Military & Veterans News
Governor Quinn Honors Families of Fallen Illinois Heroes with Gold Star Mothers Ceremony PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Erin Wilson   
Monday, 01 October 2012 07:54

Twelve Mothers of Fallen Servicemembers Presented with Gold Star Banners

CHICAGO – September 30, 2012. Today Gold Star Banners were presented to 12 Illinois mothers whose sons and daughters died in combat while serving their country in the Global War on Terror. More than 170 members of Illinois’ Gold Star families who lost family members on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001 attended the ceremony at Chicago’s Cultural Center.

The ceremony, which was co-sponsored by the USO of Illinois, marked Gold Star Mother’s Day. The day has been commemorated on the last Sunday in September since President Franklin Roosevelt declared the first Gold Star Mother’s Day in 1936. On Aug. 16, 2009, Governor Quinn signed legislation to formally designate Gold Star Mothers Day in Illinois. A list of the 2012 Illinois Gold Star recipients is attached.

“While we gather every September to honor Gold Star mothers, our work to honor the sacrifices of our service men and women never stops,” Governor Quinn said. “Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our nation and their families will never be forgotten.”

Presenting Gold Stars to mothers is an American tradition dating back to 1918, at the end of World War I. At that time, President Woodrow Wilson suggested that instead of wearing conventional mourning black from head to toe, families of men and women who had died in service to their country should wear a black armband with a gold star to signify their loss and their pride. Bereaved families also displayed Gold Star banners – gold stars on a white background with a wide red border – in the windows of their homes.

Verizon Wireless co-sponsored the Illinois 2012 Gold Star ceremony for the sixth straight year along with the American Legion and the VFW.  Starwood Hotels and American Airlines provided the travel and accommodations for the out of town guests.

Erica Borggren, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs was joined by Wayne Wagner, State Commander, American Legion; Bill Wolff, Past State Commander, VFW, Alison Ruble, President and COO of the USO Illinois, John Bartosiewicz, President, Illinois Freedom Run and Linda Kozma, Chairwoman, American Airline Veteran Military Employee Resource Group.


2012 Gold Star Recipients

Recipient                      Son                            Hometown

Patricia Shanower                  U.S. Navy Commander Dan Shanower                    Naperville

Sheila McDonald                    U.S. Marine Corps CPL Jonathan S. Beatty              Ottawa

Margaret Palmatier                 U.S. Marine Corps CPL Jacob C. Palmatier             Springfield

Michele Crackel                      U.S. Army SSG Alexander Crackel                        North Aurora

Olivia Segura                          U.S. Army SPC Ashley Sietsema                              Dekalb

Christina Sweet                       U.S. Army SPC Christopher P. Sweet                       Springfield

Eva Hawking                          U.S. Marine Corps LCPL Nickolas A. Daniels           Elmwood Park

Jackie Metzger                       U.S. Army SSG Jonathan M. Metzger                      St. Anne

Sylvia McHone                       U.S. Marine Corps Nathan R. McHone                     Crystal Lake

Modie Lavin                            U.S. Marine Corps CPT Conner T. Lowry                 Chicago

Julianne Weiss                        U.S. Army 1LT Daniel A. Weiss                                 Naperville

Socorro Bethke                       U.S. Marine Corps CPL Alex Martinez                      Elgin


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Illinois National Guard Participates in Emergency Response Drill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sgt. Michael Camacho, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs   
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 14:40

URBANA, IL (09/26/2012)(readMedia)-- The Illinois National Guard and nearly a dozen other emergency response organizations participated in the Illinois Emergency Management Agency's (IEMA) emergency response drill Sept. 24 to 26 at Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System in Urbana.

The drill focused on the reception, staging, onward movement and integration (RSOI) process for deploying response assets to a notional tornado disaster in Muscatatuck, Ind.

In Illinois, the exercise tested the RSOI process of preparing, deploying, tracking and redeploying assets to and from another state to provide relief efforts during a major disaster.

Any resources deployed to support the operation will go through the RSOI process to be accounted for and credentialed, said Trent Thompson of Chatham, the chief of operations with IEMA. This is to ensure they are mission-capable and can properly support the response effort.

Thompson said IEMA has used other means of tracking assets in the past, but this is the first exercise that will test the RSOI's efficiency for joint civilian and military agency response efforts.

"We spent the last couple months developing the concept to a standard operating guide and this is our first effort to exercise it," said Thompson.

The exercise integrates several relief organizations to include the Illinois National Guard, and state and local law enforcement, fire rescue and other emergency response organizations and support assets said Thompson. He said with so many organizations supporting the incident, it is critical IEMA is able to process them all through one system at one centralized location versus one location for each agency.

For this operation, representatives from the major commands in the Illinois National Guard were assisting with the in-processing of personnel going through the RSOI site, said Sgt. 1st Class Mark Ballard of Athens, with the Illinois National Guard's Joint Force Headquarters in Springfield.

"This is the Guard's proof of concept, that we can work with the civilian agencies to manage that process of accounting for and pushing assets forward," said Ballard.

During the three-day exercise the Illinois National Guard worked with its civilian counterparts providing JRSOI support. The Illinois National Guard uses the RSOI process and was able to share and receive ideas and lessons learned with IEMA and other agencies during the exercise.

The Illinois National Guard is capable of assisting the in-processing, briefing and preparation of personnel and equipment prior to its deployment to an incident site or area of operation, said Col. Thomas Purple Jr., of Springfield, with the Illinois National Guard's Joint Force Headquarters in Springfield.

Purple said the RSOI process is key to the mission readiness of civilian and military assets in the case of a major emergency and the need for relief efforts.

"We have to go through this process before we send state personnel, civilian personnel or Soldiers to the incident site so we have good accountability," said Purple. "If we don't have this task done, there's the potential for losing sight of personnel or not knowing their capabilities."

Purple said this exercise better prepared military and civilian relief agencies how to effectively deploy in a joint effort in the case of a real world emergency.

"This is a unity of effort to make sure we're ready when the next disaster comes," said Purple.

Braley Honors National POW/MIA Recognition Day PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Friday, 21 September 2012 14:41

September 21st Marks Day of National Observance

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today is honoring military members on National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

“Today we think of the sacrifices and service of those Americans who were prisoners of war, those who are missing in action, as well as their families,” said Braley. “I proudly display the POW/MIA flag in all of my offices, and will take time to honor and remember those who lost and suffered so deeply.”


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Soldiers from across the state compete in combatives tournament PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Staff Sgt. Kassidy L. Snyder, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 14:46

SPRINGFIELD, IL (09/17/2012)(readMedia)-- Approximately 25 Soldiers from units throughout Illinois competed in the Illinois Army National Guard's third annual Adjutant General's Combatives Tournament at Camp Lincoln in Springfield, Sept. 16.

The tournament was open to all Illinois National Guard Soldiers regardless of combatives experience.

"I didn't know what to expect," said Sgt. Zechariah Johnson of Oregon, a cavalry scout with Troop B, 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment in Dixon. "It was a smaller tournament, but the Soldiers who showed up were motivated and made it a good competition."

Fighters competed individually in brackets based on weight class, while team points were awarded based on individual placement. The 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion received the overall team award.

The tournament was double elimination. The preliminary rounds were fought under Modern Army Combatives standard rules, which allows takedowns, joint locks and choke submissions. The championship bouts were fought under intermediate rules, which added open hand strikes to the head, punches to the body, and head to toe kicks.

Just before the end of the 10-minute light heavyweight championship round, Johnson defeated his opponent 1st Lt. Jarod Thomas of Decatur, with the 766th Engineer Battalion in Decatur, by a collar choke submission. Johnson said this was his first combatives tournament.

"He put up a really good fight and it was close," said Johnson. "I look forward to next year's competition."

Overall individual winners included: Bantamweight division (110 pounds and under): Spc. Ashley Hicks of Pickneyville, Company C, 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Carbondale

Flyweight division (110.1 to 125 pounds): Spc. Ricardo Brambila of Berwyn, Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment in Aurora

Lightweight division (125.1 to 140 pounds): Spc. Jacob Bultmann of Petersburg, Company B, 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Bloomington

Welterweight division (140.1 to 155 pounds): Sgt. Jacob Trigleth of Altamont, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment in Marion

Middleweight division (155.1 to 170 pounds): Spc. Allen Simmerman of Chillicothe, Company A, 33rd Brigades Special Troops Battalion in Marseilles

Cruiserweight division (170.1 to 185 pounds): Sgt. Ardel Buchanan of Cicero, 766th Engineer Battalion in Decatur

Light heavyweight division (185.1 to 205 pounds): Sgt. Zechariah Johnson of Oregon, Troop B, 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment in Dixon

Heavyweight division (over 205.1 pounds): Spc. Jason Pilman of Johnsburg, Company A, 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Marseilles

Hicks was the only female competitor in this year's tournament. No other Soldiers weighed in at the bantamweight class, so she competed with Soldiers in the flyweight division.

"I liked the challenge of being the only female," said Hicks.

She recently completed the Tactical Combatives Course (Level 2) and decided to enter the tournament after hearing about it at the class.

The Modern Army Combative Program (MACP) uses competitions as a tool to motivate soldiers to train, build esprit de corps and to build confidence by testing techniques against a fully resistant opponent. MACP Instructors with the Illinois Army National Guard administered this year's tournament.

"I was really impressed by the raw determination I saw in many of today's Soldiers," said Staff Sgt. Nick Grant of Caseyville, tournament noncommissioned officer in charge and Combatives Course Manager for the 129th Regional Training Institute. "Even those that fell short certainly displayed a strong will to win. It was also very satisfying to see Soldiers I've personally trained in the past comeback and employ potentially live saving techniques they learned months or years ago."

Top tournament finishers will be considered to join the Illinois Army National Guard Combatives Team at future national competitions such as the All-National Guard and All-Army Combatives Championships.

For more information on Illinois' Combatives Program and updates on future competitions, please visit the Illinois Army National Guard Combatives Team's Facebook Page at


High resolution photos of all the winners are available. Contact the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Branstad, Orr issue joint statement on U.S. House action to prevent Air National Guard cuts PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Tim Albrecht   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 12:58

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, this morning issued the following joint statement in response to the U.S. House of Representatives’ action to prevent Air National Guard cuts:

“We commend the United States House of Representatives, including the Iowa delegation, for ensuring that the Air National Guard will remain a robust part of our nation’s military and homeland security capabilities.  Cutting the Air National Guard would counter common sense because the Air Guard is the most cost-effective and many times most experienced part of our Air defense capabilities.  The Guard personnel also provide important emergency response capabilities as demonstrated by the response to the crash of Flight 232 in Sioux City to the more recent flooding along the Missouri River.  This is a positive step for the Air Guard and we will continue to stay engaged with fellow governors in this national policy discussion.”

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