Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Proposed Actions at Ft. Lewis & YTC

The showing was light from community interests at the Ft. Lewis public meeting for presentation and comments about alternatives to increase post strength up to 5,700 soldiers and 110 helicopters.

Army personnel easily outnumbered the citizenry at 11 informational displays (scoping posters) that discussed each alternative from zero change up to the potentially cumulative increase. The Army was forthright in identifying both significant impacts and proposed mitigation for those impacts.

While written or oral comments were accepted last night, those interested may still make comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) no later than (received or postmarked) October 26, 2009.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Strategic Location Between Bases

Woodbrook has already been talked about as an industrial park that has the synergy for military contractors creating more military innovation and development.

Last year, the Port of Tacoma and City of Lakewood funded a study of Woodbrook’s redevelopment potential. Already 20 of 117 A. have been acquired for redevelopment by a single developer. The study recommends relocation of Woodbrook Middle School and the ASAP construction of the Cross-Base Highway segment from 146th St. SW to Fort Lewis. That could create up to 4,500 jobs and an assessed value of $184 million.

The Woodbrook Business Park Report is available here.

David Bugher, Asst. City Manager, City of Lakewood, will report on the proposed Woodbrook Business Park. The meeting details:

Date & Time: Wednesday, October 14, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Place: Best Western Tacoma Dome Hotel
2611 East E Street, Tacoma 98421
Price: $14.00 with RSVP. Non-reserved attendance: $16.00
RSVP: DUE 12 noon, Oct. 9. (Friday)
Register: Rose Crist, 253.627.2175 or online.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Magna Cum Laude In Deed

The University of Washington will honor eight Medal of Honor recipients who are also UW alumni with a new, prominent memorial to be dedicated this Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

University research indicates that the UW has more Medal of Honor recipients among its alumni than any other public university outside the service academies.

The memorial will be a permanent, powerful reminder of the extraordinary things that can happen when ordinary people take action, UW President Mark Emmert said.

Members of the armed forces, both active and retired, as well as the general public are encouraged to attend the dedication. Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. with a parade down Memorial Way that will include bands, veterans groups and a military color guard.

Entirely funded by private contributions, the $152,000 monument will be near two existing war memorials. The first, Memorial Way, begins at the Northeast 45th Street entrance to the university and was created with 58 London Plane Trees honoring UW faculty, students and alumni who died in World War I. At the end of Memorial Way, just beyond the traffic circle where the Medal of Honor memorial will be, is the campus flagpole bearing names of faculty, staff, students and alumni who died in World War II.

Mike Magrath, a UW visiting scholar in sculpture and public art, led the team that designed the monument. It includes Heidi Wastweet, a Seattle sculptor, and Dodi Fredericks, a landscape architect.

Their design will be anchored by a five-point star, similar to the medal star, inset into the traffic circle. At the north point of the circle will be the book stone. On the exterior, it’s a plain serpentine stone that sat for years, largely ignored, outside the UW sculpture studio on lower campus. But split open like a book and polished, Wastweet said, the stone glows like ordinary people courageous enough to do something extraordinary for their fellow human beings.

The book stone includes each Medal of Honor recipient’s name, rank, award year and years at UW. A basalt column in front of the stone will feature the face of Minerva, goddess of both wisdom and war also pictured on the medal. We want to inspire students who walk around and through the memorial, Wastweet said. We want them to think that if these alumni could do extraordinary feats, then they can, too.

Near those main rocks will be four sentinel stones surrounding one with bronze wording from the recipients’ Medal citations. We found that no image was as powerful as details of what those men did, Wastweet said.

Since 1862, when the Medal of Honor was first awarded, more than 3,467 U.S. soldiers have received it, at least 620 posthumously.

The UW memorial grew out of a Student Senate motion that set aside a proposed memorial to UW alumnus Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps. The Student Senate favored a memorial recognizing all UW Medal of Honor recipients.

The other seven UW alumni who have received the medal are:
Deming Bronson, First Lieutenant, U.S. Army
Robert E. Galer, Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps
Bruce Crandall, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army
John D. "Bud" Hawk, Sergeant, U.S. Army
Robert Leisy, Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army
William Kenzo Nakamura, Private First Class, U.S. Army
Archie Van Winkle, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps

Funding for the memorial included a match program with TriWest Healthcare Alliance and the Bruce and Jolene McCaw Family Foundation.

The monument honors those who fought not for medals but to save the lives of their comrades. Their courage and selflessness reflects the American spirit, said David J. McIntyre Jr., president and chief executive officer of TriWest.

For more information about the memorial, visit here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Noteworthies With a Local Link

John McHugh has assumed duties as Secretary of the Army. The Department of the Army announced Monday that he was sworn in as the 21st Secretary of the Army at a Pentagon ceremony that morning.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Alphabet Soup Means Potential Job$

Three public meetings are scheduled for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Fort Lewis Army Growth and Force Structure Realignment (GTA DEIS).

The three meetings are:

September 29
Lacey Community Center
6729 Pacific Ave., SE
Lacey, WA 98503

September 30
6pm - 8pm
Hal Holmes Community Center
209 North Ruby Street
Ellensburg, WA 98926

October 1
6pm - 8pm
Howard Johnson Plaza
9 North 9th Street
Yakima, WA 98901

The GTA DEIS analyzes the potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts of implementing the Army's stationing and realignment decisions i the 2007 "Grow the Army" Programmatic EIS and other ongoing initiatives affecting Fort Lewis and the Yakima Training Center. The actions analyzed are:
  1. increase active duty strength at Ft. Lewis by about 1,900 soldiers;
  2. stationing about 1,000 Combat Service Support soldiers of quartermaster, medical, transportation, headquarters or other CSS units;
  3. stationing of a medium Combat Aviation Brigade of about 2,800 soldiers and 110 helicopters.
These actions can be taken independently of one another.
Comments must be received or postmarked by October 26 to be fully considered. Written comments or requests for more info to:
Department of the Army, Public Works, ATTN: IMWE-LEW-PWE (B Van Hoesen), Bldg. 2012 Liggett Ave., Box 339500, MS 17, Fort Lewis, WA 98433-9500
Mr. Bill Van Hoesen or fax: 253-966-4985.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Noteworthies With a Local Link

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced today the following assignment:

Rear Adm. (lower half) Scott H. Swift, who has been selected for promotion to rear admiral, will be assigned as director for operations, J3, U.S. Pacific Command, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Swift is currently assigned as commander, Carrier Strike Group Nine, Everett, Wash.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More Again

Once again, the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense panel has called for more C-17s.

The Air Force reports that on Wednesday, the panel added $2.5 billion to its version of the Fiscal 2010 defense spending bill to buy 10 C-17 transports that the Obama Administration did not request. Pentagon leaders want to stop C-17 production at current levels (205-aircraft program of record, plus eight more funded in 2009 war supplemental).

But panel chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said during the markup session that he believes that DOD "will eventually conclude" that buying more C-17s and keeping an active production line is "the right solution." The House version of the spending bill includes money for three C-17s. If this mark survives the full Senate, then the two Congressional chambers would hash out the final number in conference.

Neither the House nor Senate included funds for more C-17s in their respective Fiscal 2010 defense authorization bills. (Inouye statement and Subcommittee markup summary)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Know What You Want Before You Ask

The first community checkup on the DoD/OEA (Office of Economic Adjustment) community planning grant was presented to a joint meeting of the Tacoma-Pierce County and Lakewood Chambers' Military Affairs Committees this morning.

Dan Penrose, Project Manager for the City of Lakewood, the designated regional lead agency, gave members an overview of the significance of the defense industry presence in the South Sound region.

Actually a set of two grant awards, Lakewood is addressing I-5 transportation alternatives and a growth coordination plan. The transportation alternatives grant was begun in March 2009 with a final report expected Summer 2010. The $1.3 million growth coordination plan award was made in August 2009 with project completion planned for December 2010.

Although these planning dollars don't fix our physical infrastructure needs, they are a first step in getting them "shovel-ready," for the documented "ask" the community will need to prepare for our Congressional delegation.