Joint Base Lewis-McChord

A case that featured harrowing testimony of combat-related mental illness ended Monday with a guilty verdict. Army Sergeant John Russell was convicted for murdering five fellow servicemen at a military mental health clinic in Baghdad in 2009.

A military judge found the 48-year-old Texas native guilty of premeditated murder. A public affairs spokesman at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma says Sergeant Russell showed no visible reaction.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The Defense Department has suspended a workplace benefit cherished by many soldiers, airmen and Coast Guardsmen. The agency has put tuition assistance on indefinite hold because of the automatic federal budget cuts known as the "sequester."

The paychecks of active duty military are exempt from the across-the-board federal budget cuts. But some of their fringe benefits are not, as we're now finding out.

At Joint Base Lewis-McChord, I Corps Command Sergeant Major John Troxell says the suspension of tuition assistance stings. "This was a benefit, not an entitlement."

U.S. Army

For the first time, the U-S Army is confirming it was a midair collision that brought down two helicopters last December at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The results of an internal investigation into the crash that killed four pilots was released Monday. It blames pilot error, not a mechanical failure.

The two Kiowa Warrior reconnaissance helicopters were on a nighttime training mission last December 12th. According to the investigation, one of the helicopters flew directly into the side of the second chopper bringing both aircraft to the ground.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Nearly four thousand Northwest-based soldiers are about to deploy for nine months to Afghanistan. The Army’s 2nd Stryker Brigade received a formal send off Friday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma Washington. The departure comes amid continuing fallout from the case of suspected Afghan shooter Sgt. Robert Bales. 

As an Army band played, soldiers in fatigues lined up by battalion on a parade field. In the stands sat, proud and worried family members like Wendy Mertka. She fought back tears as she spoke of her son’s first deployment.

Soldiers At Lewis-McChord Shocked After Afghan Massacre

Mar 12, 2012
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, near Tacoma, Washington.   Soldiers assigned to the base express shock at the violence and concern about retaliation.

One Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade is already in Afghanistan. Another is on its way soon. At a uniform alterations shop near post, Army rucksacks ready to go line the floor and a steady stream of soldiers come in to pick up their battle ready uniforms.