Joint Base Lewis-McChord

MILITARY AND DEFENSE
12:02 pm
Thu May 5, 2011

Lewis-McChord combat vet loses GI Bill for pot and spice

Former combat infantryman Bill Surwillo (left) with battle buddy Nick White.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Here's a soldier's tale. Bill Surwillo deploys to Afghanistan. Nearly a quarter of his platoon is killed. He comes home with PTSD. He turns to marijuana and spice – a synthetic version of the drug – to relax. The Army kicks him out and takes away his GI Bill. Is this fair?

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OSAMA BIN LADEN
9:41 am
Thu May 5, 2011

NW pilots praised for unconfirmed role in bin Laden mission

The U.S. Army’s “Night Stalkers” fly specially modified Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters.
US Navy Chief Intelligence Specialist Louis Fellerman

Washington state senators Wednesday praised Northwest chopper pilots for flying a celebrated mission that no one can confirm they were on. That would be the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.

This much we know: Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma is home to a battalion of the U.S. Army's "Night Stalkers." That's an elite helicopter unit that flies commando and combat rescue missions.

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JBLM Soldier
6:06 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Lone survivor of massive bomb in Afghanistan dies in car crash

Cpl. Roger Scherf Jr. was the sole survivor of a bomb blast in Afghanistan. He died in March in a car accident.
U.S. Army

He was the sole survivor of a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan that killed seven of his comrades and their interpreter. Now, Corporal Roger Scherf, Jr. has also died, the victim of a car accident on an icy highway.

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Military & Defense
2:51 am
Tue March 29, 2011

Rolling Stone releases photos in alleged war crime cases of JBLM soldiers

Rolling Stone magazine has published several more grisly photographs related to the war crimes case unfolding at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The release comes just one week after a German magazine was the first to publish photos. The Army had sought to keep the pictures under wraps for fear they could trigger a backlash against U.S. troops.

Last week’s photographs showed soldiers posing with a dead Afghan named Gul Mudin. Rolling Stone now reports he was an unarmed 15-year old boy, the first of three victims allegedly killed by members of a rogue platoon from Western Washington.

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Army Suicide
8:56 pm
Tue March 1, 2011

Family faults Army in case of AWOL soldier killed by police

U.S. Army

It was a surreal scene last August 27th in downtown Salt Lake City. A soldier - AWOL from his base in Western Washington - emerged from an underground parking lot. He was dressed head-to-toe in combat gear and carrying a rifle.

Seconds later the soldier was dead. Now, an internal Army investigation has found shortcomings in how the case was handled. The family of Specialist Brandon Barrett blames the Army for not intervening sooner.

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD
10:59 am
Tue February 15, 2011

Obama's budget plan would boost JBLM construction

Army Col. Thomas Brittain, (r), and Air Force Col. Kenny Weldon, (r), shake hands upon the merger of Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base into Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Feb. 2010.
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.

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News Roundup
7:08 am
Tue February 8, 2011

Tuesday morning's headlines

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Feds Need to Help I-5 Mess near Lewis-McChord Base
  • Bellevue Business Giant Resigns Over Eastside Light Rail
  • Election Day for Pierce Transit, Some Schools

 

Pentagon Should Help Fix JBLM Traffic Mess: Report

A new report on the impact of military bases to their local communities recommends the Pentagon pony up for traffic improvements - including I-5 upgrades - along Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The National Research Council study is detailed by reporter Adam Ashton in The News Tribune:

The report shows that the U.S. military is spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to improve Lewis-McChord, but not on off-base roadwork. The military spent $1.8 billion on capital projects at the base over the past three years, and it plans to spend another $2 billion over the next five.

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News Roundup
7:09 am
Mon February 7, 2011

Monday morning's headlines

A change of command ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma. The News Tribune reports thousands of soldiers were deployed overseas at the time of the recent U.S. Census, affecting true population counts in many Pierce County communities.
AP

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Prison Guard's Memorial Tomorrow
  • Pierce County Misses Out on Thousands in Census Count
  • Seattle Planning for Memorial to Native Woodcarver

 

Service for Officer Jayme Biendl on Tuesday

Thousands of mourners are expected at Everett's Comcast Center tomorrow for Officer Jayme Biendl's memorial. The Monroe Correctional Center guard was killed two weeks ago in the prison's chapel. An inmate, serving a three-strikes felony life term remains the prime suspect. The Herald of Everett reports the service will touch many lives, and many Snohomish County communities:

A motorcade is planned, with the route visiting the Monroe Correctional Complex where Biendl worked and then heading into Everett on U.S. 2. That journey is expected to last from about 10:30 am. to noon.

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News Roundup
6:59 am
Mon January 31, 2011

Monday morning's headlines

Making headlines this morning around the Northwest:

  • Prison guard death first in 30 years
  • Details on Anti-War Protester Spying 
  • Suicide Prevention Fence for Olympia I-5 Bridge

 

Monroe Guard's Death

Shock and sadness over the murder of a Monroe Reformatory guard dominate western Washington headlines.  Jayme Biendl was killed late Saturday night while on duty in the prison chapel. An inmate - three-strikes  lifer Byron Scherf - is the lone suspect. 

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U.S. Military
5:06 pm
Thu January 27, 2011

Possible deal for soldier accused in Afghan War crimes

Spc. Jeremy Morlock.
US Army

There's been a significant development in the case of five Washington-based soldiers accused of killing unarmed Afghan civilians last year. The Washington Post reports a plea deal has been struck with one of the key defendants. But an Army spokesman cautions nothing's been finalized. 

The Post, citing an anonymous source, says Specialist Jeremy Morlock has agreed to a deal that would spare him the possibility of life in prison.

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Army Hearings at Joint Base Lewis-McChord
6:22 am
Wed November 24, 2010

Army leadership subject of 5th stryker brigade inquiry

The military court building at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. An Article 32 hearing, similar to a grand jury investigation, is being held inside the building.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Was there a breakdown of leadership in the 5th Stryker Brigade from Joint Base Lewis-McChord? That question is central to a month-old Army review that’s just now coming to light. It’s the latest development in the case against a dozen soldiers recently back from Afghanistan – including five who’ve been charged with murder.

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Military Justice
9:06 am
Mon November 15, 2010

Army hearings continue into Afghan civilian killings

PFC Andrew Holmes of Boise, Idaho, is charged with murder and other crimes
US Army

Private First Class Andrew Holmes of Boise joined the Army the day he turned 18. That was two years ago. By his 19th birthday he was fighting in Afghanistan. But he turned 20 this past August locked-up in an Army brig in Western Washington.

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