Military & Veterans News
Illinois Army National Guard Soldier excels in Strongman Competition PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Spc. Kyle Hessenauer, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 09:42

SPRINGFIELD, IL (10/10/2014)(readMedia)-- SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Staff Sgt. Kellye Brestan of Bloomington, Illinois, recruiter for the Illinois Army National Guard, placed third in the North American Strongman (NAS) National Competition in Reno, Nevada, Oct. 4 and 5.

NAS is the premier amateur strongman corporation in the world. This event attracted more than 200 men and women to prove their strength against each other within their own weight class. Challenges ranged from lifting cars to throwing kegs.

"I have known Brestan for three years," said 1st Sgt. Holly Donald of Peoria, Illinois, Recruiting and Retention Battalion.

"When she first joined, she struggled to pass the Army fitness test. She decided to become fit and better as a recruiter. She wanted to be a better role model for future recruits."

Brestan is the epitome of the noncommissioned officer creed. She lives the Army values and is the whole Soldier concept, said Donald.

"I train five to six days a week for a few hours a day," said Brestan." I started training for this competition three months ago and I have five months to train for the Arnold World championship in March. I had to drop 27 pounds for this competition, learn how to dead lift a car, carry a 1,150 pound wheel barrow, lift kegs over a bar and press one over my head."

Brestan maintains her fit and healthy lifestyle for competitions, but also maintains Army standards.

"I stay active for my health and to inspire my Soldiers," said Brestan. "I have a few Soldiers that have trained with me. I also have applicants I am currently training for weight loss and then they should be joining the Illinois Army National Guard."

Comparing the competitive strongman lifestyle and being an Army recruiter has many similarities.

"I live a very structured life now, food measured out and my workouts are all very structured," said Brestan. "I think that it all goes hand-in-hand, the structure I need in training and in recruiting. I plan everything so well now. Time management has never been more important."

Placing third in the NAS competition, Brestan is just shy of obtaining the title of the World's Strongest Woman.

"I don't think it has even set in that I am the third strongest in the nation," said Brestan "I'm still in shock."

Brestan said she plans to attend the Arnold World Championship in Columbus, Ohio, but will attend local charity shows until then to maintain her competitive shape.

 
BHC designated a Military Friendly School for fifth year PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Holly Smith   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 08:40

Black Hawk College has been named a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.

The list highlights 1,600 institutions that exhibit leading practices to support military students. Schools earned rights to the Military Friendly® trademarked designation via qualifying scores from a rigorous survey assessment.

Black Hawk College was designated a Military Friendly School from 2011-2014 but serving veterans is not a new mission for the college.

When the college conducted its first classes in September 1946, 73 percent of the 239 students were World War II veterans.

This semester, there are 232 Black Hawk College students receiving veterans’ benefits.

“As a Military Friendly School, we are constantly striving to find new ways to best serve our veterans, military students and their families,” said Marceia Duhm, coordinator of career and veterans services at Black Hawk College.

“Our Veterans Resource Center encourages our military students and veterans to be active in the college and their communities,” she said. “It provides support for those needing a little direction and encouragement as they transition from the military to civilian life.”

The college also has the Military Students and Veterans Club, a chapter of Student Veterans of America.

The Military Friendly Schools designation process includes extensive research and a data-driven survey of schools nationwide approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill funding.

 
Veterans hospital beefs up supplies after short sheeting patients PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Tori Richards of Watchdog.org   
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 15:23

Veterans Affairs hospital officials in Shreveport, La., used bayou magic to conjure up additional linens, stocking their cabinets last weekend after a Watchdog.org investigation exposed the fact that patients were doing without sheets, pajamas and towels.

Three employees at the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center told Watchdog.org that linens were plentiful at the 10-story facility beginning Friday morning, a day after Watchdog’s story was published.

This is in stark contrast to the norm, where linen cupboards are bare on weekends while the hospital awaits its regular Tuesday laundry delivery truck, which travels 125 miles, employees said.

“I was just shocked that this happened so fast.. I believed something would change when the story came out, I just didn’t think it would happen so soon,” one employee said. “It’s amazing to open a door and see linen stacked there. Even after the truck comes, it’s stocked more than that.”

The employees asked to remain anonymous because they feared retaliation at work.

“The head of the linen department was up there checking to make sure they had enough,” another employee said. “He was saying, ‘We are going to look into getting you fitted bed sheets. We want to make sure you have everything.’”

A third employee offered: “I was surprised to see a cart going down the hall with linen. You never see that this late in the week.”

Overton Brooks’ linen supply  apparently also is a hot topic at the Department of Veterans Affairs as investigators from its Office of Inspector General showed up Sept. 25 after receiving a call from Watchdog.org requesting comment.

“This is ongoing and we have no comment at this time,” said VAOIG spokesperson Cathy Gromek in an email response to Watchdog.org. “This is being worked by our office of Healthcare Inspections.”

Employees said the sheets, blankets, towels and pajamas didn’t look new, so it’s a mystery where they came from.

On Friday, the American Legion blasted the hospital, saying it was angered over poor treatment of veterans and vowed to deliver linens and toiletries, which are also in short supply. The supplies are scheduled to be turned over Tuesday.

“That supply didn’t come from us,” said William Detweiler, American Legion’s past national commander.

Hospital officials say the linen supply has not increased.

“There isn’t additional linen,” said Tina Taylor Jackson, executive assistant to Overton Brooks’ director. “That is not a true statement.”

Added VA spokesperson Jessica Jacobsen: “Overton Brooks VAMC has required in circulation inventory based on the needs of the facility.”

The fact that linen is scare is nothing new, one of the employees said.

“This has been going on for years and years,” the employee said. “They’ve had meetings where this was brought up and basically they didn’t do anything about it. All they would say is, ‘This is how it’s always been.’”

 
Lt. Governor Simon to join Sen. Durbin, Rep. Bustos, Sec. John McHugh to discuss Rock Island Arsenal PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Ken Lowe   
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 15:28

CHICAGO – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will join U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17), U.S. Secretary of the Army John McHugh and other officials at the Rock Island Arsenal to tour its Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center and discuss the Arsenal’s future. The meeting has been initiated by Sen. Durbin, who chairs the Senate defense appropriation committee.

 

Simon chairs Illinois’ Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC) and is overseeing the state’s comprehensive economic impact analysis of active military bases in Illinois. The study will calculate the economic impact of the state’s military installations and provide the data needed for Congressional, state and business leaders to protect Illinois’ military economy at a time of federal cuts.

Simon also initiated House Bill 3939, sponsored by Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson (D-East St. Louis) and Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), which was signed into law this summer. The new law brings Illinois into alignment with 47 other states by allowing military students to enter the same grade level at their new schools, retain previously-earned credit, and have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities. 

As chair of the IMBSEDC, Simon helps coordinate the state’s activities and communications relating to current and former military bases in Illinois. Simon is committed to protecting the state’s military operations, installations, and the families of those who selflessly serve our state and country.

DATE: Tuesday, Oct. 7

TIME: 11:45 a.m.

LOCATION: Ben Butterworth Parkway on Great River Trail (on the river near Radisson Hotel, 1415 River Drive), Moline, IL

NOTE: The meeting and tour will be closed to press with a media availability to follow.

###

 
HILL TO RETIRE AS DEPUTY ADJUTANT GENERAL OF THE IOWA AIR NATIONAL GUARD PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Col. Greg Hapgood, PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER   
Monday, 06 October 2014 08:29

Branstad appoints Col. DeHaes as successor 

 

Brig. Gen. J. Derek Hill, Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa Air National Guard, will retire from the Iowa Air National Guard effective Nov. 2, 2014 after 29 years of service. Governor Terry Branstad has selected Col. William D. “Drew” DeHaes (“duh hays”) as Hill’s successor.  A photo of Col. DeHaes can be found here.

Hill received his commission as a first lieutenant through direct appointment in May 1985. During his five-year, active duty tour, he was an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. and a Circuit Trial Counsel for the 4th Judicial Circuit. located at Lowry Air Force Base, Colo. As a Circuit Trial Counsel, he was one of 21such personnel worldwide. He achieved a success rate of 95 percent as lead counsel in prosecuting complex cases involving more than 150 trials and adversarial hearings in a 12-state, 17-base area. He managed numerous multi-jurisdiction investigations and trained more than 200 Air Force attorneys in litigation skills.

In 1990, Hill transferred to the Air Force Reserves and continued as a prosecutor in the 4th Judicial Circuit. In September 1994, he relocated to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. While there, he was attached as a reservist to Headquarters, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. In his civilian job, he served as the Director of the Narcotics Strike Force for the Virgin Islands until 1997, when he joined the Air National Guard and assumed duties as the Staff Judge Advocate for the U.S. Virgin Islands National Guard.

Hill transferred to the Iowa Air National Guard in 2003, where he served as Director of Staff and Chief of Staff until 2010.  Concurrently, from 2007 to 2010, Hill was dual-hatted as the Chief of the Joint Staff, Iowa National Guard, which has primary responsibility for planning and executing National Guard support to domestic disasters. Hill was Chief of the Joint Staff during the Parkersburg tornado and historic floods of 2008.

He was promoted to brigadier general in the Iowa Air National Guard on Nov. 5, 2010.  In January 2011, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad appointed Hill to be the Homeland Security Advisor and the Administrator of Homeland Security Emergency Management for the State of Iowa. Hill later chaired Gov. Branstad’s Missouri River Flood Recovery Task Force in 2011-2012. The governor named Hill the full-time Deputy Adjutant General for the Iowa Air National Guard in December 2011.

Hill’s education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from the University of South Alabama (1979); a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Cumberland School of Law, Samford University (1981); and Graduate Tax School, University of Florida (1982). His military education includes Squadron Officers School (1987), Air War College (2004), and the Joint and Combined War Fighting School (2007).

His military awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (six times), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, National Defense Service Medal (twice), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award (seven times), Armed Forces Reserve Medal (twice), Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, and the Air Force Training Ribbon.

DeHaes entered the U.S. Air Force in 1988 and was commissioned in 1989 at Officer’s Training School, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Following completion of Euro-NATO Joint Jet pilot training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas in 1990, he was assigned as a First Assignment Instructor Pilot.  While stationed at Sheppard, DeHaes served as a Squadron Executive Officer, Wing Standards/Evaluation Pilot and Chief Spin Demonstration and Recovery Pilot. During his next tour, he was the F-16 Chief of Wing Flying Safety at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

DeHaes has commanded the 132nd Fighter Wing and also previously served as the Wing’s Vice Commander and Operations Group Commander. DeHaes currently serves as Special Projects Officer for the Iowa Air National Guard. He is a Command Pilot with more than 3,300 flying hours in the T-37B, T-38A, AT-38B, and F-16C/D aircraft and has flown operational missions in support of Operations Deny Flight, Deliberate Force, Noble Eagle, Northern Watch, Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom.

DeHaes’ civilian and military education includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Texas A&M University (1986) and a Master of Aeronautical Science degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (1998). He also graduated from the U.S. Air Force Squadron Officer’s School (1994), Air Command and Staff College (2003) and the Air War College (2006).

His military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (three times), Air Medal (five times), Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Award (twice), Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (five times), Combat Readiness Medal (five times), National Defense Service Medal (twice), Iraq Campaign Medal (with star), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Ribbon Short, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border (three times), Air Force Longevity Service Award (six times), Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with bronze hourglass,“M” device and numeral 4), Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Pistol), Air Force Training Ribbon and the NATO Medal.

 
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