Military & Veterans News
Commander welcomes home returning vets PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Joe March   
Friday, 15 February 2013 11:47
INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 13, 2013) -- American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz responded to President Obama's State of the Union Address Tuesday with a word of welcome to 34,000 troops the president said would be coming home from Afghanistan this year.
"American Legion service officers stand ready to support our men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and help them understand their VA benefits. American Legion-sponsored job fairs and business workshops await their return, offering opportunities to convert military experience into successful careers. American Legion posts and individual members are available for those who come home wondering where to turn for camaraderie and support. That is what we do. It is who we are."
Koutz said he looks forward to meeting with President Obama later this month to discuss specific ways The American Legion can help DoD, VA, veterans and their families make the adjustment to postwar lives.
"No one does more than The American Legion to help returning veterans," Koutz said. "This organization was built on that very concept. As the president has said in past speeches, there is no reason the returning veterans of the Global War on Terrorism cannot drive the U.S. economy forward, as it did after the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 -- which The American Legion authored as World War II was ending -- and build another half-century of U.S. economic prosperity."
Veterans can and will be essential to the U.S. economic recovery, Koutz explained. "There was no doubt from the State of the Union Address that our nation's highest priority is the improvement of our economy. Veterans have proven in the past that they can be the catalysts.
“The American Legion is dedicated to convincing employers, many of whom already know, that veterans can once again lead our nation to a new era of economic performance and hope. We look forward to working with VA and DoD to ease the transition process, provide our newest generation of veterans with the support they need, and rebuild our economy as a nation. It is really the least we can do for those who have stood strong against the threat of terrorism and kept it from our shores for over a decade."

Hagel Falls Hard When Faced with Tough Questions at Committee Hearing PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Danny Gonzalez   
Friday, 01 February 2013 14:41
President Obama's nominee to be Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, failed miserably when faced with hard questions from the Senate Armed Forces Committee today. He could not, or refused to, answer for his past anti-Israel and seemingly pro-Iran positions. Instead he only offered confirmation that he should not be the Secretary of Defense.

Today's hearing proved without a doubt we must stop Hagel from being our next Secretary of Defense.

Hagel Calls Ahmadinejad's Government "elected, legitimate."

Hagel was trying to defend his refusal to vote to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. In doing so he called Iran several times as an "elected, legitimate government," and again said the Iranian regime was a "legitimate, independent government."

It was a slip or he wasn't thinking, but it shows his disposition towards Iran that we have disturbingly seen several times. It is outrageous to legitimize a government led by a madman like Ahmadinejad, who has publicly denied the holocaust ever occurred, and called for the state of Israel to be "wiped off the map." 

If Hagel thinks that kind of conduct passes as 'legitimate government' then we'd hate to see how he would react as an ambassador of American interests abroad.

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Hagel Agreed, in 2009 Interview, America is "the World's Bully"

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) literally blew Hagel out of the water when he played a very damning quote of Hagel conducting a 2009 interview on Al-Jazeera News wherein Hagel AGREED WITH an e-mailed comment from a woman who identified the United States as "the World's Bully."

Cruz played the soundbyte for the whole committee and all attendees to hear for themselves:

Sycamore Field Artillery Unit Shows off Its Guns at Open House PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by National Guard PAO Illinois   
Friday, 01 February 2013 14:31

SYCAMORE, IL (01/31/2013)(readMedia)-- Story by Sgt. Kenneth Vasser, Unit Public Affairs Representative, Illinois Army National Guard

The artillerymen of Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery opened their armory doors to the general public, local leaders and family and friends for an open house Jan. 27, at the Sycamore Armory.

The purpose of the Open House was to give the public an opportunity to learn about the unit's history and military mission, see unit equipment and facilities, and visit with the Redlegs of Alpha Battery.

Visitors were given a presentation on the history and lineage of the unit and its involvement in various conflicts throughout history. The main event of the day was a full-speed "dry-fire" artillery demonstration that explained how the "eyes," "brains" and "brawn" of the field artillery work together to achieve mission success.

"Artillerymen work hard," said Capt. Dustin Cammack of Chicago, battery commander. "The forward observers are the "eyes," they travel with the infantry and send us target information. The fire direction center, the "brains", then processes that information into firing data. Then the gun line, known as the "brawn," uses that data to put steel on target," said Cammack. "When all things are in sync, it's a beautiful thing."

Guests were able to see firsthand the inner workings of the technology, equipment and technical proficiency involved with modern day field artillery. The spectators observed four "dry- fire" missions as Soldiers and leaders explained and demonstrated their duties, tasks and responsibilities as artillerymen.

"The event was an overall success," said Staff Sgt. Jorge Solis of Wheaton, a cannon crew chief. "The motivation of the Soldiers was high, and the community was involved and attentative."

Spc. Levi Kammes of Crystal Lake, a cannon crew member, appreciated the local community's support.

"It was a great day and a great opportunity for the community to support the unit and really see what is within the armory walls," said Kammes.

The unit hopes to maintain its strong connection with the city of Sycamore as the Soldiers continue their commitment to serve the community and nation.

"We are truly grateful and proud of the support this unit has received from the people of Sycamore," said Cammack. "It has allowed us to be such an amazing part of American history and this town's history for nearly 100 years."

More than 40 people attended the first-ever open house at the Sycamore Armory. Notable attendees included state Rep. Bob Pritchard, 70th District, Paul Herbert, First Division Museum at Cantigny executive director, and Alison Ruble, USO of Illinois president and CEO.

Specialized Illinois National Guard Unit to Mobilize for Afghanistan PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Richard Martin   
Thursday, 31 January 2013 14:12

Nearly 20 Soldiers Mobilize Feb. 4 As Part of an Embedded Training Team

URBANA, IL (01/30/2013)(readMedia)-- A deployment ceremony is scheduled for approximately 20 Soldiers who will deploy to Afghanistan as part of an embedded training team. The ceremony for the Bilateral Embedded Staff Team (BEST) A11 will be Feb. 4 at 10 a.m. at the Urbana Armory, 600 East University Ave. in Urbana.

The BEST Soldiers will spend approximately two months training at Camp Atterbury, Ind., and in Poland before deploying with the Polish Land Forces. The unique mission allows Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers to train and deploy side-by-side with their Polish counterparts. Following the training, the Soldiers will deploy to Afghanistan for a six-month mobilization. The Soldiers are from various parts of Illinois and were selected for the mission based on their training and skills.

"Our 20-year partnership with Poland is the strongest National Guard State Partnership in the nation," said Brig. Gen. Daniel Krumrei of Springfield, Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. "Illinois Soldiers and Airmen are instrumental in helping develop secure international relationships; while broadening their own experiences and developing their own military skills."

The team will assist the Afghan government to extend its authority across the country, perform security operations and help stabilize the war-torn nation. The Soldiers will also mentor and support the Afghan National Army and support Afghan government programs to disarm illegally armed groups.

News media attending the event should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony. For more information call the Public Affairs Office at 217-761-3569.

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The Woman Warrior No Longer a Myth: New Book Captures Real Female GI PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Don Bracken   
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 14:34

Before Washington officials said that women could go into combat, they were out there in battle, but just not getting credit for it. Armed with M16’s and more robust firepower, women support troops backed up infantry units and got into the thick of it when called up to lend support. Transportation troops, in Iraq and Afghanistan, driving the IED laden roads with critically needed ammunition and supplies were always in the combat zone, explosive devices frequently causing the loss of limb and life attested to that.

Miyoko Hikiji, a young woman from Iowa knows well of it—well enough to write a book about it.  All I Could Be—My Story as a Woman Warrior in Iraq tells it just the way it was when, as a young woman in the Iowa National Guard, she was deployed to Iraq after the invasion ten years ago and discovered that the peaceful world she knew amid the Midwestern farmland had been replaced by the wind driven sand dunes of Iraq. Peace she discovered had become a pleasant and distant memory. Armed with an M16 and the equipment of the modern warrior, Miyoko was told to take her weapon into the cab of a truck, sit behind the wheel, and join a series of convoys. Each day she drove deeper into harm’s way.

And each night was a nightmare in the making.  Miyoko writes of one such night,

“The infantry's mortar platoon, just down the street, zeroed in and returned fire. The opposite bank exploded.  Then, two patrol boats fixed with automatic weapons screamed by opening fire along the bank. The radio on the patio lit up with chatter but we couldn't make out details.    Moments later it was silent again.  Voices on the radio became clear--all clear.  Reluctantly we climbed out of the hole and returned to our tents.  No one could sleep but no one wanted to talk.  We lay silently in our bunks until the sun beckoned us to start another day.”

And, another day always brought stress, fear and all that war brings. “It is my war story,” writes Miyoko, “it is part military history, part personal revelation, part therapy,” the stuff of so many war stories that have become a vital part of the great American tradition. All I Could Be is a fascinating beginning to a new chapter in that great tradition: the recognition of the woman warrior in America. All I Could Be ▬My Story as a Woman Warrior in Iraq. #9781933909585 will be published by History Publishing Company in March 2013.

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