Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: 'Tacoma' (23) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 23

November 5, 2013 at 10:57pm

Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire: From the fire emerges healing

With Connor McClelland's encouragement, Staff Sgt. Bruce Kandle blows glass while Staff Sgt. Jennifer Cox watches. Both Warrior Transition Battalion soldiers are taking part in the Museum of Glass' Hot Shop Heroes program. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

In his play Prometheus Bound, Aeschylus (525 B.C.) writes that Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to the human race in order to create civilizations.

For his act, Prometheus was bound to a mountain from which he eventually escaped.

But the gift he gave humanity keeps on giving.

The Museum of Glass located in downtown Tacoma has partnered with Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) to host a Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire program that allows soldiers the opportunity to develop self-confidence and physical skills as they transition back to active duty or civilian life.

"It is about collaboration, camaraderie and support," Joanna Sikes, the museum's director of external affairs, said.

"These soldiers are working within a circle of peers in an exciting and dangerous environment who have never lost sight of the mission."

Molten glass, 2100-degree heat and teamwork on the part of a dozen soldiers is what photographer J.M. Simpson captured tonight.

>>> Spc. Cory Owens, Spc. Tony Truong and Sgt. Ronnie Bernardo, Warrior Transition Battalion, make glass beads as part of the Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire hosted by the Museum of Glass.

>>> Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire hosted by the Museum of Glass works with JBLM Soldiers in building life skills for a successful return to active duty or transition to civilian life.

>>> Sgt. Lee O'Guin and Maj. Kathleen Steele watch as Sgt. Austin Baker creates a cup from molten glass.

>>> Spc. Tong Truong, Warrior Transition Battalion, looks closely at different pieces of green glass before melting it.

>>> Staff Sgt. Bruce Kandle watches as a molten piece of glass is rolled at the end of a punty, a rod used to blow the glass into a desired shape.

>>> Artist Patricia Davidson works with Spc. Cory Owens and Sgt. Ronnie Bernardo as they learn to create glass beads.

See Also

JBLM Warrior Transition Battalion teams with Museum of Glass on pilot program

July 9, 2013 at 8:19am

Patriots Day Events thanks 60 military couples in Tacoma

Patriots Day Events brought military couples together to enjoy cruises, food, and music July 3 in Tacoma.

The ongoing military appreciation event Patriots Day Events shipped to Tacoma's Rock the Dock Pub & Grill last week, where servicemembers and their significant others got the chance to enjoy a sunny boat cruise, good company and good food - all without spending a dime.

"It's a perfect day to build camaraderie amongst all of our units, and it's not often that we get to all mingle with one another, especially with other civilians and our significant others," said 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Spec. Kevin McGowan while standing at the bow of the massive hull of the ship "My Girl"  with his girlfriend - a scene somewhat reminiscent of a very popular movie.


June 9, 2013 at 6:26pm

Words & Video: Salute to Armed Forces Day at Cheney Stadium

The 56th Army Band pumped up the crowd during Salute to Armed Forces Day Sunday, June 9 at Tacoma's Cheney Stadium. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Today was a double-header day of sorts at Cheney Stadium.

On the field, the Tacoma Rainiers lost to the Las Vegas 51s, 7-1. But a good portion of the game's focus was aimed at saluting the armed forces. The Rainiers dedicated the game to the brave men and women of the state's military. The team wore military-themed uniforms that were auctioned off live following the game, with proceeds benefiting the U.S.O. Northwest. The 1-38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team lifted hundreds of kids to the top of their Stryker. Local Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard threw out ceremonial pitches, as well as took the field during the National Anthem. And the 56th Army Band performed just inside the gate before the first pitch was thrown. Check out the video of the band's performance below.

The coolest unveiling during the events at Cheney Stadium was the new P.O.W./M.I.A. seat.

LINK: Photos from Salute to Armed Forces Day at Cheney Stadium

LINK: Recap of the baseball game

May 24, 2013 at 2:52pm

Words & Photos: Tribute to Our Troops at UW Tacoma

Local country musician Jonathan Harris performed at the Tribute to Our Troops event May 23 at the University of Washington Tacoma. Photo credit: Keegan Patterson

When I stepped into the William Philip Hall on the campus of the University of Washington's Tacoma branch, I was immediately greeted by the sound of "The Stars and StripesForever" playing patriotically over the sound system, historical uniforms of distinguished local servicewomen being displayed on my left and a large screen at the back of the hall indicating that this was indeed the 5th annual Tribute to Our Troops event. The University of Puget Sound hosts the event close to Memorial Day weekend inviting sguest speakers and activities "celebrating those who have served or who are currently serving the county through military service," to quote the university's website. Going into the event, I knew little about what I should expect, and when it was over I left the hall deeply moved by the stirring emotion displayed.

The ceremonies opened with an explanatory introduction by Debra Friedman, the chancellor of UW Tacoma, and a formal presentation of colors by the Inter-Tribal Warrior Society Honor Guard, a society made up of Native American veterans. Current and past members of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard in attendance were then honored and recognized by standing when the anthem of their respective military branch was played.


Filed under: Ceremony, Education, Tacoma,

May 18, 2013 at 7:32am

University of Washington Tacoma to host symposium on the strategic rebalance toward Asia-Pacific

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, deputy commanding general, I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord / Photo credit: Christie Vanover, III Corps and Fort Hood Public Affairs

As the Defense Department shifts its military power and presence from a shrinking Middle East war zone to the vast Asia-Pacific region, it also is rebalancing its focus within the increasingly important region. Wednesday, May 22, the University of Washington Tacoma will host a symposium focusing on the United States' strategic rebalance toward Asia-Pacific.

While it will be a moderated discussion with scheduled speakers, there will be time for open questions from the audience as well. Attendees will get to here commentary from Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, deputy commanding general, I Corps, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and Daniel Malarkey, deputy director, Washington State Department of Commerce, as well as high-ranking faculty from the UW.

"Why should Soldiers and Airmen and, really, anyone attend? Because it has to do with the state of Washington, primarily in that it is tied into the current administration's policies regarding the Asian-Pacific region, which is connected to operations at JBLM," explained Col. David Johnson, I Corps spokesperson, who helped to organize the event.

"This symposium will bring this all into context from not only a military perspective but a regional one," he continued. "It is an opportunity to hear from the military, commerce, nonprofits, academia and more - all in one setting."

The symposium will run from 4-6 p.m. at William W. Philip Hall on the UW Tacoma campus. The event is free, but registration is required; click here to sign up.

May 14, 2013 at 7:09pm

"Bayonet" Division leaders meet with Australian army DCG

Australian army Maj. Gen. Richard M. Burr, deputy commanding general of operations, shares his thoughts about the 7th Infantry Division training strategy during a briefing at the Maneuver Combat Training Center, May 14. (Photo credit: Spc. Nathan Goodall,

Leaders with 7th Infantry Division met with Australian army deputy commanding general of operations, Maj. Gen. Richard M. Burr, to observe the 7th Inf. Div. training strategy and discuss initiatives and capabilities of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, during a briefing at the Maneuver Combat Training Center, May 14.

Division leaders briefed Burr on the blending of live, virtual, constructive and gaming (LVCG) training tools to create innovative exercises to meet the needs of the nation.

Through the use of LVCG in mission readiness training exercise, brigades within the division can create complex training while simultaneously minimizing cost.

"Everything becomes live at virtually no cost," said Maj. Damon Durall, 7th Inf. Div. chief of exercises.

While saving money is an important goal, Durall clarified that doing so isn't the focus of the blended training program.


May 7, 2013 at 6:20am

"SERVICE" film examines hidden effects of war on women

Army gunner Sue Downes came home a double-amputee after her tour in Afghanistan

Former Coast Guard Alexis Courneen has a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and crushed nerves in her right arm; (ret.) Army gunner Sue Downes came home a double-amputee after her tour in Afghanistan; Iraq war veteran Layla Mansberger is a Military Sexual Trauma (MST) survivor who suffers with Post Traumatic Stress-Disorder (PTSD).

A new documentary funded by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) entitled, SERVICE: When Women Come Marching Home, followed these Servicemembers and five other female veterans after they redeployed with mental and physical injuries suffered in combat.

"This film captures the unique challenges faced by female Servicemembers when transitioning home," said Alfie Alvarado-Ramos, director of the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs, "but it takes a positive and balanced approach to the issues and shows the fact that there is healing. Female veterans suffered the same wounds in the same war (as men), and despite numerous trials have remained resilient and bounced back - theirs is a story of hope."


Filed under: Tacoma, Veterans, Medical,

May 6, 2013 at 9:41am

Changes, initiatives underway to benefit local veteran population

Home Depot Foundation has pledged $80 million over the next five years to nonprofits that specifically target veteran homelessness.

"The greatest investment in our history, in our veterans, has happened in the past decade," explained Donald Lachman, who has been with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs for the past six years. "Companies and community leaders often ask us how they can help veterans and we are working to facilitate that need and maximize what is already available in the community."

That initiative, to treat the veteran population as a special community and provide them with appropriate resources, is actually being furthered by two large, out-of-state entities.

"We recognized early on that the area around Pierce County was in need of assistance," explained Elisha Harig-Blaine, Senior Associate for Housing (veterans and special needs) at the National League of Cities.


July 25, 2011 at 8:10am

Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passes away at JBLM

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. - Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, who served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997, passed away Saturday morning at Madigan Healthcare System, Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He was 75.
"The entire Joint Base Lewis-McChord community is saddened at the news of Gen. Shalikashvili's passing," JBLM officials said in a statement. "Throughout his career, Gen. Shalikashvili was a tremendous leader and mentor to thousands of servicemen and women, and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff he represented our nation and its military with great dignity and success. Locally, he has been a stalwart supporter to our military community, a trusted adviser to military leaders at the base and a friend to the entire region. He will be missed, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and loved ones."
According to The News Tribune, A public memorial service is scheduled for Aug. 6 at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center downtown. Details of the event will be released this week, a family spokeswoman said, and a funeral service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.

Filed under: Honors, Tacoma,

July 18, 2011 at 4:27pm

The Swiss hosts event to benefit PTSD support programs

The Gritty City Sirens, a burlesque troupe from Tacoma, will host an "evening of panties and scanties" with a performance on Thursday, July 21, at The Swiss, 1904 Jefferson St., in Tacoma.

The lusty ladies of burlesque will be bumping and grinding to an array of American classics spun by DJ Broam with special guests Lusty Zins of Poledello, Hard Money Saints and Dessi De Vine.

At the end of the night, three lucky guys will have a chance to win a date with three of the Sirens. There will also be a raffle, bake sale and auction. A portion of the evening's proceeds will go to support post-traumatic stress disorder treatment for local Servicemembers. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $12 at the door.

Filed under: Food and Drink, Music, Tacoma,

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