JBLM has troops in the neighborhood of Middle East fighting
By Adam Ashton | The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) | Published: June 21, 2014
TACOMA, Wash. — Some Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers are serving in the neighborhood of the increased fighting between Islamist militants and the Iraqi government.
A JBLM artillery battalion recently participated in an exercise with the Royal Jordanian Army and it remains stationed in the region.
The 1st Battalion, 94th Artillery Regiment left JBLM with 300 soldiers in December on a nine-month deployment to the Middle East. It is to be replaced this summer by a sister unit from JBLM, the 5th Battalion, 3rd Artillery Regiment.
President Obama on Thursday announced that he would send some 300 military advisers to Iraq. The U.S. has about another 300 troops in the area protecting the embassy in Baghdad.
Most JBLM soldiers heading overseas these days are serving either in Afghanistan, the Philippines or partnering with Pacific allies on training missions.
The JBLM artillery battalion in Jordan fires the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HiMARS). Jordan also has a HiMARS battalion. Soldiers from the two countries trained together during this month’s exercise, known as Operation Eager Lion.
“The partnership is very clear. When we first came it was two sides, now everybody shakes hands upon seeing each other and ask how each others’ families are,” Lt. Randall Thomas told an Army public affairs writer. “It’s a good partnership that should last quite a while. They were asking to come to the United States to do another exercise with us.”
JBLM’s chief artillery headquarters, the 17th Fires Brigade, also is serving in the Middle East.