The history of Joint Base Lewis-McChord

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December 04, 2013

Since 2003, WWE’s Superstars and Divas have performed for the valiant men and women of the U.S. military in Iraq, Afghanistan and military bases across the United States. Since bringing the annual event stateside in 2010, service members stationed at Fort Hood, Tex., Fort Bragg., Ga., and Virginia’s Norfolk Naval Station have experienced the excitement of WWE with their friends and families firsthand. WWE Tribute to the Troops 2013 continues the tradition of WWE’s commitment to the U.S. military, with this year’s event taking place at Washington state’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Located less than 10 miles from Tacoma, Wash., Lewis-McChord serves as home to units primarily from the Army and Air Force, though Navy and Marine Corps units are also stationed at the military installation. The largest units on the base are also two of the most notable – the Army’s I-Corps and the Air Force’s 62nd Airlift Wing.

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Established during World War I, the I-Corps was crucial to repelling enemy offensives in the waning days of the conflict. Reactivated during the Second World War, the division was heavily operational in the Pacific Theater, specifically liberating the Philippines from the Japanese. The I-Corps would later occupy and aid the rebuilding efforts of Japan following the end of the war.

Activated once again during the Korean War, the I-Corps commanded South Korean, U.S. and British forces throughout the conflict, and guarded the Korean demilitarized zone between the North and South for two decades following the stalemate. In recent history, the unit saw combat in the first Gulf War, then again during the second war in Iraq and the War in Afghanistan. Currently, the I-Corps’ mission is part of the United States’ recent Asia-Pacific shift, supporting allies in Asia and the Pacific Ocean.

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The Air Force’s 62nd Airlift Wing is one of the military’s top units for worldwide combat and humanitarian air support. Established following World War II, the squadrons that comprise the unit play a crucial role in supporting troops in every combat theater – most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 62nd Airlift Wing also provided emergency relief for those affected by the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami of Dec. 2004.

One of the unit’s most interesting aspects is its operations in Antarctica. Because of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, the icy continent is off-limits for military combat operations and weapons testing. However, the agreement allows for the military to conduct peaceful and scientific missions on the continent. As a result of the U.S. military’s missions in the South Pole, the 62nd Airlift Wing carries out resupply missions in support of the service members stationed in Antarctica.

Although The Most Patriotic Show of the Year takes place at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, service members stationed at Naval Base Kitsap – located near Joint Base Lewis-McChord – are also invited to take part in the event. The naval base was created in 2004, after Naval Station Bremerton merged with Naval Submarine Base Bangor. Home to Carrier Strike Group Three, more than a dozen submarines and Nimitz-class supercarrier U.S.S. John C. Stennis, Naval Base Kistap is a primary component to the U.S. military’s effort in the Pacific, as well as the Persian Gulf.

Check back with WWE.com for exclusive coverage of WWE’s visit to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Naval Base Kistap, and tune in to the one-hour WWE Tribute to the Troops special Sat., Dec. 28 at 8/7 PM CT on NBC.

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