Banbury, from Co. C., 742nd MI Bn., said he purchased his APFU a year ago "to weigh the differences between them."

Like other soldiers, he said he's pleased with the look and feel of the APFU, particularly the material, which he said enables the uniform to dry out faster when wet.

The other difference, he said, is that in his personal view the APFU feels a bit less comfortable in cold weather than the IPFU, but more comfortable in hot and humid conditions.

The only malfunction with his own APFU thus far, he said, is one of the key/card pockets detached. He reasoned that since he got the uniform early on when they first became available, he thinks it was a problem in the initial assembly production run. But the other pocket is OK, he added, so he can still carry his key/ID card.

Spc. Jarvis Smith, who was PTing after-hours with the other three co-workers from 742nd MI Bn., said the APFU shorts are longer than the IPFU, and this is a positive when it comes to modesty.

Like the others, he said he approves of the switch and plans to continue to wear parts of the IPFU around the house and yard to get as much mileage out of them as he can before they eventually fall apart.

Another soldier interviewed said she plans to give her old IPFU to her wife -- who is not a soldier -- to wear.

A main goal of the PT uniform switch "was to use high-performance fabrics in the APFU without increasing the cost from the IPFU," according to the ALARACT, which noted 32 improvements, including the "identification/key pockets, a redesigned stretchable lining in the trunks and heat mitigation and female sizing."

All of the changes were incorporated based on soldier input and extensive technical and user testing in various climates, the ALARACT added.

September 21, 2017 at 12:54pm

Quintin's quest to kick cancer

Honorary Sgt. Quintin Hall, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, rides tall in the back of a Stryker combat vehicle during his “Day in the Life of a Soldier” at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Sept. 13.

The I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord commanding general, Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky, and senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Walter Tagalicud, had the pleasure of enlisting and promoting 7-year-old Quintin Hall, Sept. 13, to begin his day as an honorary cavalry soldier.

After being welcomed into the ranks of America's I Corps, Quintin reported to his new unit, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, and put through the paces of a cavalry soldier. Taking into account what this young man has been through over the last 18 months, somehow he charged through the day with a smile.

Quintin and his parents, who live near the Washington border in northern Idaho, received the stage IV high-risk neuroblastoma diagnosis in February 2016. They were told to "keep him comfortable." That wasn't an acceptable option for them.

Neuroblastoma has a science fiction ring to it evoking images of futuristic weapons wreaking havoc against enemies. Sadly, there is nothing sci-fi about this very real form of childhood cancer, and Quintin, with his parents Justin and Jacqy, is fighting a battle with it every day.

"(During treatment) he really enjoyed tanks," said Jacqy. "Any time we would ask him to read books it was always the tank books or learning about different types of combat vehicles."

Through all of the hospital stays and surgeries, Quintin mentally copes with the treatments by associating them with military weaponry fighting the bad cells in his body. Armored vehicles, specifically tanks, most recently peaked his interest and have made explaining the current round of treatment easier to explain in a way he understands.

"Oftentimes during treatment the best way to explain to him -- what is the chemo doing or what is the transplant doing -- we would use tank references," said Justin. "We're making your cells into tanks to fight the cancer, or we're giving the tank cells an upgrade. So that has helped him to understand what is going on."

Quintin is currently in the lab stages of treatment, which allows him some much needed time away from the hospital and the opportunity to become a soldier for a day with 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment.

Quintin began his training at the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST) leading his fire team through various on-screen scenarios to neutralize enemy targets using specially modified M4 service rifles.

"Reloading, cover me," yelled Pfc. Vincent Southerland during one of the scenarios.

"I've got you covered," responded Quintin.

Following the EST session, Quintin returned to the 1-14 CAV area and was introduced to several more weapons and tools used during combat missions by the cavalry soldiers. While the array of equipment elicited smiles and intrigue, nothing could compare to his reaction to what was about to round the corner.

Quintin was offered a radio handset and instructed to order a personnel pickup. What he didn't know was that there were two Stryker combat vehicles staged awaiting his order to drive to his location.

The day concluded in historical cavalry fashion with Maj. Deshane Greaser presenting Quintin with is own silver spurs and inducting him into the Order of the Spur.

September 19, 2017 at 9:56am

Pershing's Last Patriot in Lakewood

The WWI Centennial is not complete without watching Pershing's Last Patriot presented by the Lakewood Historical Society and showing Sept 26 in Lakewood, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lakewood Library, 6300 Wildaire Rd SW.

FREE showing of documentary about Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last American veteran of World War I. Discussion following movie, led by Alan Archambault, military historian.

WWI's very last veteran Frank Buckles documentary has been called the "Most powerful story in American History." Be prepared for a hypnotic ride of emotions as you are captivated by this film. 

Born in 1901, Buckles enlisted at the age of 16 for the Great War. He became America's last survivor of WWI and lived to the age of 110.  

Honored by President Bush and Barack Obama Buckles "Pershing's Last Patriot" Frank Buckles became a National obsession as he fought for a WWI Memorial in Washington DC. A major public fight broke out upon his death as Speaker John Boehner banished his body from the Rotunda. 

Buckles became the oldest person(age 108) to ever testify in Senate as he was required to testify as to why a Memorial to 5 million veterans was needed in Washington DC. 

In this film you will learn of his WWI experience, his time as a POW in World War two and the last 5 years of his life as he became one of the most famous living veterans.

Award winning film maker and biographer of Buckles tells this story with private footage from Frank's life.

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