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JBLM's Pride Week cleanup effort takes in big haul

Crews recover eclectic trash from surfboard to empty TOW tubes

Northwest Guardian

Published: 04:15PM May 15th, 2014

Spring Pride Week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord was a big success in terms of recyclable and trash collected last week — thanks in part to downsizing.

Staff Sergeant Dan Wise with the Directorate for Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security said that this spring’s numbers ran higher than last fall's because of the amount of recyclable metal brought in from 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division’s inactivation at JBLM.

Wise said DPTMS foresaw the impact of 4th Bde. units divesting their extra materials even before 2nd Battalion, 1st Cavalry Regiment wheeled to the pickup site outside East Gate and quickly filled the recycle bins by itself.

“You gotta have fun, or else you go crazy,” said JBLM trash investigator Greg Mason before flipping open his phone to clear up the logjam and keep things running smoothly.

Wise said units, agencies and individuals around base dropped off about 63 tons to be hauled away. Half of that was trash; about 15 tons was metal, 14 tons was wood and two tons was yard waste.

There were a few surprises. One of the crews sent out to scour the training areas for trash and material came up with a half-dozen long, dull green hollow tubes that the younger Soldiers at first thought were old rocket tubes for man-portable rocket launchers or something used by a Stryker.

But Wise, a former M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle master gunner, recognized them when he first saw them in the back of Mason’s pickup.

“Expended TOW missile tubes,” he said, patting one. “Haven’t been used since the 90s!”

The “Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided” missile is part of a Bradley’s standard armament, but Wise said JBLM units haven’t used Bradley IFVs for a long time. Bradley crews used the missiles to great effect in Operation Desert Storm.

Eclectic items arrived too. A soccer ball kept active some of the 25 Soldiers managing the site. Ingenious Soldiers turned a surfboard into the roof of a thin rain shelter.

Private First Class Nicole Moore laughed when she saw that. It was the first JBLM spring cleanup for the 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion Soldier.

“You know, in the Army, we have some of the best engineers in the world,” she said.

Moore was a little mystified when she saw bags of old car parts.

“Where do (people) keep leaving these things?” she asked.

Then there were the more mundane items. Someone dumped a car so far off the road that no one could even drive to it; extraction was a project scheduled for later.

A group of 2-1 Cav. Soldiers brought in old weapons cages as they emptied out their headquarters. Pallets, fuel drums, tree branches, all found a home in a LeMay-branded container designated for each specific type of waste.

“We’ve had almost entire houses come through here,” Moore said.

As with all recycling on JBLM, material recycled during Pride Week falls under the Qualified Recycling Program, which pays JBLM for recycling. The money goes to the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

Moore, 22, said she was proud of what they were doing, as she guided vehicles to the proper bins, thanks to her training at JBLM’s Recycling Center. But, she added, JBLM’s very green landscape wasn’t magic.

“There’s a lot of hardworking individuals that put a lot of effort in it,” she said.