Thousands of Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers are starting 2016 away from home at a mix of training exercises on the West Coast and in Hawaii.
The warmest ones are about 60 soldiers in an Apache helicopter squadron from JBLM’s 16th Combat Aviation Brigade who are working with Hawaii-based partners for the next six months.
They’re at Wheeler Army Air Field on Schofield Barracks to help the 25th Infantry Division prepare for the addition of its own Apache squadron and to be on hand for military exercises in the region.
The biggest exercise for JBLM soldiers this month is taking place at the National Training Center in the Mojave Desert, where the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division has thousands of soldiers participating in a one-month test of their readiness for combat.
They’re joined by the 7th Infantry Division’s artillery command, more crews from the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade and JBLM’s 555th Engineer Brigade.
In central Washington, parts of JBLM’s 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division are at the Yakima Training Center. They’ve been posting pictures to their social media accounts showing soldiers maneuvering around snow-topped slopes.
Hundreds of other soldiers from the 1st Brigade are expected to leave the country within the next few weeks for a series of exercises called Pacific Pathways in Japan, Thailand and the Philippines.