Located south of Tacoma, Washington, Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a massive military facility that combines the U.S. Army’s Fort Lewis and the U.S. Air Force’s McChord Air Force Base. Taking up almost 16 square miles, the sprawling installation has more than 25,000 soldiers and civilian workers and supports over 120,000 military retirees and more than 29,000 family members living both on and off post. JBLM is so huge that it encompasses 115 live fire ranges, its own correction facility, a vet treatment center, a museum and dozens of combat units.
Now, according to the Army, getting around JBLM just got a bit greener. As part of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Initiative, JBLM received a hydrogen bus to develop a route to take airmen and soldiers, civilian employees and family members around the base. The two-route, free shuttle system will cover main roads from McChord Field to Lewis Main and Lewis North.
Tom Olsen, JBLM directorate of public works air program manager, has been working on the Hydrogen Fuel Initiatives on the installation, including hydrogen fuel- powered forklifts and a fuel station. The bus is the one piece of the project that everyone at JBLM can really see and potentially use. The time to embrace public transportation is now according to Olsen.
“Though it’s cool to own your own car, it doesn’t mean you have to drive it everywhere,” Olsen said. “The bus gives folks options to get out of their car and take a form of mass transit, and in this case a form of mass transit that emits no emissions.”