JBLM

Courtesy of Zach Powers / Pacific Lutheran University

Lt. Col. Celia FlorCruz, 55, has done a lot in her life. She graduated from West Point at a time when women were just being allowed in. She flew a Medevac helicopter in a war zone. She’s now a top officer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and is married to JBLM I Corps Deputy Commander Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl.

What she’s never done, until now, is speak about her personal experience as a victim of sexual assault, both in college and in the U.S. Army. 

U.S. Army

The death of a soldier based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord over the weekend highlights the danger of training for war. Private Andrew Sass was killed Saturday in an incident at the National Training Center in California.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A $2 million bail has been set for a soldier accused of fatally stabbing a fellow serviceman near a large Army base in Washington state.

Prosecutors charged Jeremiah Hill, 23, with first-degree murder, saying he approached 20-year-old Spc. Tevin Geike and attacked him just as a verbal confrontation between two groups was calming down. The bail was set at a Tuesday afternoon court hearing.

Three Washington-based soldiers are in jail in connection with the stabbing death of a fellow soldier over the weekend. The arrests came after the soldier who allegedly wielded the knife sought medical treatment for a cut to his hand.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

At a White House ceremony Monday, President Barack Obama bestowed the Medal of Honor on Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, a Spokane native currently stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Carter was honored for his actions during the 2009 Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan.  President Obama said Carter repeatedly put his own life on the line to save others. But Obama also talked of Carter's courage in another battle, a battle here at home.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

The Army plans to eliminate one of the Stryker brigades at Joint Base Lewis-McChord as part of the reduction in forces as the war in Afghanistan comes to a close.

Congressman Denny Heck was briefed on the plan Tuesday and announced the 4th Stryker Brigade would be deactivated.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

A military judge has found Army Sgt. John Russell guilty of premeditated murder in the 2009 killings of five fellow service members at a combat stress clinic in Iraq.

Russell now faces a sentencing phase to determine whether he will face life in prison with or without the possibility of release.


JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - The Pentagon's decision to allow women in combat roles has some female soldiers rethinking their career trajectories.


Army Spc. Heidi Olson received a Purple Heart last year for shrapnel injuries she got during a foot patrol in Afghanistan. She feels she's earned the right to call herself a combat medic.


"Originally as a female, I wasn't allowed to be titled as a combat medic," Olson says. "It was a 'health care specialist.'"

The top forces commander at Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord has decided to seek the death penalty against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. He’s the 39-year old soldier accused of murdering 16 Afghan civilians earlier this year.

Bales is accused of conducting two predawn raids on villages in southern Afghanistan. The victims were mostly women and children and the Army says some of the bodies were burned. Prosecutors had asked for a death penalty trial and top commanders at Lewis-McChord agreed.

An Army combat engineer has become the 12th Washington-based soldier to die in Afghanistan this year. The pace of deaths has picked up in recent weeks as the summer fighting season begins.

The Army says Sgt. 1st Class Barett McNabb was killed by an improvised explosive device. He was on his fourth deployment, but his first to Afghanistan.

McNabb is just the latest soldier from Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord to die in Afghanistan. May was the deadliest month so far this year with six soldier deaths.

As of Tuesday, nearly all of Joint Base Lewis McChord's soldiers will have left Iraq. 

A group of 170 soldiers is returning to JBLM on Tuesday. It includes members of the 17th Fires Brigade and 62nd Medical Brigade. Their charter flight arrives at McChord Field at 4 p.m.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – A 21-year-old soldier from Boise has pleaded guilty to unpremeditated murder of an unarmed Afghan civilian.

Private First Class Andrew Holmes entered his plea Thursday as part of an agreement with prosecutors. The deal spares him a possible mandatory life sentence.

Northwest News Network

NEAR JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Some anti-war veterans – and an Army widow – are demanding a Congressional investigation into an apparent spike in suicides at Joint Base Lewis-McChord . So far this year nine soldiers are believed to have killed themselves, including five in the month of July alone.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — A soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McChord died Saturday of combat injuries in Afghanistan.

The Defense Department says 27-year-old Staff Sgt. Michael W. Hosey, 27, of Birmingham, Ala., was fatally injured when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

Hosey was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group.

Northwest News Network

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – More than 26-hundred National Guard soldiers from Oregon, Idaho and Montana are returning home from a year long deployment to Iraq . Their first stop is Joint Base Lewis-McChord where last year guard members complained they were treated like second class soldiers.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — Visitors to Joint Base Lewis-McChord now have to be sponsored by a Defense Department identification card holder to enter the base near Tacoma.

Ted S. Warren / AP

A German news publication says it’s obtained a copy of a secret Army investigation into leadership problems within the 5th Stryker Brigade. One soldier from this Joint Base Lewis-McChord based unit has pleaded guilty. Four others are charged with war crimes including the murder of innocent Afghan civilians. 

AP

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Push to Preserve Iconic Seattle PI Globe
  • Warnings of Phone Scams
  • Plea Deal for JBLM Soldier Likely for Afghan War Crimes

 

It's About the PI

Some Seattle City Council members are concerned the iconic globe atop the seattlepi.com offices on the city's central waterfront may go away if it's not protected. They're considering landmark status for neon-lighted orb that has been spinning for 63 years. It has survived the company's shift from daily newspaper to a smaller, online-only venture.

"Very disappointing." That's how Oregon Senator Ron Wyden describes a series of Army investigations into the treatment of injured Oregon National Guard soldiers last year. Those inquires conclude the Oregon troops were not treated as second class soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Construction at Joint Base Lewis-McChord would increase further if Congress adopts President Obama's 2012 budget proposal.

The News Tribune reports that the spending plan released Monday would set aside more than $300 million for construction at the base south of Tacoma, up from about $172 million in the 2011 budget proposal Congress has yet to approve.

Northwest soldiers are expressing mixed opinions over the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The U-S Senate voted over the weekend to end the 17-year old policy that allows gays to serve, but not openly. The bill now goes to the President.

If you've been stuck in traffic jams on I-5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord recently, you're not alone. The back-ups are an almost daily occurrence since thousands of soldiers returned from deployments. The race is on to come up with some long-term solutions, not only to the transportation troubles but to education and social service demands. That's because military analysts predict an additional 14,000 more soldiers and their families will arrive by 2015.