Army Secretary John McHugh visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Thursday to announce creation of a division headquarters at JBLM, which is common among other major Army bases.
McHugh said the new division headquarters is needed to oversee combat brigades at JBLM.
During the last 10 years of war, JBLM has doubled in size and is now home to 34,000 soldiers.
Fort Lewis had a division headquarters until 1991, when the Army deactivated the 9th Infantry Division. The move would install a new two-star general at the base to oversee operations. The general is expected to be in place by October.
JBLM’s reputation has taken a hit with several high-profile incidents, including the conviction of four soldiers who created a kill squad targeting Afghan civilians and the case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians.
“Obviously there have been a number of high-profile cases that have happened here, but the soldiers that continue to serve out of these units do amazing work,” McHugh said. “There`s been some 114,000 deployments and redeployments out of JBLM, they’re heroes and they do great things."
McHugh also toured Madigan Army Medical Center, where there has been controversy over the diagnoses – or the reversal of diagnoses -- of post traumatic stress disorder.