By Don KramerJanuary 29, 2010
FORT LEWIS, Wash. - Joint Base Lewis-McChord will begin its history at 10 a.m. Monday when Col. Thomas H. Brittain cases the colors of Fort Lewis' U.S. Army Garrison and unfurls those of the Joint Base Garrison.
Brittain and Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew D. Barnes will perform the ceremony at JBLM Headquarters, Building 1010, at the intersection of Liggett and Kaufman avenues. The new joint-base headquarters will overwatch an intersection that links approaches to North Fort, now called JBLM North, main post, now JBLM Main, and the DuPont Gate. McChord Air Force Base will be known as JBLM McChord Field.
After the ceremony, Brittain will deliver information briefings at Carey Theater at 3:30 p.m. and McChord Theater at 1:30 p.m. to apprise the internal workforce, civilian and uniformed, Air Force and Army, of new requirements.
The McChord briefing will be hosted by Col. Kenny Weldon, JBLM deputy commander.
"The presentations following the ceremony Monday are focused on describing what our joint base initial operational capability means to the workforce, in terms of changes to the organization and the Joint Base Garrison's responsibilities," said J.C. Mathews, U.S. Army Garrison public affairs officer. "Colonel Brittain and Colonel Weldon envision our joint base as a world-class installation that Soldiers and Airmen come to regard as the station of choice, and they're looking forward to describing that vision for our workforce."
Monday marks the arrival IOC for JBLM, a transition period lasting eight months until Oct. 1, when Full Operational Capability is reached with all milestones and objectives completed. The eight months of IOC will be divided into three phases during which increasingly complex units will integrate and take their places in the joint base structure.
Signs will go up on Monday, letterheads will change and calendars will consolidate. Some smaller, less complex organizations will begin merging immediately during Phase 1.
The installation will also unveil a new Web site on Monday. The Web address for the site will be http://www.lewis-mchord.army.mil. Also beginning Monday, visitors to the former Fort Lewis home page will be automatically referred to the joint base site.
Otherwise, if things go according to plan with installation services and support, there should be little else to call attention to this historic day. It was designed to be an understated beginning for the joint base.
"We sincerely believe that this is a natural step, the right thing to do," said Brittain. "We've fought together with the Air Force in any number of locations and now we're going to live and train together. In the process, we're going to become more efficient and effective. We absolutely think that the sum is going to be greater than the parts."
Don Kramer is a reporter with Fort Lewis' Northwest Guardian.