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The rise of the joint base

New decade ushers in big name change

An iconic photo for Joint Basing shows Col. Thomas Brittain, right, shaking hands with his new deputy Col. Jerry Weldon. U.S. Army photo

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Goodbye North Fort Lewis, Main Post, even McChord Air Force Base, as the second decade of the 21st century began, so did a major name change at Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base.  As a result of the Base Realignment and Closure process, the Evergreen Post became Joint Base Lewis-McChord, as well as, JBLM-Main, McChord Field and JBLM-North. The support functions, or typical garrison functions, as well as the property on both installations, fell under the command and ownership of the Army.

Commanding the new joint base is a U.S. Army garrison commander, an 0-6 position with a deputy JBG, an 0-6 Air Force position.  The deputy supports the joint base commander, as well as serves as the point of contact for Air Force commanders when it comes to problems related to support functions.

The joint base headquarters also moved into Building 1010, which for years had been home to the 4th Region ROTC command.  Building 1010 was the original headquarters building for Fort Lewis, dating back to the late 1920s.  President Dwight Eisenhower reportedly served in that building as a staff officer with the 3rd Infantry Division prior to World War II.

The changes took effect with a ceremony Feb. 1, 2010.

"This represents our future, represents our making history," Col. Thomas Brittain, the first garrison commander for the joint base, said at the time.

In other news ...

While the entire story of this decade still remains to be told, in all, Joint Base Lewis-McChord has operated at a high tempo these past seven years as units and air crews continue to move back and forth from here and the Middle East, but also, this base has been a major participant in what President Barrack Obama once labeled the Pivot to the Pacific.  Corps, divisional and air units have been actively involved in training events around the Pacific Rim, and or hosting coalition partners here and at the Yakima Training Center.

For years, beginning in the 1990s, all ROTC cadets across the country came to Fort Lewis for annual summer training.  That program moved to Fort Knox in 2014.

Finally, since the war started in 2001, the troop population has steadily grown to 45,000 troops.  Budget cuts trimmed that number closer to 40,000 when the 4th Stryker Brigade inactivated in March 2014.

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