Joint Base Lewis-McChord

The Army is deploying 200 soldiers to help fight wildfires that are burning through about 1.1 million acres across the Western United States. That's according to a press release from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

"It's been nine years since wildfire was so widespread all at once that active military troops joined firefighters battling blazes," NPR's Howard Berkes reports. "Four military C-130 cargo planes are also in use as air tankers."

Amidst further downsizing confirmed by the U.S. Army Thursday, the Washington National Guard got good news. The Guard’s 81st Armored Brigade announced it will shed its heavy tanks and armor to convert into a more nimble Stryker configuration.

Soldiers prepare for static-line jumps from Blackhawk helicopters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in this photo dated June 17, 2015.
Flickr Photo/JBLM PAO (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Washington's Joint Base Lewis McChord will lose more than a thousand soldiers under a restructuring plan announced Thursday by the Defense Department. Local leaders say it could have been much worse.

A still from the trailer for "Kill Team."
YouTube

Marcie Sillman talks with filmmaker Dan Krauss about his new documentary, "The Kill Team." The film features the story of Private Adam Winfield, who attempted to warn the military of war crimes against innocent civilians in Afghanistan. He later plead guilty to involvement in a killing and was sentenced for three years in prison.

Smoking tobacco
Flickr Photo/Laurence Currie-Clark (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Washington state considers raising the minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21 -- the highest in the country. Plus: deflated footballs, deflated employment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Seattle’s cutest mobster and a sad farewell to talking about the Kalakala ferry. 

Bill Radke’s guests this week include KUOW reporter Deborah Wang, Crosscut’s Knute Berger, Jonathan Martin of the Seattle Times and KUOW reporter Patricia Murphy.

File photo of Joint Base Lewis-McChord headquarters.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

It was standing room only at times as around 500 people turned out to voice their concerns to Army leaders about possible cuts at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Wednesday night. 

The base has more than 27,000 active duty soldiers and 13,000 civilians. The cuts as proposed would eliminate up to 90,000 positions worldwide. For JBLM, that could mean up to 11,000 soldiers and civilians out of work.

Officials at JBLM say the cuts will likely happen this fall after a decision by the Army in late summer.

Sixteen people being monitored at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the Ebola virus have been cleared by medical personnel.  

The 15 service members and one civilian returned last month from a mission to Liberia in support of Operation United Assistance. 

The group celebrated Thanksgiving in isolation during their 21 days of controlled monitoring.  They were checked twice daily for signs of the virus by Army medical personnel.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle is one of five bases nationwide that will keep troops returning from West Africa in a controlled monitoring environment for 21 days after they return.

(Stephen Brashear/AP Images for U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Thousands of veterans and service members preparing to leave the military are expected at Joint Base Lewis-McChord this week for a three-day summit.

The Army Surgeon General Thursday suspended the commander in charge of Army hospitals in 20 western states.

Washington Congressman Denny Heck said the Department of Health and Human Services is no longer seeking facilities for temporary shelters for refugee children at Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Heck, who represents the 10th Congressional District which includes JBLM, said he trusts the department to make the right decisions about what facilities are best for the refugee children, but adds that he will continue to push for what he calls common sense, comprehensive immigration reform.

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool

Hundreds of immigrant children held at the southern border could be moved to a military base near Tacoma.

Federal and local officials plan to discuss the option Wednesday.

Marcie Sillman talks with Joint Base Lewis-McChord's transition services manager, Robin Baker, about the programs the base offers to help veterans transition to civilian life. Also, we hear from Sgt. Richard Larimer about his upcoming entrance into the civilian sector for the first time.

A preliminary military hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington continues today to determine whether then-staff sergeant (now sergeant first class) Michael Barbera should face a court-martial in the March 2007 slayings of two unarmed Iraqi brothers.

The brothers were herding cattle in Diyala Province, near where Barbera’s Army reconnaissance team was hiding. Prosecutors say the boys posed no threat, but that Barbera went down on one knee, pointed his rifle, and killed them anyway.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Ross Reynolds speaks with Adam Ashton, military reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune, about the Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's proposed Pentagon budget cuts and how it would impact local military communities.

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