Military & Veterans News
Cause for Celebration: Troop Deaths Sharply Down PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Danny Gonzalez   
Thursday, 13 December 2012 08:26

Our fine troops overseas deserve a big congratulations on the great work they are doing for our sake. U.S. Troops in Afghanistan continue to fight the Taliban while training and working with Afghanistan's emerging Army and police forces to eventually take over security responsibilities for their own neighborhoods.

By Jim Michaels - USA Today
Monday Dec 10, 2012


"The number of U.S. deaths in Afghanistan is on track to decline sharply this year, reflecting the drawdown in U.S. forces and an expanded Afghan army that is playing a larger role in fighting the Taliban.

This year, 301 Americans have died in Afghanistan, down from a peak of 500 American deaths in 2010, a USA Today database shows. It is the second consecutive yearly drop.

"A year ago we were taking larger amounts of casualties than they were," said Marine Maj. Gen. Charles "Mark" Gurganus, referring to Afghan security forces in the former Taliban stronghold of Helmand region in southern Afghanistan. "It is absolutely 180 (degrees) out now," said Gurganus, head of Regional Command Southwest."

For just a small donation, you can send our troops in Afghanistan a box filled to the brim with goodies and supplies they can USE to help make their deployment a little easier. Sponsor a Christmas and Holiday Care Package today! 

We're always getting letters back from the troops thanking our donors for the generous packages. Some letters we get back are almost sad in a way, as some troops reveal that the packages they receive through Move America Forward donors are the only mail they receive all year long. 

Can you imagine spending 9-12 months deployed in a foreign land and never once receiving anything so much as a letter from home to see how you're doing? Imagine how great, then, it would feel to know that some stranger back home, who has never even met you, took the time and care to think about you and send a care package full of goodies your way!

Send our Troops a Care Package to Show your Thanks and Support!  They Really Make and Impact and Can Change a Troop's Entire Deployment Experience!  Click Here to Send Support Now!

 
Illinois Army National Guard General Retires After 33 Years PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by 1st Lt April Hawes   
Monday, 10 December 2012 12:51

SPRINGFIELD, IL (12/10/2012)(readMedia)-- The son of a World War II veteran, Brig. Gen. Steven P. Huber of Byron enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard (ILARNG) as a 25-year-old private first class. After 33 years of service, Huber is retiring.

"It's bittersweet to bid Brigadier General Huber farewell," said Maj. Gen. Dennis Celletti of Springfield, Acting Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. "He has contributed so much to the Illinois National Guard and the entire U.S. Army with his service stateside and overseas. I'm sad to see him go but I'm honored to have served beside him."

Soon after Huber graduated from basic training, his battalion commander told him he should be an officer.

"Before I knew it, I was attending Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Springfield," he said.

Huber graduated OCS in 1981 and admitted, as a new lieutenant, he did not know much and earning the rank of brigadier general never crossed his mind. However after a lot of hard work and being in the right place at the right time, Huber said he is blessed and grateful for the rank he has earned.

Huber's most recent position is a dual-role, as the Illinois National Guard land component commander and the deputy commanding general for operations for First Army Division East. With First Army, Huber is responsible for the training and preparation of deploying units.

"It is my way of giving back and helping others as they deploy," he said.

In addition to his most recent positions, Huber has held various positions within the ILARNG, such as commander of the 108th Maintenance Battalion in North Riverside, deputy commander of the 404th Chemical Brigade in Chicago, commander of the 108th Sustainment Brigade in Chicago and director of the Joint Staff for Joint Force Headquarters in Springfield.

Retired Master Sgt. Kim Broome of Chatham worked with Huber at the 108th Support Battalion in Chicago. She said she thinks his biggest contribution to the ILARNG was his devotion to his country, its men and women and the success of his unit.

"It is an honor knowing and having worked with Brigadier General Huber," she said. "Simply put, he is a true leader who always puts the mission and his subordinates first. He always led by example and showed true compassion for those under his charge."

Huber has also deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2004, Huber was part of the second (ILARNG) team to co-deploy with the Polish Land Forces. He was the deputy chief of staff, Multi-National Division, Central South in Iraq.

Then in 2008 he led the historic deployment of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Team (IBCT) in Urbana to Afghanistan.

As the Commanding General of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, he commanded a total of 7,500 servicemembers, contractors and interpreters, which included 3,000 Illinois Soldiers with the 33rd IBCT.

Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Bowman of Plainfield, land forces command sergeant major, served beside Huber in Afghanistan as his sergeant major.

"The most important rules of leadership we both agreed on. Take care of your people, get the mission done, and never send them into a situation that you would not do yourself," said Bowman. "It has been an honor to serve as his command sergeant major. I would go back into the fight with him anytime and anywhere. It is an honor to call him my friend."

While in Afghanistan, Task Force Phoenix suffered 43 casualties; 18 belonged to the 33rd IBCT.

"You go in hoping to avoid (casualties), but then reality strikes," Huber said. "We trained hard and were well equipped. I never said 'I wish I did more to prepare.' I take peace in that."

As he prepares for retirement, Huber said he will miss training in the field with Soldiers, since that is where most of his career was spent. However, he said he plans to stay connected and continue to help and train the organization for the future.

Huber also plans to travel with his wife, Rhonda, and spend time with his daughters, Carla, 24, and Caleigh, 13.

Huber celebrated his retirement Dec. 8 with friends and family at Veterans Memorial Hall in Rockford.

 
A Date Which Will Live in Infamy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Danny Gonzalez   
Monday, 10 December 2012 09:23

Today is the 71st anniversary of Pearl Harbor. More than 2000 Veterans and their families gathered at Pearl Harbor for a moment of silence at 7:55 A.M. this morning, the exact time that the first bombs hit 71 years ago. The solemn moment of silence and respect was signaled by the USS Michael Murphy, named after the Pearl Harbor-based Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan. The men and women of the Greatest Generation earned their name after the horrific and cowardly attack on Pearl Harbor during the morning hours of Dec. 7, 1941. Those brave Americans rose to the occasion and restored freedom and order to the world.

As we remember the surprise attacks by the Japanese that led to so many American lives being lost and launched United States into World War II, it's hard not to remember the more recent events where we were attacked on September 11th. As FDR described the attack on Pearl Harbor, 9/11 is a date which will live in infamy.

Today, the NEXT Greatest Generation is now on the ground, in the seas, and in the air fighting Muslim Jihadists who brought war to America's homeland on Sept. 11, 2001. Scores upon scores of patriotic men and women joined the Armed Forces after September 11th, and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have sacrificed their lives, just as our troops did in World War II.

We must never forget. We must give thanks to our fighting Armed Forces. Sponsor a special Christmas themed care package today.

Every care package is personalized with a special note from you, and is full of the items our troops want. Coffee, cookies, and Christmas goodies!!

After Pearl Harbor, and again after 9/11, our troops fought fiercely to destroy enemies who threaten America. The cost of freedom is never cheap, it is paid for by the sacrifice of many brave young men and women who pay the ultimate price for our freedom. We must remain eternally grateful and show our appreciation to those who risk their lives every day.

It has been a long and difficult road for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; they have fought so hard and sacrificed so much, but in that sacrifice they have won many stunning victories, and accomplished things they were told could not be done. For that we are grateful and blessed to live in a nation protected by such courageous individuals. Please remember those troops today, and offer your support.

Each Christmas & Holiday Care Package comes with a Christmas stocking, hot cocoa & cider, and sweet stripes candy canes!




Holiday Care Packages Come with Special Christmas Goodies
Boca Java Coffee
Oreo Cookies
Chap Stick
Deodorant
Sweet Stripes Christmas Candy
Painted Hills Beef Jerky
Planters Trail Mix
Ocean Spray Craisins Trail Mix
Gatorade


And most importantly, a personalized letter from you!

Candy Diplomacy Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
For The Troops CDs
Diana Nagy "The Journey of Life" CDs
Hot Chocolate
Hot Apple Cider
Bug Repellant
Battery Operated Fans
Wet Wipes
Foot Powder
Sunblock


While many members of our military have supportive and loving familiessome do not and are not expecting anything during the holidays.

We've heard over and over again from military men and women that the care package they received from us was the only piece of mail or support they have received. It really makes a huge difference to them.

In addition to all the items that receive the most important is the personalized thank you from the donor. It's these kind words that mean the most, and you can share to make some member of the military know how much we support and appreciate their sacrifice.

Please help us send a care packages now to bring a little holiday cheer to our brave men and women overseas.Your care package could be the only mail they get all year. 

These brave men and women are risking their lives thousands of miles away from home to keep us safe and deserve every bit of support and thanks that we can send.

We hear time and time again from our military care package recipients how much they appreciate our care packages and how much it means to them to know that people from back home took the time to think of them - it makes their day, week, and even month!

Don't forget, as we come to the close of the tax year, all care package contributions are tax-deductible, since Move America Forward is an IRS recognized not-for-profit organization.

 
Governor Quinn Announces New Veterans Education Center at the University of Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Thursday, 06 December 2012 16:04

Dedicates $4 Million in Illinois Jobs Now! Funding to Help Build Wounded Warriors Education Center

URBANA – December 6, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today visited the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to announce $4 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding to help build the Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education. The new center will help returning Veterans with disabilities readjust to civilian life and provide vital rehabilitative, counseling, academic and career services to support wounded warriors as they achieve higher education. The governor was joined by Assistant Secretary of the Army Thomas Lamont, philanthropist Ron Chez and university leaders including Provost Ilesanmi Adesida and Lt. Col. Eric Stetson of University of Illinois ROTC.

“Our servicemen and women sacrifice years of their lives to protect our country and when they return, they deserve support in earning the degrees and dreams that so many postponed,” Governor Quinn said. “Our wounded Veterans face unique challenges, but they should not face them alone. The Wounded Warriors Center will keep Illinois a leader in helping returning members of our armed forces achieve their dreams.”

The state-of-the-art Wounded Warrior Center will combine 24-hour comprehensive support to prepare severely wounded veterans to live independently and to successfully pursue their educational and career goals. The center will house offices for supporting programs, research spaces, a fitness center, residential units for up to 12 occupants, a teaching kitchen, a conference room, tutorial support spaces and a lounge. The facility will also be LEED Gold certified.

“More than 60 years ago, wounded WWII veterans began returning home only to find that access to a college education would be denied to them because of the injuries they had sustained in their service,” said University Chancellor Phyllis Wise. “In 1948, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, under the leadership of Professor Timothy Nugent, began to address this wrong, founding the world’s first comprehensive program of higher education for individuals with disabilities. That commitment has never wavered and we live in different world today because of his program and the dedication of all of those who have followed Dr. Nugent. The Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education will be the newest addition to that long legacy that began here and that will always be among our proudest accomplishments.”

The $12 million facility also is the beneficiary of a $6 million charitable pledge by U.S. Army Veteran Ronald L. Chez, who graduated from the University of Illinois in 1962 and is now president of his own financial consulting firm and chairman of Champaign-based Epiworks. Chez has been a strong supporter of efforts to help students with disabilities succeed in higher education, previously pledging $1 million to establish a scholars program that provides financial assistant to students with special needs. Additionally, the University has been working with donors to raise the final $2 million for the facility.

“There is no way that we can adequately compensate for the courage and service of our wounded Veterans,” said Chez. “It is our special opportunity to honor these heroic men and women and their families by helping to provide the services and facilities they require. I cannot think of a higher priority for private citizens and government than to provide opportunities for education and independence to those who have served all of us.”

Since its inception in 1948, the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has sought to advance the educational, social and vocational participation of people with disabilities through the collaborative promotion, provision and/or pursuit of innovative accommodations and educational services, and interdisciplinary disability research. DRES has made historic strides in interdisciplinary disability research – including wheelchair bus lifts, curb cuts and accessibility standards – many of which resulted from the applied disability research and/or educational outreach of its faculty and staff.

This fall, Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs launched Illinois Joining Forces, a new statewide public-private partnership that will improve support for servicemembers, Veterans, and their families. Modeled after the national Joining Forces initiative, IJF is spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden and seeks to increase collaboration and communication among non-profits and public agencies serving Veterans at the local, state and federal levels. Through IJF, participating organizations will work together to address gaps in services for job training and placement, healthcare, education and housing, actively refer veterans and servicemembers in need of assistance and offer better navigation of available resources and service to the public. To learn more about IJF, visit www.IllinoisJoiningForces.org.

For more information about other programs for Illinois veterans and servicemembers, visit www.OperationHomefront.org.

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Gov. Terry E. Branstad orders flags at half-staff in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 13:04

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered all flags in Iowa be flown at half-staff from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Friday, December 7, 2012, in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.

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