Thursday, April 26, 2012

Army Confirms 2-Star for JBLM

Secretary of the Army John McHugh today announced that the Army will establish a new two-star headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), reflecting the installation's growth over the past nine years, as well as its strategic importance in the new Defense Strategic Guidance. 

"This new headquarters will provide command and control for several brigade-size units, many of which have been activated since 2003," McHugh explained during a news conference at JBLM, near Tacoma, Wash.  "Under the leadership of Gen. Ray Odierno, the chief of staff of the Army, and joined by officials from I Corps and U.S. Army Forces Command, the Department of the Army believes this new headquarters will help meet the needs created by the base's nine years of dynamic growth and its evolving future missions." 

McHugh noted that the new headquarters is an internal reorganization within the Army, and will not require an increase to the Army's end-strength. 

"As the Army's only power projection installation west of the Rocky Mountains, JBLM has assumed even greater importance in our new Defense Strategic Guidance," he explained.  "The dynamic growth over the past decade, combined with their regional significance in our ability to protect and defend the Pacific region, makes JBLM's new headquarters important not only to the Army, but also to the nation." 

The new unit will provide oversight for personnel, equipment, training and readiness of three Stryker brigade combat teams, a combat aviation brigade and a fires brigade -- totaling some 17,000 Soldiers.  The I Corps commanding general remains the joint base commander at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the new two-star headquarters will report to I Corps.  The Joint Base Lewis-McChord Garrison Command will continue its joint-installation functions in support of the new headquarters and other tenant units.  

Since 2003, the roles of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord have evolved in a manner to keep pace with significantly changing war-time roles and missions of the Army, Air Force and the Department of Defense (DoD).  Over the past nine years, it has grown by about 15,000 soldiers and 22,000 family members.  During that time, it has also seen the rapid establishment of three Stryker brigade combat teams; and a military construction program totaling $1.75 billion. 

"This has been one of the fastest growing installations in the Army," McHugh said.  "And we've been fortunate that members of Washington State's Congressional delegation – specifically Sen. Patty Murray, Rep. Adam Smith and Rep. Norm Dicks – have worked with us on behalf of JBLM, its soldiers and families, and I'm grateful for their leadership and support." 

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is the largest in size of the DoD's 12 joint bases, and is the second largest in population. The new headquarters' formal activation is scheduled for Oct. 1, 2012, but the unit's personnel and three general officers will begin arriving early this summer.  The new unit will be designated Headquarters, 7th Infantry Division and its commander will be announced at a later date. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chamber Selects 31st Citizen-Airman

It is the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s honor to present the 2012 Howard O. Scott Citizen-Soldier of the Year Award – this year to an U.S. Air Force Reservist – to a Citizen-Airman. The award is sponsored by TriWest Healthcare Alliance.

Staff Sergeant Ralph Godinez is responsible for generating orders for missions and pay for members of his 728th Airlift Squadron, 446th AW, JBLM-McChord Field. 

Col. Bruce Bowers, CO, 446th AW, SSgt. Godinez, Mrs. Amy Godinez.

SSgt. Godinez is currently on full time orders with the 728th Airlift Sqdn., and is an employee of Comcast Cable.

SSgt. Godinez founded CafĂ© dos Ninas, an eight (8)-years running not-for profit coffee retailer located in Graham.100% of the proceeds go to support families affected by Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, with bi-annual funds given to the Evergreen Healthcare Foundation.  Over $20,000 has been donated since its inception.

SSgt. Godinez’s service does not end there.

  • He volunteers time in the Northwest Fellowship Children’s ministry, teaching classes and assisting during busy Sunday school classes.  And, since he’s on their drama team, the 728th Airlift Squadron found he makes an excellent Elvis Santa during their gift exchange.
  • He is also the youth event coordinator at Northwest Fellowship, spending time planning and organizing events such as camping and hiking as well as trips for their youth volunteers at the Tacoma Rescue Mission.
  • He is an active member of the Pioneer Valley Elementary Parent Teacher Association, he has volunteered for the past seven (7) years in the 3rd Grade classroom, helping students strengthen their reading skills, finishing required projects and completing placement exams.
  • He is also a soccer coach for the school, teaching the young players the fundamentals of teamwork and an active lifestyle through sport.
SSgt. Godinez’s compassion, commitment and community impact in Pierce County and beyond makes him deserving of the Citizen-Soldier of the Year Award!

About Howard O. Scott
Each year, the Citizen-Soldier Award memorializes Howard Scott who grew up in Tacoma and served the nation when called upon during World War II—as part of “America’s Greatest Generation.” He returned to succeed as a banker in Tacoma, giving of his time to community service organizations, believing and enjoying this in his belief that doing so is one's responsibility. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

JBLM Unit Up for Afghanistan

The Department of Defense announced today one Army brigade combat team to deploy as part of the upcoming rotation of forces operating in Afghanistan. 

The scheduled early Winter 2012 rotation involves nearly 3,900 soldiers from the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA.

DoD will continue to announce major deployments as they are approved.  For information on this unit, contact Maj. Jennifer Willis, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, at 253-477-2369 or 253-967-5801.

Friday, April 13, 2012

New USS Washington

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today the next five Virginia-class attack submarines will be named the USS Illinois, the USS Washington, the USS Colorado, the USS Indiana, and the USS South Dakota. 

Mabus named the Virginia-class submarines to honor the great contributions and support these states have given the military through the years. None of the five states has had a ship named for it for more than 49 years. 

"Each of these five states serves as home to military bases that support our national defense and provides men and women who volunteer to serve their country," Mabus said.

“This is an exceptional way to recognize the men and women in Washington state who serve our country and to acknowledge the communities surrounding the base that support them in various ways,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “I appreciate that the Navy is honoring us in this way.”

The selection of Washington, designated SSN 787, is the third ship to bear the state name and the state's Puget Sound area, where the Navy's third-largest fleet concentration is located.  Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., is builder for the USS Washington, in partnership with General Dynamics/Electric Boat Corp.

The other states are:  Illinois, designated SSN 786, Colorado, designated SSN 788, Indiana, designated SSN 789, South Dakota, designated SSN 790.

These next-generation attack submarines will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century.  They will have enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements. 

These submarines will have the capability to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces.  Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; mine delivery and minefield mapping.  They are also designed for special forces delivery and support. 

Each Virginia-class submarine is 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Citizen-Soldier Award and Spotlight on Military Families


The Chamber's Military Affairs Forum focuses on two topics:  the annual Howard O. Scott Citizen-Soldier Award for National Guard and Reserve personnel and the spotlight on soldiers and their families in the community.

Needs and Preferences of JBLM Military Personnel and their Families

It is critical for both Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) and the surrounding communities to understand the demographics of military personnel in the South Puget Sound region and their needs and preferences.
But in November 2011, the South Sound Military and Communities Partnership and JBLM conducted a Community Needs Survey of JBLM military personnel and their families to gather a reliable set of baseline data.

Just as community members in the South Sound are culturally and demographically diverse so too are military service members and families in the JBLM region. The survey results both confirm our theories and shatter some stereotypes.

Keynote speakers Tom Knight, Deputy Garrison Commander, JBLM and Dan Penrose, Project Leader, South Sound Military and Community Partnership will present the results of this innovative approach to understanding the needs and preferences of the military personnel and family members in our region.

The Howard O. Scott Citizen Soldier of the Year Award

This 31st annual award will be presented at this Military Affairs by award sponsor TriWest Healthcare Alliance.  The event provides the community the opportunity to honor the dedication and commitment of one of the great heroes of the National Guard and Reserve who protect our freedoms and give back to our communities.

Event Location
Kiwanis Club of Tacoma
La Quinta Inn & Suites
1425 East 27th Street
Tacoma, WA 98421
Date/Time Information
April 24, 2012
11:45 AM - 1:15 PM
Contact Information
Gary Brackett, 253.682.1720
$15.00 Pay at door only

Monday, April 2, 2012

Military Academy Candidate Night

On Tuesday, April 10, Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) will host his annual U.S. Service Academy Night at Columbia Junior High School in Fife.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about obtaining a Congressional Nomination to one of the United States Service Academies and will meet field representatives from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

This informational event is recommended for all high school and middle school students who reside in Washington State’s 9th Congressional District.

Who:  Representatives of U.S. Service Academies, interested students, and parents
What: Informational meeting on U.S. Service Academies
Where: Columbia Junior High School, 2901 54th Ave East, Fife, WA 98424
When:  Tuesday, April 10, 2012 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

For more information about U.S. Service Academy Nominations, please visit