Military & Veterans News
Simon appoints Lemont, Coal Valley citizens to military committee PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Kara Beach   
Thursday, 18 October 2012 07:57
Volunteer members advocate for military base retention, economic development

SPRINGFIELD – October 17, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon appointed two residents with job creation experience to her Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development committee today with unanimous support from the committee's members.

The two new volunteers, who hail from southwest suburban Chicago and the Quad Cities region, will join the committee in advocating for the retention and reuse of Illinois’ military bases and working to strengthen the regional economies near military installations.

“These new members represent a wealth of economic development experience that will bring new perspectives to our work,” said Simon, chairwoman of the military base committee, during its quarterly meeting in Springfield. “I’m pleased to welcome Rick Kawsneski and Paul Rumler to our team.”

Kwasneski, of Lemont, and Rumler, of Coal Valley, join six other public members, representatives from various state agencies and four members of the General Assembly on the committee. The committee’s public members draw upon their experiences from an array of career fields – including economic development, education, government and the military – to serve the state.

Kwasneski is a former village trustee and mayor of Lemont, who is the executive director of the Joliet Arsenal Development Authority. The Authority is responsible for overseeing the development of 3,000 acres at the former Joliet Arsenal into two industrial parks. In his role as executive director, Kwasneski is responsible for implementing policies and directives of the Authority. Kwasneski is also involved with the Will County Center for Economic Development, the Association of Defense Communities and the Council for Urban Economic Development

Rumler attended Black Hawk College in Moline before graduating from Georgia State University and working in Washington for the federal government. More recently Rumler has served on the Illinois Quad City Chamber of Commerce, helping implement the Chamber’s strategic plan and advocating for policy decisions. Rumler was the executive director for the Quad Cities Passenger Rail Coalition which secured federal, state, and local funds to complete Chicago to Quad Cities passenger rail by 2015. Rumler is currently the executive vice president for the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Rock Island Arsenal Alliance.


183rd Fighter Wing to build housing in Springfield with Habitat for Humanity PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by National Guard PAO Illinois   
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 08:26

SPRINGFIELD, IL (10/13/2012)(readMedia)-- The U.S. Department of Defense has approved an Innovative Readiness Training project that will allow the Airmen of the 183rd Civil Engineer Squadron, 183rd Fighter Wing to build affordable, safe and decent housing with Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County in local low-income neighborhoods.

183rd Fighter Wing Commander Col. Michael Meyer announced the partnership today with representatives from Habitat for Humanity and the Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association at the site of the first project, a two-story townhouse that will be built at 1137 North 5th Street, Springfield.

"This is a win-win for both the Illinois Air National Guard, Habitat for Humanity, and – most importantly - local low-income families," said Illinois National Guard Assistant Adjutant General – Air Brig. Gen. William Cobetto. "Our Airmen practice the skills they need to perform their military missions and, through Habitat for Humanity, local families get decent safe housing."

The project is scheduled for three years and the 183rd CES will help build as many as 12 homes in Sangamon County. Three of those homes are slated to be built in Springfield's Enos Park Neighborhood. Habitat for Humanity will provide the building materials and supplies as well as meals for the Airmen working on the project and the Airmen will provide the labor and tradesman skills they acquired from their military training.

"As the Commander-in-Chief of the Illinois National Guard, I am so proud that Illinois was one of a handful of states to administer an Innovative Readiness Training Project approved by the Department of Defense," Gov. Pat Quinn said. "This project will improve the training of our men and women in uniform and strengthen the communities where they live and work."

This isn't the first DoD-approved Innovative Readiness Training project for the 183rd CES. Last year, approximately 35 members of the squadron helped construct a 3,200-square-foot adult programs building for the St. Michaels Association for Special Education in the heart of Navajo Nation in Arizona.

"My Airmen really enjoyed helping the Navaho Nation, but this project is even better," Meyer said. "Now they are helping their own communities in their own state. This is very special to us."

To acquire DoD assistance through the Innovative Readiness Training program, Habitat for Humanity had to submit an approval packet that underwent legal, fiscal and operational scrutiny. The local nonprofit had to prove the IRT would not put the military in competition with local contractors, would be a fiscally responsible use of military training funds and the work performed would accurately exercise the military skills the Airmen would need to perform their military mission. The 183rd CES' wartime mission is to build structures in support of military operations.

Airmen with the 183rd Civil Engineer Squadron, 183rd Fighter Wing help construct a home with Habitat for Humanity through an Innovative Readiness Training project in Springfield, Oct. 13.

News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Move America Forward   
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 13:58
Despite the Killing of Bin Laden, Al Qaeda Continues to be a Threat

Don't believe the Obama Administration's misconception about the war in Afghanistan. If you listen to some of our leaders, they try to make the case that the war in Afghanistan is largely over, that the strength of the Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists has been broken and that all that remains is a moderate, toothless group of ragtag fighters who couldn't possibly pose a threat to the United States. This is a falsehood.

The truth is that the Taliban and Al Qaeda remain as enemies and they do threaten American security. Our troops are still fighting them!
Send a Care Package to our Brave Soldiers Fighting the Terrorists!

According to a CBS reporter Lara Logan (pictured below) who has been on the ground in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda and the Taliban are still strongly working together, and have enough manpower to continue posing a threat to the stability of the country and even threaten American targets and civilians.

On Sept. 30, CBS's 60 Minutes aired a program, aptly titled "The Longest War," that discussed al Qaeda's resurgence in Afghanistan. You can watch the program [above].

The program makes several points that we here at The Long War Journal have made for years: al Qaeda has provided key assistance to the Taliban, including training and personnel [see our report on the Shadow Army from February 2009]; al Qaeda remains entrenched in Afghanistan, and has a safe haven in Kunar (we warned about this starting in 2009); and the US military's own press releases detail the reach of al Qaeda and other terror groups in the country (LWJ has been covering this exclusively for years, in painstaking detail).

See the following excerpt from the program's transcript:

[Narrator:] He [a Taliban commander] told us al Qaeda fighters are rushing to Afghanistan and that he has more than a dozen of them under his command. He also said they have been the driving force that has made the Taliban more lethal on the battlefield.

LOGAN: Are you the only commander with al Qaeda fighters?

TALIBAN COMMANDER: There are many groups that have them. We can't do this without them.

LOGAN: What skills do the al Qaeda fighters bring?

TALIBAN COMMANDER: They are masters of everything. For example, making IEDs, something we don't know how to do. But they are teaching us. They are also master engineers and good with all weapons. When our weapons break, they are the ones who repair them. We can't do this without them.

LOGAN: While the U.S. has been saying for a long time that al Qaeda in Afghanistan is almost defeated, the U.S. military's own reports from the battlefield reveal a very different picture.

They are rich with detail about al Qaeda's leaders and operations today, confirming the existence of al Qaeda training camps and multiple attack cells. Among those they say they've killed are al Qaeda weapons and explosives experts. In one month, the U.S. says it killed more than 25 al Qaeda leaders and fighters.
The Long War Journal
OCT 9 2012

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Loebsack, Thompson Introduce Recovering Service Members Disability Benefits Act PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Friday, 05 October 2012 14:18

Legislation Expedites Access for Wounded Warrior Disability Benefits, Reduces Financial Strain on Recovering Service Members

Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Dave Loebsack and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) have introduced H.R. 6445, the Recovering Service Members Disability Benefits Act, legislation to exempt disabled service members from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) 5-month benefit waiting period.  H.R. 6445 was introduced with the support numerous military and veteran support groups, including the National Guard Association (NGAUS) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

“Our servicemembers who have been wounded defending our country should not have to wait for benefits or face financial hardship,” said Loebsack.  “They should be able to focus on their recovery, not delays in their benefits.  This bill will help our wounded servicemembers and their families and honors the sacrifices they have made for our country.  We owe it to those who have  put their lives on the line protecting our freedoms to ensure that they are able to quickly access the benefits they need.”

“We must offer the brave men and women, who have put the welfare of the Nation and their comrades before their own, the best possible support upon their return from service, to ensure both their speedy recovery and future health and wellbeing,” said Thompson. “The Recovering Service Members Disability Benefits Act will exempt disabled service members that have qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits from the program’s 5-month waiting period, which will go a long way in helping our Wounded Warriors and their families become whole again, without bureaucratic delay or undue financial distress.”

Currently, when service members are wounded in combat and sent back to the United States to recover, some are unable to keep their current job in their respective military branch or find alternative employment due to their injuries. While disabled service members are eligible to apply for SSDI benefits, the Social Security Administration Disability Trust Fund mandates a 5-month waiting period before any benefits can be provided.

H.R. 6445 amends title II of the Social Security Act to provide that the waiting period for disability insurance benefits shall not be applicable in the case of a recovering service member. , which is defined as a member of the Armed Forces who is recovering from an injury or illness incurred in the line of duty in a combat zone.

The  Recovering Service Members Disability Benefits Act does not expand eligibility for SSDI benefits or automatically approve individual requests, and all of the same protections used to prevent fraud and abuse of the program remain as defined under current law.


Roseville Man Retires After 40 Years of Service to the Illinios National Guard PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sgt. Robert Adams, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office   
Tuesday, 02 October 2012 15:05

SPRINGFIELD, IL (10/02/2012)(readMedia)-- George Campbell of Roseville retired September 30 after 40 years of service to the Illinois National Guard, 20 of those as an enlisted Soldier in the Illinois National Guard where he retired as a first sergeant. The remainder of his service was as a state building and grounds laborer for the Macomb Armory.

Born and raised in Macomb, Campbell lived very close to the armory growing up.

"This building has been a major part of my life." Campbell said. "Before I joined, I went to the high school right behind the armory and walked by the armory every day. At the time I didn't realize how much of a major role it would play in my life."

Campbell's service did not stop when he retired from the Illinois National Guard in September 1992. He continued his service to the Illinois National Guard as an Illinois state building and grounds laborer for the Macomb Armory.

"I would put the looks of this armory up against any facility, George has done a fantastic job," said Master Sgt. Christopher Carlock of Astoria, with Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment 44th Chemical Battalion.

In addition to Campbell's work at the armory, many people developed a close personal bond with Campbell and looked up to him.

"We will definitely feel a hole here with George being gone. I am personally going to miss having George here at the armory," said Carlock. "He was a spiritual leader for me and was a great friend to have around the facility."

Campbell sculpted some of the high-ranking officers that lead the Soldiers of the Illinois National Guard today. Campbell guided and mentored his troops while serving as the first sergeant for Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery Regiment. "George, who was my first sergeant, was always there for me when I was a private," said Lt. Col. Maurice Rochelle of Flossmoor with the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. "He was instrumental in helping me become the noncommissioned officer I was with Battery B."

Campbell plans on working part-time and spending more time with his family and traveling to the southern parts of the United States to listen to southern gospel vocal groups.

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