Cantwell, Murray Applaud Decision to Bring New Brigade to Joint Base Lewis McChord

1,400 soldiers to form new aviation brigade at JBLM, bring continued growth to the third largest employer in WA state

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statements in response to the U.S. Army’s decision to consolidate existing aviation units to form a Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) at Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM). The move, which will occur during FY 2011 and is expected to be completed by FY 2014, will bring an estimated 1,400 new soldiers and 44 helicopters to JBLM.

Said Senator Cantwell:“The announcement by the Pentagon to form a new Combat Aviation Brigade at Joint Base Lewis McChord is welcome news for the third largest employer in the state and the largest military installation west of the Mississippi. This decision underscores the importance of JBLM to our national defense and is a testament to the talented men and women that are stationed there and the civilians that support them on base. Just over the past seven years, JBLM has grown from 32,700 total military and civilian personnel to now more than 50,000 stationed at the base; a 43 percent increase.

“With the addition of this brigade over the next few years, Pierce County and surrounding areas will see approximately 1,400 new soldiers and their families join the community, which will bring more dollars into the local economy and contribute to the already growing economic impact of JBLM.”

Said Senator Murray: “I’m very excited to see that JBLM will be expanding once again by adding this critical aviation brigade. This will add an important new capability to the team at our state’s largest military installation. But as the base continues to grow we also need to grow our efforts to care for the servicemembers and their families who make their home on and around the base.

“That means addressing our infrastructure needs along I-5, ensuring that services at Madigan keep pace with new demands, and making sure local schools have what they need to deliver for the children of our men and women in uniform.

“We can’t ever forget that the quality of life for our servicemembers is directly connected to the health and well-being of their families.”