Military & Veterans News
Gov. Branstad orders flags at half-staff to honor Army Staff Sgt. Steve Blass PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Tim Albrecht   
Friday, 22 March 2013 14:17

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Branstad is ordering all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, to honor Army Staff Sgt. Steve Blass, 27, or Estherville, who died in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Monday, March 11.

Blass’ funeral will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at the Estherville High School Gym. Brig. Gen. Derek Hill, Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, will be in attendance to represent the administration.

The governor’s directive applies to all U.S. and state flags under the control of the state. H.R. 692, signed in 2007, requires federal government agencies in the state to comply with the governor’s executive order that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a member of the Armed Forces.

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.


Blind US Veterans in Oklahoma Receive Anonymous Donation for Relay Training with Veterans Workshop PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Hilary Snyder   
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 09:07

An anonymous veteran from the State of Oklahoma has made an extremely generous donation to Veterans Workshop Class A-225 which consists of blind veterans from Oklahoma training to become relay operators assisting deaf veterans. Donated equipment has bridged a gap with measurable results for the vision disabled veterans that are now able to use it in the virtual Google+ classroom.

Oklahoma City, OK (PRWEB) March 19, 2013

This March five blind Oklahoma Veterans began training as relay operators on a Google+ platform to make phone calls for deaf veterans.  Funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E) of Oklahoma City and the State of Oklahoma, Department of Rehabilitation Services has allowed these veterans to embark on a training mission that has literally changed their lives.

Veterans Workshop Class A-225 began as a group of strangers but quickly evolved into a band of brothers.  Whether it was showing a classmate where to click on a screen or finding someone to take them to a house to adjust a setting they never hesitate to help each other in need. The group of veterans quickly established a strong sense of camaraderie helping each other day or night.

One of the veterans in training, Chuck Smith says “When you lose your vision you can’t get around without asking someone for help and that’s frustrating.  I can’t even begin to tell you how this training class has changed my life.  I am now able to ask one of my classmates to come pick me up and together we can go anywhere we want.  We are part of a team that has opened up a whole new world of opportunities.  I am excited to push forward and I knew with the right equipment we could make it happen.  I feel honored to be a part of this group”.

Early on it became apparent that monitor quality and screen size created obstacles for some of the veterans.  Being a close knit group they rallied together to help each other in every way possible.  A veteran connected to one of the students got wind of this hurdle and immediately stepped up to the plate.  Within 24 hours new monitors were purchased and installed at the homes of the veteran students that needed them most.  One of the recipients Martin Brown says, “My new monitor is a 99.5% improvement.  I was praying in my garage yesterday and next thing I know the fellas came with a 40” monitor.  I have served as a deacon in my church for the last 15 years helping others and this training is opening doors to continue helping others in need.”

For David Fox the new monitor is described as “clear, bright, easy to get to, a split second to get to one end of the screen to another and fabulous”.  The classroom has opened David to other vision disabled veterans in ways he never would have imagined and has provided for “real moments of brotherhood.”

As student George Lamb puts into perspective, “When people are visually impaired people think they develop super powers like hearing and that’s just not true.  They have to struggle with tasks that other people take for granted and it takes them about six times as long.  These new monitors make training substantially easier and lower frustration levels.  The fact that someone cared enough to give us new, state of the art monitors motivates me.  What solved our problem was a veteran stepping up.”

One blind veteran in training is 90 Year Old, WWII Navy Veteran Emory Finefrock. Emory believes that this training is helping to “build worldwide circles” and that he is now able to “connect with veterans in ways I could not do before.”

Robert Anderson, lead instructor for the training says, "The Google team has been just amazing with their support.  However, there are many challenges that vision disabled veterans face while learning Google plus hangout technology to assist deaf veterans.  These monitors are a real game changer. I am honored to have the opportunity to be part of a team that guides these veterans down the path as they prepare for this mission critical service.”

On their own the group has adapted a quote from Emerson and see it as the future for both themselves and the blind veteran – deaf veteran relay program “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

About the Veterans Workshop: With offices in Rhode Island and Washington, DC, the Veterans Workshop has developed unique training programs for a subset of the disabled veterans community to include blind, deaf and paralyzed veterans. Training for blind veterans is underway, with training for deaf and paralyzed veterans expected in early fall.

Loebsack Statement on the Tenth Anniversary of the Iraq War PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 08:11

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today marking the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War.  Loebsack is the only member from the Iowa delegation to serve on the Armed Services Committee and has traveled to Iraq three times.  During his visits, Loebsack met with troops and commanders on the ground and brought a touch of home to the troops by presenting them with care packages made by Iowa students.

“As we reflect on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War we thank the men and women who served for their bravery and selflessness.  We must also remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country and honor their memory. We must pay tribute to the families of the more than one million troops who served in Iraq.  Though the war has ended, we still have a great responsibility here at home.  We must ensure that our servicemembers, who served with such dedication and honor, receive nothing but the best medical care and support, and that those looking for civilian jobs are able to find them.”

“After ten years, 4,475 lives lost, more than 32,000 injured and more than a trillion dollars spent, there are many lessons that we as a nation must take away from the war.  But none is as important as making sure our troops have the tools necessary to stay safe on the battlefield and those who have returned have access to the services they need when they come home.  As a member of the Armed Services Committee and a military parent, I work every day to ensure our men and women who volunteer to defend our country are taken care of, whether here at home or when they are overseas.”


Soldiers take exam at 372nd Engineer Brigade's Best Warrior Competition PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Carlos Cruz   
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 13:35
Soldiers take exam at 372nd Engineer Brigade's Best Warrior Competition
Spc. Gary L. Goins representing the 389th Engineer Battalion out of Davenport, Iowa, takes the written exam during the 372nd Engineer Brigade's Best Warrior Competition here on March 11. The written exam allows the soldiers to test their basic warrior task knowledge.

East Moline Airman Named Squadron Outstanding Senior Noncommissoned Officer of the Year PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by National Guard PAO Illinois   
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 13:28

PEORIA, IL (03/11/2013)(readMedia)-- Master Sgt. Anthony Moreno of East Moline was named the 168th Air Support Operation Squadron's 2012 Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria.

Moreno was recognized for his performance, mission accomplishment and leadership. Criteria included actions, initiatives and results that showed exceptional leadership and duty performance. Consideration was given for job effectiveness, job knowledge and support to deploying or deployed operations. Additionally, the board reviewed awards and recognition, significant individual accomplishments, unique job achievements, processed or implemented suggestions and innovative problem solving.

Submitted photo/ Master Sgt. Anthony Moreno of East Moline was named the 168th Air Support Operation Squadron's 2012 Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria. Moreno has 16 years of military service.

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