Military & Veterans News
Distinquished Visitors Drop in on Soldiers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sgt. Jesse Houk, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   
Monday, 16 July 2012 13:38

CAMP RIPLEY, MINN. (07/14/2012)(readMedia)-- Approximately 60 distinguished visitors from all around Illinois flew in from Aurora and Peoria July 12 to pay a visit to the Soldiers participating in the Army National Guard's eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) program; observing and experiencing their training first hand.

The diverse group consisted of civilians and prior service, white collar and blue collar, but the common thread that brought them all together was their admiration and appreciation for the Soldiers that serve them.

"Our mission is to serve those that serve and that's those who wear the uniform and their families," said John May of Chicago, chairman and chief executive officer of USO of Illinois. "Today gave me a first-hand opportunity to see what those in uniform are doing. It was really a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never forget. Just meeting the people, seeing the level of dedication, seeing how they slip out of a civilian role, into a military role so easily and effectively; every moment was a highlight."

The distinguished visitors followed an action-packed itinerary. After arriving at Camp Ripley on C-130 airplanes they attended an introductory gathering, observed the launching of an unmanned aerial vehicle and then were whisked away to meet the Soldiers in the field on Blackhawk helicopters.

They went on to connect and converse with Soldiers in the field and then witnessed Soldiers moving in a combat-simulated field training exercise. The day came to a close after Chinooks transported the distinguished visitors to the tactical operations center where they experienced a state of the art battlefield operation.

Paul Brian of Burr Ridge, radio personality at WLS radio in Chicago, served for three years toward the end of the Vietnam conflict and appreciated the ongoing sacrifice that those in the Illinois Army National Guard and all branches of the military make to provide freedom.

"The sacrifice a Soldier makes is apparent every day," said Brian. "There's nothing that we do in this country, or have done since the inception of this country, that has not been made possible by men and women wearing our uniform. And for us to not support them, the people who are making our freedom possible is absolutely unconscionable to me."

Although many of the distinguished guests expressed their gratitude during their visit, the Soldiers they visited were equally honored by their presence.

"I respect and admire all of them," said Sgt. 1st Class Stacey A. Long of Champaign, planning, training, and operations non commissioned officer. "They are an example to emulate. The civilian population will come to a better understanding and a better appreciation for what we do because those same people are going to go out into the community and will talk about what they saw. I have a great deal of respect for that because they didn't have to do that."

Photo 1: Photo by Sgt. Jesse Houk, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/ Distinguished visitors learn infantry maneuvers from Capt. Nick P. Camardo of Rockford, commander, Company A, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment and then see them executed in real-time. The visitors observed Soldiers in several scenarios in the Army National Guard's eXportable Combat Training Capability program at Camp Ripley, Minn.

Photo 2: Photo by Sgt. Jesse Houk, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/ Distinguished visitors experience the launch of an unmanned aerial vehicle at Camp Ripley, Minn. The group was invited connect with Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers.

Photo 3: Photo by Sgt. Jesse Houk, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/ Suzanne Ravlin of Dixon, from Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital and Tom Bushmann of Dixon, from VFW Post 540, both distinguished visitors, are greeted by Brig. Gen. Johnny R. Miller of Tamms, assistant adjutant general of the Illinois Army National Guard, and Command Sgt. Maj. Mark W. Bowman of Plainfield, Illinois Army National Guard land forces sergeant major. The two were flown to experience Soldiers training in Army National Guard's eXportable Combat Training Capability program at Camp Ripley, Minn.

 
35th Infantry Division General Visits Illinois Guard Troops in Minnesota PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sgt. 1st Class Mike Chrisman, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   
Monday, 16 July 2012 13:35

CAMP RIPLEY, MINN. (07/14/2012)(readMedia)-- Brig. Gen. Victor Braden, Assistant Division Commander of the 35th Infantry Division (ID) at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. visited Camp Ripley, Minn. July 13 to observe Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers training.

"This is a great opportunity for the brigade and the Soldiers," Braden said. "I am very impressed. Training like this is good for the Army as a whole and it's great that our Soldiers have opportunities like this."

Approximately 3,200 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers are at Camp Ripley for the eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) exercise. The training simulates realistic situations Soldiers could encounter in combat.

Col. Paul Hastings of St. Charles, Ill., Brigade Commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) said the 15 months of planning for the exercise has made it a success.

"This exercise is going exactly as planned," said Hastings. "Soldiers and leaders are stressed and doing their best to improve."

The 33rd IBCT, with headquarters in Urbana, has 30 companies throughout Illinois. The 33rd was the first unit in the country to participate in XCTC operations in 2007 as they prepared for a deployment to Afghanistan.

Braden said training has evolved since he came into the Army in 1980.

"There is more technology, but the basics are the same," Braden said. "This is a great example of how they have improved training to better prepare our Soldiers for a successful mission."

The 33rd IBCT and 35th ID have historical ties. In 2006 Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 66th Brigade, 35th ID consolidated and was designated Headquarters, 33rd IBCT.

Photo: Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mike Chrisman, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/ Brig. Gen. Victor Braden (left), Assistant Division Commander for the 35th Infantry Division at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. visits Camp Ripley, Minn. July 13. Braden, along with Brig. Gen. Johnny Miller of Tamms, Ill., Assistant Adjutant General of the Illinois Army National Guard (center) and Col. Paul Hastings of St. Charles, Ill., Brigade Commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team observe 33rd Soldiers conducting training.

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Great News! We're Over Our Goal! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Move America Forward   
Monday, 16 July 2012 13:32

NEED $28,539 MORE TO GET 
CARE PACKAGES TO AFGHANISTAN

GREAT NEWS! Thanks to a very generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous, we are able to raise our goal to get care packages to more of our troops in Afghanistan. We set a modest goal of $250,000 because contributions had been dropping as our economy stalls.

We're now in a position to get care packages to most of the troops that are in harm's way. To get that many care packages, we raised our goal to $400,000 and are now only $28,539 short of hitting that mark. Can you help push us over the top so our military men and women will know they are not forgotten?

Combined with all the other money that has come in overnight, we're now at a total of $371,461 raised for the Troopathon. That means we've achieved our initial goal, thanks to the generosity of many awesome patriots like yourself! 

HUGE THANKS to everyone who has donated thus far! Now let's see if we can accomplish something really spectacular this year and see if we can raise up to $400,000 to make sure that none of our troops overseas are forgotten! 

We've worked so hard to get where we are now, but if we just keep going a little longer, I know we can raise another $28,539! It would be an amazing morale boost to our troops if they could receive $400,000 in support this summer.

Don't our troops deserve it?

 
MAF CARE PACKAGES FOR THE TROOPS INCLUDE:

Gourmet Coffee
Oreo Cookies
Lip Balm
Diana Nagy
"Journey of Life" CD
Planters Trail Mix
Candy Diplomacy Jelly Beans
Wet Wipes
Foot Powder
Sun Block
Gatorade
Premium Beef Jerky
Deodorant
Bug Repellant
Personal note from YOU

 
Illinois ESGR Public Affairs Director Honored for Work with Committee PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Lt. Col. Tim Franklin, National Guard Illinois   
Monday, 16 July 2012 13:18

Headquarters ESGR Names Holub 2012 Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year

SPRINGFIELD, IL (07/13/2012)(readMedia)-- Headquarters Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) recently announced Michael Holub, Public Affairs Director for the Illinois Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, as the ESGR Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year for 2012. Holub of Berwyn, received the award in recognition of his outstanding support to ESGR in helping the Illinois Committee publicize its many activities throughout the state over the past year.

The Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year Awards is a national-level ESGR award established to recognize the Public Affairs volunteer who has made the most significant contributions to his or her ESGR State Committee during the previous calendar year.

"We recognize the significance of your valued service and dedication of personal time to the Illinois Committee for ESGR," said James Rebholz, ESGR National Chair, in a letter congratulating Holub on his selection for the award. "Your active participation in this vital program has done much to enhance ESGR overall. Your hard work and dedication to our organization and our nation are deeply appreciated."

As the Public Affairs Director for the Illinois ESGR Committee, Holub works to publicize and promote the activities of the committee's more than 150 volunteers throughout the state on behalf of the men, women and employers of the National Guard and Reserve. He also maintains the committee's social media presence on its Facebook page.

"I want to thank Mike Holub for his continued outstanding support to the Illinois ESGR Committee and the ESGR mission to create a culture in which employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve," said Dr. Michael Ayers, Ph.D., State Committee Chair for Illinois ESGR. "His support to the Illinois Committee as our Public Affairs Director has been invaluable in helping us spread the word about ESGR, who we are and what we do on behalf of Guard and Reserve service members and those who employ them. This national recognition of his efforts is very well-deserved."

Holub will receive the 2012 ESGR Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year Award at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. in September. He has been a volunteer member of the Illinois ESGR Committee since 2004. Holub is the Chief of Police of the Village of La Grange.

Nearly 5,000 volunteers serve on ESGR State Committees across the nation. The 54 ESGR State Committees conduct employer support programs, including informational briefings, neutral mediation and recognition of employers whose policies support or encourage participation in the National Guard and Reserve. ESGR is the lead advocate within the Department of Defense for Reserve Component employers.

 
Braley's Bipartisan "Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity" Takes Another Step Forward in US House PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 13 July 2012 12:24

Measures will strengthen veterans’ employment protections, enhance mortgage safeguards, and block deceptive targeting of vets by educational institutions 

Washington, D.C. – A package of bipartisan bills authored by Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01), dubbed the “Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity,” has been approved by the US House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.  The measures will help improve economic opportunities and job protections for America’s military veterans.

The proposals were first advanced two weeks ago by the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, where Braley is the highest ranking Democrat.

Braley’s “Blueprint” will strengthen employment protections for veterans seeking medical treatment for service-related injuries, enhance protections from home foreclosures against veterans, and target deceptive marketing practices by some educational institutions by providing veterans with standard information about available higher education options.

“The ‘Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity’ advanced by the Veterans’ Affairs Committee today will strengthen protections for veterans’ jobs, homes, and educational benefits,” said Braley.  “This is a step forward for America’s returning veterans.  I’m encouraged that these proposals attracted such strong bipartisan support.  It shows what’s possible when we put aside party labels and work together to do good for men and women who have sacrificed so much for us.”

The bills were passed with the overwhelming bipartisan support of the Veterans’ Affairs panel.  Braley has worked closely with Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman (IN-03) for months on these and other legislative proposals to improve economic prospects for veterans.  In October 2011, for example, Braley and Stutzman hosted a field hearing on reducing the unemployment rate among returning National Guard veterans in Waterloo, Iowa.

More detailed summaries of the components of Braley’s “Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity” follow:

HR 5747, Military Family Home Protection Act. Includes Braley language that ensures opportunities for housing and employment by 1) expanding and improving protections from home foreclosures against military veterans and surviving spouses of servicemembers who died while serving our country; and 2) providing military and National Guard veterans up to 4 weeks of unpaid leave from their employer each calendar year for treatment for a service-related injury without fear of losing their jobs.

HR 4057, Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act. Includes Braley language that targets aggressive and deceptive marketing to service members and veterans by some educational institutions and provides veterans with standard information about post-secondary institutions to help vets make more informed choices about college.

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