Military & Veterans News
Loebsack Statement on the 2013 Defense Policy Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 21 December 2012 09:14

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was voted on by the House of Representatives.  Loebsack authored a bipartisan amendment that blocked retirement of the Iowa National Guard’s 132nd Fighter Wing in the House-passed version of the bill and fought against allowing the proposed cuts to move forward in the final bill. For the first time, Loebsack did not sign the conference report and opposed passage of the bill. Click here to view Loebsack’s floor speech.

“The men and women of the 132nd have fought for our nation time and again and are one of the most experienced and cost-effective units in the country.  When the Pentagon initially announced their short-sighted plan to retire the F-16s, I spearheaded the bipartisan effort to stop it because they could not demonstrate why it was a good deal for taxpayers or our national security. They still have not provided that justification.  I strongly opposed this decision and therefore could not support the bill.

“I am also strongly opposed to a provision that would affect the Pentagon’s civilian workforce, possibly including positions such as those at Rock Island Arsenal.  The men and women at Rock Island Arsenal work every day in support of our troops and make essential and cost-effective contributions to our national security.  While savings and efficiencies can be found in the defense budget, arbitrary reductions without strategy or analysis, like what this proposal calls for, undermines national security efforts like those at Rock Island Arsenal and hurts good jobs and the local economy in the Quad Cities.

“While I cannot support the underlying bill because of these misguided proposals, I am proud to have worked to include many provisions that will support our military families, National Guard and Reserve, and the Rock Island Arsenal.”

Specific Loebsack initiatives in the bill include:

Stops BRAC

  • Congressman Loebsack fought against the approval of new BRAC rounds since the proposal was first announced.  The final bill prevents DOD from carrying out new BRAC rounds.

Rock Island Arsenal Workload

  • Congressmen Loebsack worked to include language that directs DOD to identify the critical manufacturing capabilities provided by arsenals and determine the amount of work that is required to maintain them in peacetime which will be incorporated into a national security strategy for our industrial base.  It also requires the creation of a strategic workload plan to maintain arsenals’ critical capabilities.

Housing Benefits Fix for National Guard

  • Also included in the NDAA, was Loebsack’s legislation that prohibits reductions in the rate of Basic Allowance for Housing for members of the National Guard who transition from full time National Guard duty to active duty or from active duty to full time National Guard duty. Under current policy, some National Guardsmen who make this transition see their benefits reduced at a time when they and their families can least afford it because of a policy that changes how their benefits are calculated.  This issue was raised with Loebsack by the Iowa National Guard Officers and Enlisted Associations and he acted to fix it.

National Guard Counterdrug Schools

  • The legislation reauthorizes the National Guard Counterdrug Schools like the Iowa Guard runs at Camp Dodge (the Midwest Counterdrug Training Center). The Center provides critical training to local law enforcement from across Iowa and the country to help keep drugs off of our streets.

Travel Benefits for National Guard and Reserve Retirees

  • The legislation includes a provision similar to bipartisan legislation Loebsack co-introduced to allow expansion of full Space Available travel benefits on military aircraft to “gray area” retirees (National Guard members or Reservists who are eligible for retirement but under the age of 60) and surviving spouses. This issue was also raised with Loebsack by the Iowa National Guard Officers and Enlisted Associations, and Loebsack has worked on a bipartisan basis to provide these benefits.

Pay Raise for troops

  • As a member of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, Loebsack worked to provide a 1.7 percent pay increase in pay for our troops.

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Galesburg Army National Guard Unit Returns from Deployment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Illinois National Guard PAO   
Thursday, 20 December 2012 13:01

GALESBURG, IL (12/20/2012)(readMedia)-- Christmas is coming early for approximately 115 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers who served in Kuwait and will return to Illinois this weekend. The homecoming ceremony for the 444th Chemical Company will be Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. at the Galesburg National Guard Armory, 362 N. Linwood Road in Galesburg.

The Soldiers were mobilized in February and trained for a brief time at Camp Shelby, Miss., before deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Stationed at Camp Virginia, Kuwait, the unit operated as a base command cell supporting units stationed at the base and operations in the region.

The command cell implemented base improvements that saved more than $500,000 in government contracts and increased the billeting capability of Camp Virginia by more than 4,000 Soldiers. The 444th was instrumental in transitioning Camp Virginia from a short-term stop for Soldiers heading into theater into a long-term billeting area.

The 444th also conducted more than 3,000 patrols and secured 71 unexploded ordnances without loss of life or equipment.

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Limbaugh steps up to help support the troops PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Danny Gonzalez   
Thursday, 20 December 2012 12:55
If you went to check right now at rushlimbaugh.com you would see "From Melanie Morgan at Move America Forward" at the top of the page. Rush Limbaugh has noticed our plight after care packages intended for the troops were stolen just days ago.

Rush has always been a big supporter of the troops, and of Move America Forward as one of the premiere organizations out there providing support for the men and women on the front lines. He's also been a huge supporter of other troop-support groups such as the Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation. Rush has helped us every year by appearing on our Troopathon event which we broadcast every summer.

Having support from Rush to help us recover from this unfortunate crime is an amazing benefit for MAF as well as our troops in Afghanistan. Thank you Rush!


If you haven't already heard, Grinches tried to ruin Christmas for some of our brave troops in Afghanistan, stealing already packed and ready to deliver care packages in the dark of the night. But thanks to public outcry and the overwhelming generosity of everyday Americans like you, we are making up for the stolen care packages and working on another shipment as we speak.

There are only 6 days left until Christmas. Our brave men and women in Afghanistan need your support.

 
Lt. Governor Simon: The holidays are a reminder to honor our veterans PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Kara Beach   
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 15:09

ANNA – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Borggren will highlight the importance of veterans’ facilities that provide needed care to the men and women who have served our country by visiting the Anna Veterans Home on Thursday to celebrate the holidays with its residents.

“Our veterans deserve the thanks and appreciation of a grateful state and country, and I am proud to celebrate the holidays with residents in Anna,” said Simon, chair of the state’s military base retention and reuse committee. “Despite our state’s fiscal climate, it is important that we make sure veterans continue to receive the care they have earned.”

There are four veteran homes throughout Illinois, located in Anna, LaSalle, Manteno and Quincy. Each home provides residents with a sense of community, as well as medical care and support. Given the state’s serious fiscal climate, veterans homes have not been immune to annual budget cuts. During fiscal year 2013, the homes housed 44 fewer veterans, and 36 staff positions were cut.

DATE: Thursday, December 20

TIME: 2:30 p.m.

PLACE: Anna Veterans Home, 792 N. Main St., Anna

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Super Stealth Replacing ‘Shock and Awe’ PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 15:52
More Will Be Asked of Special Forces & Their Families,
Says SEAL Team 6 Author

A memorable quote from the presidential debates came from President Obama regarding the military: “… we have fewer ships than we had in 1916. Well Governor, we also have also fewer horses and bayonets. Because the nature of the military has changed ... The question is not a game of Battleship or counting ships, it's, ‘What are our capabilities?’ ”

For the next four years, Obama is expected to continue to reshape the military by allocating more resources to the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

Military expert J.L. Narmi, author of “SEAL Team 6, bin Laden and Beyond,” (www.narminovels.com), says the military’s evolution will inevitably add stress to the already difficult lives of Special Forces members.

“Instead of relying on huge shows of American might – the ‘shock and awe’ bombings -- SEALs and Delta Force operatives will be the ones primarily defending our country and U.S. interests abroad,” Narmi says. “The American public does not have the appetite for another massive war campaign; drone strikes and targeted operations with specialists is the future of combat.

“Special Forces members are some of the most impressive people on Earth, but they’re not robots. They have the most intellectually and physically demanding jobs, and everything’s top secret. That’s an incredibly stressful way to live.”

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. Special Operations Command’s budget has quadrupled. Whereas there was once an estimated 40,000 Special Forces members in the military, there are now about 66,000. The goal through the next four years is to increase that number to 100,000.

“The specialized units of the U.S. military have very, very broad shoulders, but my concern is that too few Americans have skin in the game when it comes to war,” Narmi says. “As it is now, about 1 percent of the country is directly affected by our wars, and I’m reminded of Churchill’s quote regarding the Royal Air Force in World War II: ‘Never was so much owed by so many to so few.’ ”

He cites a few potential hot spots that could spread Special Forces thin:

• Iran/Israel: Iranian officials recently claimed to have successfully tested a new air defense system called Mersad, or ambush, which is modeled after a U.S. system. It’s just the latest news to up the ante of anxiety in the region.

• Asia: For most Americans, Asia has fallen off the radar of potential threats necessitating military action. But Islamic extremist groups, which have been problematic for U.S. interests in the past, remain a very real threat. North Korea, too, could turn aggressive at any time.

• Pakistan: Pakistanis’ animosity toward the U.S. has been simmering for years, especially since SEALs flew into the nation’s sovereign airspace to kill Osama bin Laden. The U.S. military is, to say the least, fed up with the leadership of Pakistan, which cooperates with Al Qaeda militias.

• Afghanistan and Iraq: While America managed to pull out of Iraq without looking like a complete failure, the state continues to struggle, and extremist elements could take over at any time. Afghanistan continues to be America’s longest war -- 11 years running. If there’s any progress, it’s very slow, with Afghan soldiers and police in training perpetrating deadly attacks on U.S. troops.

About J. L. Narmi

J. L. Narmi comes from family with deep roots in the military; his brother, retired Rear Admiral Ronald E. Narmi, worked closely with SEAL teams throughout his career. Narmi’s fascination with the Navy SEALs resulted in “SEAL Team 6, bin Laden and Beyond,” which was completed just eight days before the real-life mission that resulted in bin Laden’s death. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and earned his MBA from Creighton University. Narmi is a graduate of the Securities Industry Institute of the Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania.

 
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