Military & Veterans News
Illinois Air National Guard announces Outstanding Airmen of the Year PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sgt. 1st Class Kassidy L. Snyder   
Monday, 07 January 2013 12:37

SPRINGFIELD, IL (01/07/2013)(readMedia)-- The Illinois Air National Guard recognized five outstanding Airmen for their achievements in 2012 during an award ceremony at the Illinois State Military Museum Jan. 5.

Winners included: Outstanding Airman of the Year Senior Airman Alex Corwin of Charleston, 182nd Maintenance Squadron, 182nd Airlift Wing; Outstanding Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Tech. Sgt. Angelica Knecht of Belleville, 126th Medical Group, 126th Air Refueling Wing; Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Master Sgt. Phillip Clemens of Rochester, 183rd Communications Flight, 183rd Fighter Wing; Outstanding Honor Guard Member of the Year Senior Master Sgt. Diana Braun of Morrisonville, 183rd Force Support Squadron, 183rd Fighter Wing; Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year Senior Master Sgt. Michael Douglas of Waterloo, 126th Security Forces Squadron, 126th Air Refueling Wing.

Awards were given based on performance, mission accomplishment, team building and leadership. Criteria included actions, initiatives and results that showed exceptional leadership and duty performance. Consideration was given for supervision, level of responsibility, process improvements, unusual job assignments, job effectiveness, job knowledge and support to deploying or deployed operations. Additionally, consideration was given for awards and recognition, significant individual accomplishments, unique job achievements, processed or implemented suggestions, and innovative problem solving.

The Airmen will represent Illinois and contend at the national level competition later this year.

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Vietnam Veterans Low Priority PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by John J. Bury   
Friday, 04 January 2013 13:19
Dear River Cities' Reader:

The 113th Congress is now seated.  The 112th Congress failed to recognize veterans of the Vietnam War by restoring the Agent Orange Equity Act, which did not make it out of committee.  These Bills (House Bill HR-3612 and Senate Bill S.1629) probably are dead and must be reintroduced.

Only 126 representatives co-sponsored the House bill and only 14 senators co-sponsored  the Senate Bill.  What does this say about the legislators who ignored the bills?

Veterans of the Vietnam War are low priority.  We have become a liability for budget dollars, and our quality of life means little to our Congress. What is the life of a veteran who honorably served country and flag worth?  Freedom is not free.

Every day, another veteran falls ill to a disease attributed to the deadly herbicide agent orange.  Every week 400 to 500 sick Vietnam veterans die. The legacy we leave behind is our government does not care.

Advocates for Vietnam veterans must start over to convince  our legislators to do what is right.  Volunteers help sick veterans gather evidence required by Veterans Affairs for submission of claims,  we do the legwork, we meet with members of Congress in support of veterans.  Our only reward is knowing we helped a veteran.  What we do is not enough unless we have support from Congress,  We ask all Americans to urge our legislators to pass laws to provide  equitable VA health care and compensation for sick Vietnam veterans for better quality of life.

By:  John J. Bury, US Navy, retired, Vietnam War veteran
Media, Pa.

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2012: Military suicides outnumber combat deaths - economy and leadership to blame PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Cain Connections   
Friday, 28 December 2012 14:13

By ROBERT LAURIE - There's a good chance that this is the most depressing statistic you'll see all year

According to a new Army report, as of November, 303 active-duty, Reserve and National Guard soldiers had committed suicide in 2012.  During the same period, 212 men and women in uniform were lost due to combat fatalities in Afghanistan.

Back in June, the number of suicides stood at 154 - roughly half of the current total.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta acknowledged the problem and blamed society at large. "We’re dealing with broader societal issues,” he said. “Substance abuse, financial distress and relationship problems -the risk factors for suicide also reflect problems that will endure beyond war.”To continue reading click here.

 
Illinois Army National Guard Soldier retires PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sgt. 1st Class Kassidy L. Snyder   
Thursday, 27 December 2012 10:04

SPRINGFIELD, IL (12/26/2012)(readMedia)-- Col. Robert J. Mayberry Jr., of St. Charles, Mo., will retire from the Illinois National Guard on his 60th birthday, Jan. 2, 2013.

"It's natural for me to be in the service," said Mayberry. "My dad led the way and I appreciate what I've been able to do and where I've been placed."

Mayberry followed in a long line of family members serving in the military, but only he and his father made a career of it.

After moving every couple of years growing up with his father in the Air Force, Mayberry enlisted in the active Army in 1972 as a wheel and track mechanic and was stationed in Kitzgingen, Germany. After serving four years he returned to Illinois and started a brake and front end alignment business, where he worked until he joined the Illinois National Guard in 1982.

"He doesn't mind getting his hands dirty and doing some heavy lifting," said Col. Fred W. Allen of Delavan, Illinois Army National Guard chief of staff. "He is a common sensed, hard working, outspoken officer and because of those qualities this organization is better."

Mayberry was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1985 through the Illinois Military Academy Officer Candidate School. In 1989 he accepted a federal technician position with the Illinois National Guard surface maintenance shop and has continued to serve the maintenance community ever since.

"He is one of the most dedicated and passionate guys I have worked with in the Illinois National Guard," said Col. Eric K. Little of Springfield, deputy United States Property and Fiscal officer. "He set the standard for field maintenance shops. He equipped them to be stand-alone units that have their own property and tools that stay even during mobilization."

Having a dual-status position, Mayberry's first command position was with the 1244th Transportation Company in Cairo. After that, he held battalion commands with the 733rd Quartermaster Battalion and the 65th Troop Command Battalion.

"I had great mentors who gave me good guidance," said Mayberry. "I've been lucky to have really good people around me the whole time."

Mayberry deployed to Iraq twice. From 2005 to 2006 he deployed as the deputy director of logistics maintenance in Diwaniyah, Iraq with the Multi - National Division, which comprised of 18 countries. He deployed again from 2007 to 2009 as the commander of the Tallil Logistics Military Advisor Team in the 10th Iraq Army Division in Ur, Iraqi.

One thing Mayberry said he learned from his combat experience is to trust the training.

"Pay attention to the training you receive throughout the year," he said. "When faced with a scary situation, you don't think, you just do it and that training is very valuable."

Along with overseas deployments, Mayberry worked many state active duty missions throughout Illinois. From flood duty to winter storms, he advised the Adjutant General on logistical requirements, supporting procedures and accountability.

"I have loved this job the entire time I have been here," he said.

Mayberry celebrated his retirement with friends and family at the Field Maintenance Shop on Camp Lincoln in Springfield, Dec. 8.

Looking into retirement, he said he plans to work with Habitat for Humanity and organizations to prevent suicide. He also plans to fish and work on his antique vehicles while spending time with his family.

 
Coast Guard recruits get a home for the Holidays PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by CWO Donnie Brzuska   
Thursday, 27 December 2012 09:53

CAPE MAY, N.J. – The Coast Guard and American Red Cross will place more than 200 Coast Guard recruits with approximately 80 South Jersey families for Christmas as part of Operation Fireside Tuesday at 11:45 a.m.

Coast Guard Training Center Cape May has approximately 200 recruits in training from more than 39 states, U.S. territories and countries. Operation Fireside has placed recruits with South Jersey families during the holiday season since 1981. It allows recruits to celebrate the holiday with a host family while they’re separated from their loved ones during the rigorous basic training program.

“Our new Coast Guardsmen will be conducting dangerous frontline Coast Guard missions in the U.S. and abroad within days of graduation, and we make them Coast Guardsmen by pushing them to new levels of physical, mental and emotional toughness,” said Capt. Bill Kelly, the commanding officer of Training Center Cape May. “The volunteers of Operation Fireside make them feel at home, which is probably one of the greatest gifts for a service member separated from their family during the Holiday season.”

Operation Fireside has been coordinated annually by the American Red Cross Southern Shore Chapter in Cape May Court House, N.J., since the program started three decades ago.  The Red Cross solicits and tracks volunteers and host families, while Training Center Cape May pairs each recruit with a family Christmas Day.

The families and the recruits will meet at Training Center Cape May’s Guardian Chapel, and the recruits will be with the families until 8 p.m. While the recruits are off base, they will be allowed to eat as much as they want, call home, and relax before beginning training again that same day.

“We’re proud to say supporting military members is just one of our many Red Cross missions, and the families who host these men and women are also honored to have them in their homes,” said Donna Croskey, the Operation Fireside coordinator for the Red Cross.  “Even after the Holidays, many of the host families attend the recruits’ graduation ceremony and stay in touch long after boot camp.”

Training Center Cape May is the Coast Guard’s only enlisted basic training program, and more than 83 percent of the Service’s workforce receive basic instruction here to become Coast Guardsmen. The recruits are trained in everything from fire arms familiarization to basic water survival.

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