print story Print email this story to a friend E-Mail

tool name

tool goes here

News in Brief: Feb. 2, 2018

Published: 02:34PM February 1st, 2018

Washington State House, Senate honor Amtrak first responders

The Washington State legislature invited the first responders and good Samaritans who responded to the Amtrak 501 train derailment Dec. 18 to attend the reading of the Amtrak Response Resolution in the Washington State Capitol in Olympia Wednesday morning.

Among those attending to be recognized were service members and civilians from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Both the Washington State House and Senate adopted a bipartisan resolution to honor all good Samaritans, first responders and government agencies who responded to the derailment that killed three people and injured about 100. Washington State Sen. Steve O’Ban, 28th Legislative District, invited the JBLM members to be on hand for the reading.

Amtrak 501 was making its inaugural run from Tacoma to Portland when the train derailed a mile from the JBLM-DuPont gate. More than 40 service members and civilians from JBLM were the first people on the scene after the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the crash. The NTSB transported the locomotive and all 12 passenger cars of Amtrak 501 to JBLM for the investigation.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs

Interest-free student loans for military service may be available

The Department of Defense is collaborating with the Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs to educate service members and veterans about a significant student loan benefit based on their military service.

Federal law exempts members of the military from paying interest for up to 60 months on certain student loans while serving or having served in an area that qualifies them to receive hostile fire or imminent danger pay. Service members and veterans can also apply retroactively based on previous qualifying military service.

This benefit applies to direct loans or a portion of a direct consolidation loan made on or after Oct. 1, 2008.

“The DOD is excited to collaborate with our federal partners to make sure members of the uniformed services are aware of this education benefit and know how to take advantage of it,” said Fred Drummond, deputy assistant secretary of defense for force education and training. “It’s also important for service members and veterans to know that if they overpaid student loan interest they can take action to get a refund.”

To build awareness of the benefit among military borrowers, the DOD joined forces with Departments of Education and the VA on a multifaceted communications campaign to reach service members and veterans, and their families, through a variety of platforms.

Taking advantage of this student loan benefit is simple and straightforward. Eligible active duty, national guard, and reserve service members and veterans can take these actions to avoid student loan interest:

• Check your loan type and servicer by logging in to “My Federal Student Aid” at

• Contact your loan servicer to find out how to provide a leave and earnings statement showing receipt of hostile fire or imminent danger pay, a certifying official’s statement and signature or military orders showing service in a hostile area.

For more information about the zero percent student loan interest benefit, visit

Department of Defense News Service

Joint Base Lewis-McChord has upcoming late-night firings

Units on Joint Base Lewis-McChord will conduct day, evening and nighttime artillery and mortar training Friday and the next few weeks.

• Mortar training will take place Friday until 11:59 p.m. Training will occur throughout daytime and nighttime hours.

The unit will take part in 60 mm, 81 mm and 120 mm mortar training on JBLM.

• Mortar training will take place Feb. 13 from 7:30 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Training will occur throughout daytime and nighttime hours. The unit will take part in 120 mm mortar training.

• Mortar training will take place from Feb. 20 at 6:30 a.m. to Feb. 23 at 9:30 p.m. Training will occur throughout daytime and nighttime hours. The unit will take part in 60 mm, 81 mm and 120 mm mortar training.

This is required training, which allows military members to practice and improve skills necessary during combat. As often as possible, JBLM conducts larger scale artillery firing and demolition training at the Yakima Training Center in an effort to minimize inconvenience for the surrounding communities. However, some training must take place on base.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs

Construction starts around the Grandstaff Library, Waller Hall

Construction will begin Feb. 9 on the parking lot next to the Grandstaff Library and Waller Hall on Lewis Main. During this time the Grandstaff Library and Waller Hall will be open.

Construction we be conducted in two phases.

• Phase one will begin in the main parking lot located in Front of Grandstaff Library and Waller Hall to include 10th Avenue, which will also be closed down.

During this time, the main entrance to the library will be closed off and access will not be allowed. Patrons will be able to enter the building via the rear entrance located on the opposite side of the building near North Eighth Street. The drive-up access book drop will be relocated to the pass-through located on Pendleton Avenue.

• Phase two of the construction will begin in early summer. The remainder of the parking lot will be upgraded at that time to include parking in front of the Grandstaff Library as well as the end of Waller Hall and America’s Credit Union.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs

2018 AFSA Pitsenbarger Award nominations sought by March 1

Officials are currently accepting nominations for the 2018 Air Force Sergeants Association Pitsenbarger Award. The award will be presented to an Air Force enlisted member who has performed an heroic act between from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2017, on or off duty, which resulted in the saving of life or prevention of serious injury.

Each major command, combatant command, field operating agency or direct reporting unit may submit one enlisted nomination. Nominations are due no later than March 1.

For more information, visit

Air Force News Service