Military & Veterans News
Governor Quinn Announces Retirement of Illinois National Guard Commander PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Andrew Mason   
Friday, 08 June 2012 15:01

SPRINGFIELD – June 7, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart, the 37th Adjutant General of the State of Illinois and Commander of the Illinois National Guard, has retired from military service and resigned as the Director of the Illinois Department of Military Affairs effective immediately.

 

"I thank General Enyart for his more than 35 years of military service, including the last five years leading the 13,000 men and women of the Illinois National Guard," Governor Quinn said. "Illinois has the most exemplary National Guard in the United States and has had an exemplary leader."

 

During Maj. Gen. Enyart’s tenure as the Adjutant General, the Illinois National Guard deployed the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team to Afghanistan, the largest single deployment of Illinois National Guard Soldiers since World War II, and has responded to two major floods and a major winter storm in Illinois.

 

Most recently, the Illinois National Guard deployed nearly 1,500 troops to the Chicago area to help ensure the NATO Summit was a safe and secure event for the citizens of Illinois as well as thousands of foreign diplomats and heads of state.

 

“It has been a privilege and an honor to serve as the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard,” Maj. Gen. Enyart said. “To have led the Illinois National Guard through the largest deployment since World War II, to have served through floods, blizzards and ice storms with the finest men and women in the world has taught me a greater appreciation for the strength of this great nation, for the strength of its service members, its families, its working men and women than I could ever have gained without that experience.”

 

Governor Quinn will name Maj. Gen. Dennis Celletti, the Assistant Adjutant General – Army, as the acting Adjutant General until a new Adjutant General and Director of Military Affairs is selected.

 

 

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Families encouraged to assess their comprehensive fitness PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Carlos Cruz   
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 14:41

The Army is the strength of the nation. Soldiers are the strength of the Army. Families are the strength of the soldier.

By Tim Shannon, First Army Division East Public Affairs

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. — “The days of the Army telling soldiers that their spouse wasn’t issued in their rucksack are long gone,” said First Army Division East Command Sgt. Maj. Edwin Rodriguez.

The Army considers the soldier’s family as part of the soldier. The family is part of the team and if the team suffers, so does the Army. To use the words of the Army: “The Army is the strength of the nation, the soldier is the strength of the Army and the family is the strength of the soldier.”

“We now realize that for a soldier to be 100 percent focused on the mission, things at home need to be taken care of. They play a huge role in keeping our soldiers fit and combat ready,” Rodriguez explained.

But for families to keep their soldiers fit, they themselves must be taken care of as well. To that end, the Army – and Rodriguez -- encourages families to use the GAT.

The GAT—or Global Assessment Tool – is a web-based survey instrument used to assess the dimensions of emotional, social, spiritual, and family fitness. It is part of the Army’s Comprehensive soldier Fitness program.

“Spouses are an equal part of the Army with their soldier because they take care of the home during deployments; they provide emotional and physical support,” said Rodriguez. “We must make sure our families are taken care of too.”

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness is a long term strategy that better prepares the Army community, including all soldiers, family members, and the Department of the Army civilian workforce, to not only survive, but also thrive at a cognitive and behavioral level in the face of protracted warfare and everyday challenges of Army life that are common in the 21st century.

"We want to get more families interested in taking the GAT and … then follow up with the modules that address areas that might help them with improving their resiliency," said Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Family Program Manager Dorothy Benford. "These modules help families become more resilient, which adds to their soldier's resiliency, and hopefully the parents will then pass on to their children the role of resiliency in a military family."

There are four pillars of training within the Comprehensive soldier Fitness program: the GAT, Master Resilience Trainers, Comprehensive Resilience Modules, and Institutional training. The CSF program enhances resilience and reduces barriers to seeking behavioral health care.

“It [the comprehensive fitness program] is an excellent program and the five dimensions of strength, which consist of physical, emotional, social, family and spiritual are complimentary to the things the Army Chaplaincy is doing for the Army,” said First Army Division East chaplain Lt. Col Jason Logan. “In fact our programs are mutually supporting. The counseling we provide clearly assists soldiers with their emotional, family and spiritual needs of soldiers.”

“Good family fitness is an advantage and very influential to Army productivity. The Army is a family of families. The family is the incubator of who and what we become. So goes the family so goes the nation so goes the Army. Statistically, the Army remains for the most part a married Army. The research shows that people who are living in healthy committed relationships live long and do better than those who are alone. Translations, healthy families are an advantage to people and the Army. The family is a resource, a source of strength. The point is the healthier the family the more productive the Army will be,” explained Logan.

Logan agreed with Rodriguez that a soldier’s family plays a big part in that soldier’s overall Comprehensive Soldier Fitness.

“The chaplain believes that good family fitness is an advantage and very influential to Army productivity,” said Logan.

One way Division East tries to take care of families is with the Strong Bonds program.

“The Army Chaplaincy Strong Bonds program has been a real success story. It complements the CSF specifically because it is a relationship enhancing program. Our Strong Bonds program is similar to CSF in that way,” Logan concluded. He encouraged families to contact their unit Chaplin for more information.

First Army Division East, headquartered at Fort Meade, Md., mobilizes, trains, validates deploys and demobilizes Reserve component soldiers to theaters around the world including Afghanistan, Kosovo and the Horn of Africa. Comprised of eight brigades, DivEast ensures soldiers receive the intense training they need to perform hands-on theater-specific operations. When they return home, DivEast members ensure soldiers receive focused-care to ensure standardized and comprehensive demobilization support to resolve physical, mental, administrative and financial issues as well as providing benefits and resources to assist in their transition back to civilian life.

 
Bill to Provide for Veterans Passes House with Schilling/Schock Amendment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 14:28

Amendment turns missed opportunities into more convenient health care for veterans

Washington, DC – The House of Representatives last night passed H.R. 5854, the Fiscal Year 2013 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 407-12.  Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) teamed up with Congressman Aaron Schock (IL-18) and successfully included an amendment to the bill that directs $16 million within the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health to expand two pilot programs known as Project ARCH (Access Received Closer to Home) and Project HERO (Healthcare Effectiveness through Resource Optimization).  

In December, Schilling introduced H.R. 3723, the Enhanced Veteran Health Care Experience Act, based on the success of Project HERO and the promise of Project ARCH.  The Schock/Schilling amendment will expand these two successful programs, supporting the goal of Schilling’s legislation, which allows but doesn’t require veterans to access the health care they need in their hometowns with their own doctors.  Schock is a cosponsor of Schilling’s bill.

“You can tell a lot about a country by looking at how it treats its veterans,” Schilling said. “Our veterans have given so much for our country, and we must follow through with our promise to provide them with the care they need.  I’ve talked to many constituents in the 17th District who, like me, believe we must continue to make improvements to our veterans’ health care.  The amendment Congressman Schock and I included would do just that, helping more veterans receive the care they need and deserve closer to home.”

In April 2011, the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General released an audit of its Office of Rural Health (where both Projects HERO and ARCH are funded) indicating that “at the end of FY 2010, Office of Rural Health (ORH) did not obligate $16 million of the $533 million received during FYs 2009 and 2010 which constituted in missed opportunities for ORH to improve access and quality of care for rural veterans by not having sufficient controls to ensure the use of all available appropriated funds.”  The Schilling-Schock amendment directs $16 million to expand Projects HERO and ARCH in an effort to provide veterans with more convenient access to health care.

Project ARCH allows veterans in five veterans integrated service networks (VISNs) to receive their health care from non-VA health care providers.  To participate the veterans must enroll and meet the VA’s distance travel criteria.  Project HERO allows veterans to access specialized medical services outside of the VA health system.  The VA contracted with Humana Veterans Healthcare Services (HVHS) to enable veterans to go to one of their prescreened network providers for care.  To participate, the veteran must be located in one of the four VISNs the program is running in.

Schilling and Shock spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives last night in support of their amendment.  Video of their remarks can be seen here.

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Braley Provides Answer to Obama’s Call for Veterans’ Job Corps PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Kira Ayish   
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 14:20

President again calls for jobs program during visit to Honeywell Facility

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, while visiting Honeywell’s Golden Valley facility in Golden Valley, Minnesota, President Barack Obama will speak of the need to create a Veterans’ Job Corps program to put unemployed veterans back to work.

 

Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) is pleased that President Barack Obama continues to push for creation of a Veterans’ Job Corps. On May 8, Rep. Braley introduced legislation to create a national Veterans’ Job Corps, a program that would seek to put unemployed veterans back to work using skills they developed in the military – to improve national parks, serve as police officers and firefighters, and work in communities.

 

This is not the first time President Obama has called for the creation of a Veterans’ Job Corps. In his January State of the Union address, the President first called on Congress to create the Veterans’ Job Corps.  In early May in Albany, New York, Obama included the Veterans’ Job Corps on a Congressional “To Do List” to create jobs.

 

“We have made progress in reducing the number of unemployed veterans, thanks in part to several initiatives focused on putting veterans back to work, but there is still work to do. The bottom line is the number of unemployed veterans remains far too high,” Braley said.

 

“Men and women who’ve put their lives on the line for our country deserve every opportunity when they return home.  Why not provide them the chance to keep contributing to the nation they love, whether as firefighters, cops, or park rangers?  They’ve already rebuilt Iraq and Afghanistan.  Now is the time to give them the chance to help rebuild America.”

 

The Veterans’ Job Corps Act would allow the executive branch to create the Vets Job Corps program as a cooperative project between federal agencies.  Members of the job corps could be employed to improve public lands and national parks, prevent forest fires, work in public safety jobs like police and fire departments, and control floods.  Participation in the corps would be open to unemployed veterans and unemployed widows of veterans.

 

As the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, Braley has worked to reduce unemployment among veterans and create jobs for returning service members.  Last October, Braley co-hosted a series of bipartisan field hearings on veterans’ unemployment with Indiana Republican Marlin Stutzman.  In November, President Obama signed into law a pair of tax credits Braley championed to give businesses incentives to hire unemployed veterans.  In February, Stutzman and Braley held another veterans’ unemployment hearing in Washington.

 

A copy of the Veterans’ Job Corps Act can be downloaded at the following link: http://go.usa.gov/d4m

 
633rd Theater Gateway Unit Mobilizes for Kuwait PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Illinois Guard PAO   
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 12:44

SPRINGFIELD, IL (05/31/2012)(readMedia)-- A deployment ceremony is scheduled for approximately 10 Soldiers who will deploy to Kuwait this fall. The ceremony for the Illinois Army National Guard's 633rd Theater Gateway in Springfield will be June 5 at 1 p.m. at the Illinois Military Academy, Camp Lincoln in Springfield.

The Soldiers will train for a brief time at Fort Dix, N.J., before deploying to Kuwait for approximately 10 months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The 633rd will provide operational control over the theater gateway of a base in Kuwait. They will be responsible for the initial reception, staging and onward movement of personnel deploying to the Central Command area of responsibility (CENTCOM AOR). The 633rd will also coordinate the reception, billeting, processing and movement of personnel in rest and recuperation leave status for personnel assigned to the CENTCOM AOR.

The unit will be mobilized for approximately one year and will return home in the summer 2013.

News media attending the event should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and are required to notify the Public Affairs Office by 10 a.m., June 5 or they will not be allowed access onto Camp Lincoln. For more information call the Public Affairs Office at 217-761-3569.

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