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Base monuments mark history on JBLM

Historical markers offer a chance to get outside

Beautifully landscaped, the memorials to the soldiers who died in Afghanistan and Iraq capture a chapter of JBLM’s history. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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With a century of history behind it, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) offers families living on post a number of historical markers to visit. Make an afternoon of it. Combine history with a school-like field trip. Enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

The Meriwether Lewis Monument

Just inside JBLM's Liberty Gate stands an impressive bronze statue honoring Capt. Meriwether Lewis of the famed Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition.

Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson, the corps' mission was to report on the vast expanse of land west of the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Columbia River.

Camp Lewis, Fort Lewis and now JBLM honor Capt. Lewis, who personifies the history of the men and women who have served and trained on the post since its establishment in 1917.

The monument is located at the Liberty Gate on 41st Division Dr., Lewis Main.

The Infantryman Statue

Often referred to as Iron Mike, the 18-foot bronzed fiberglass statue salutes the infantry soldier and the contributions he has made to American history. 

Unveiled in 1964, it memorializes the men of the 4th Infantry Division who trained at then Fort Lewis before deployment to Vietnam. An intriguing aspect of the sculpture is its face -- it incorporates features of all races so as to represent all infantrymen.

The statue was designed and sculpted by two soldiers who served in the 4th Infantry Division: Juan Guerrero and Pekka Kauppi.

Iron Mike is located at the intersection of 41st Division Dr. and Tacoma Ave., Lewis Main.

The Memorial Grove Monuments (McChord Field)

Situated in quiet dignity just inside the main gate to McChord Field, the grove is a three-acre site where individuals can pay tribute to those airmen who have come before them and to those who continue to serve today.

Within its confines is a POW/MIA Memorial Plaza, an Airlift Plaza, and an NCO Plaza set into a park-like environment of trees, walkways and benches. The plazas and walkways are comprised of individual bricks that have been custom engraved.

The memorial grove is located at the intersection of Barnes St. and Col. Joe Jackson Blvd., McChord Field.

The Pershing Circle Monument

Named in honor of General of the Armies John "Black Jack" Pershing, the simple stone monument symbolizes a unique personal history.

He is the only Army officer to have the title "General of the Armies" rather than "General of the Army." 

Nicknamed "Black Jack" for commanding black troops in northern Montana, Pershing achieved his greatest fame as commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.

Pershing was instrumental in the establishment of I Corps in France January 1918 in an attempt to consolidate the efforts of the American troops.

The monument is located at the intersection of Liggett and Kaufman Ave. and Lewis Dr., Lewis Main.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Memorial Park (Lewis Main)

Not far from I Corps Headquarters and Watkins Field, and next to the Broadmoor Neighborhood, are 4.2 acres of land set aside to honor soldiers who have died since 9/11.

A quiet and solemn park, it is located in Memorial Grove, which is home to a number of monuments honoring the combat brigades that lost soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

91st Division Monument

In 1930, the 91st Division Association unveiled the imposing sandstone and bronze monument to commemorate the division's role during World War I.

Standing watch from the western edge of Watkins Field, the monument is located on 9th Division Dr.

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