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Army says Joint Base Lewis-McChord will not be permanent home for rocket system training

U.S. Marines with Battery F, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, fire multiple rockets from an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket system (HIMAR) during a firing exercise on Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 16, 2017.

JUSTIN X. TOLEDO/U.S. MARINE CORPS

By ADAM LYNN | The News Tribune (Tribune News Service) | Published: March 2, 2017

The U.S. Army has decided that Joint Base Lewis-McChord will not be a permanent training site for a mobile rocket system called HIMARS, a decision sure to please neighbors who’d worried about increased noise, including the Nisqually tribe.

In a statement issued Thursday, JBLM commander Col. Daniel S. Morgan said the Army has decided to pursue other training priorities at the base, even though tests conducted in the fall showed HIMARS firings were within acceptable noise levels.

He did not specify what the other training priorities are.

“Although the noise study states, ‘HIMARS would not produce noise levels which exceed those from existing training activities here at JBLM,’ we have other emerging priorities that we must put our efforts and resources toward at this time,” Morgan said.

The Army took into account opposition to the added training from some neighbors of the base, he said.

“We also felt it was important to consider input from our community partners as well before making this decision,” Morgan said. “We couldn’t have gotten to this point without the support of the communities that surround JBLM.”

That includes the Nisqually tribe, whose reservation abuts the base.

Tribal leaders opposed adding HIMARS training at JBLM and tried to get the autumn tests stopped. Tribal officials said the noise was disruptive and eroded reservation residents’ quality of life.

The Army typically has trained with HIMARS, a truck-mounted missile system, at its Yakima Training Center. It was considering moving that training to JBLM to reduce costs and logistical hassles.

Military officials said they intend to keep the results of the noise study on file “should the concept be revisited based on emerging requirements and priorities.

©2017 The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)
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