Joint Base Lewis McChord

It’s taking longer for Pierce County to bounce back from the recession than counties to the north, such as King and Snohomish. But economists at Pacific Lutheran University expect the economy in Tacoma and the region to show some improvement this year. 

PLU economists Martin Wurm and Neal Johnson have been crunching the numbers on everything from Pierce County’s housing market to retail sales to come up with an economic forecast. 

Paula Wissel

The state attorney general has compiled a new Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide aimed at helping active-duty soldiers and veterans learn about their legal rights.

Military personnel and veterans have a number of special legal rights when it comes to such things as interest rates on home loans or getting out of rental agreements. The problem, according to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, is too many people are unaware of these protections.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

LAKEWOOD, Wash. – The U-S soldier who allegedly massacred at least 16 Afghan civilians is reported to be from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Soldiers assigned to the base express shock at the violence and concern about retaliation.

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A U.S. official says the American who killed 16 Afghan villagers Sunday is a soldier from Washington who was assigned to a remote special operations site.

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, added that the suspect is married and has two children. He served three tours in Iraq, and had been serving his first deployment in Afghanistan since December.

U.S. officials say the soldier acted alone, leaving his base in southern Afghanistan and opening fire on sleeping families in two villages.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the the Pentagon will propose a $33 billion cut in the military's budget, for the 2013 fiscal year.

The AP reports that will be achieved by reducing ground forces by 100,000 and by eliminating older aircraft.

The AP reports:

"Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tells a Pentagon news conference the administration will request a 2013 budget of $525 billion, plus another $88 billion for operations in Afghanistan. Combined, those totals are about $33 billion less than the Pentagon is spending this year.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

As of this morning, there are fewer than 100 Northwest-based soldiers serving in Iraq. A plane carrying the final large group of returning soldiers touched down at McChord Field near Tacoma at dusk Tuesday. 

The sweetest words for 170 Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers and their families: "Captain, dismissed!"

The U.S. military has spent more than $42 million to test every service member's brain to find out who suffered a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But an investigation by NPR and ProPublica has found that military leaders are refusing to carry out the testing program as Congress ordered. Partly as a result, the program that was supposed to fix things has hardly helped any of the troops.

Courtesy of the U.S. Army

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The credibility of the prosecution's star witness is the key issue at the moment in a war crimes case unfolding at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma. A second pre-trial hearing got underway Thursday for the alleged ringleader of a group of Washington-based soldiers accused of murdering Afghan civilians.

This second hearing is a chance for the defense to call witnesses who were not previously available. Chief among them: Army Private Jeremy Morlock of Wasilla, Alaska.

The White House

President Barack Obama hung the Medal of Honor around the neck of Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry, from the Joint Base Lewis McChord, in a ceremony at the White House today.  Petry is assigned to an Army Rangers regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Paula Wissel/KPLU

A lesbian Air Force Major who was trying to get her job back has decided to retire instead.  Under an agreement reached with the Pentagon, flight nurse Margaret Witt will retire with full benefits and her discharge will be removed from her record.

Biggunben / Flickr

Some Air Force and Army bases in the Northwest are helping with the Libyan fight. Seven tankers and about 100 airmen from Fairchild Air Force Base are already working in undisclosed locations in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn.

Austin Jenkins / N3

A Washington-based soldier has been sentenced to 24-years in prison for killing unarmed civilians in Afghanistan. Specialist Jeremy Morlock pleaded guilty to three counts of premeditated murder and other crimes.

"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.

U.S. Army

Fifty soldiers from Joint Base Lewis McChord have killed themselves since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some committed suicide on-base, others off and still others while deployed overseas.  Leaders at JBLM say they’ve dramatically stepped up efforts to combat suicide. But they admit it’s not easy to change Army culture.

Courtesy of Mary Jaskolski.

It was national news when a Washington-based soldier just back from Afghanistan died in a shootout with police in Salt Lake City. That was in August. Around the same time another soldier from the same brigade also died violently. But his death didn’t get much notice. It happened on a dark two-lane road in rural Wisconsin.  

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