Military & Veterans News
Braley Announces Over $1.4 Million for Veterans Transportation Database PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 15:20

Funds will go toward creating a one call/one click resource for veterans

Dubuque, IA – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today announced that the Federal Transit Administration has obligated $1,461,800 to the Iowa Department of Transportation for the Veterans Transportation and Community Living Project. The funding will create a database that will hold veterans’ transportation information and combine it with other resources to create a comprehensive database to start a one-call/one-click resource. This will allow veterans, persons with disabilities, persons over 60, and the general public to access information about transportation and other human service resources available.

 

“The more resources veterans, the disabled, and the elderly have to assist them in transportation, the more ability they have to live a full and active life,” said Braley. “At the very least, we owe our veterans reliable transportation, and the assistance to the rest of the community will be a great asset to many groups. I am pleased this funding is coming to Iowa and hope the resource database will provide new information and assistance to these groups.”

 

Braley has worked hard to provide needed assistance to veterans. Less than a month ago the Andrew Connolly Veterans Housing Act, which he introduced, was signed into law by President Obama.

 

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DON'T LET OUR TROOPS BE FORGOTTEN ANYMORE! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Move America Forward   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 14:05
Friends this is a message that I never wanted to have to write, but today the time has come to be honest with each other and admit that something has gone terribly wrong. Despite our best efforts, our troops overseas in Afghanistan are still suffering from a lack of compassion and attention from back home, especially from the news outlets and the politicians who claim to care so much.

Candidate Obama promised to refocus America's resources on Afghanistan. But by the time President Obama sent 33,000 more troops to Afghanistan in December 2009 in a policy known as the "surge", years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan had drained Western resources and sapped resolve
- NBC 8/22/2012

The President just threw some more troops into Afghanistan to fulfill his campaign promise and then just forgot about them. He didn't want to appear soft on terror, he didn't want to admit that he intended to ignore our troops, but that's whats been happening.

When was the last time you heard any politician talk about the importance of supporting our troops and defeating the terrorists? They are few and far between.

Our responsibility is to keep the faith, to continue serving our troops and supporting them until their mission is complete and they can all come home! We sent them over there so now it's our duty to help them finish the job - so sponsor a MAF care package today and send some much needed support to our soldiers, marines, airmen, sailors and guardsmen serving over in Afghanistan.


SOLDIER LAMENTS: "NO ONE REALLY CARES. ALL THE 'SUPPORT THE TROOPS' STUFF IS BUMPER STICKER DEEP"

As much as we have worked hard to try to help our troops feel appreciated and supported while deployed overseas, we're not doing enough! Too many of our troops feel that Americans don't care about the mission or the men and women sacrificing for it!

"We're bored with it," said Matthew Farwell, who served in the U.S. Army for five years including 16 months in eastern Afghanistan, where he sometimes received letters from grade school students addressed to the brave Marines in Iraq — the wrong war.

"We all laugh about how no one really cares," he said. "All the 'support the troops' stuff is bumper sticker deep."
- NBC 8/22/2012

Never before in our nation's history have we as a nation put almost 12 years of time, effort, money, and most precious of all, American lives lost, into an effort like this conflict in Afghanistan. And yet, here today, we've lost the energy and fervor with which we supported our troops before. They noticed.



We must do better. We can't let this be OUR legacy as a generation. When this war began, and the anti-war protesters took to the streets, we stood by our troops, we got our American flags out and rallied to support the troops in the streets because we wanted to show the world that this would not be a repeat of the shameful way Americans treated their troops during Vietnam.

We didn't want the War on Terror to end up being a repeat of that sad chapter in American history. Now we're in danger of allowing that to happen to our troops in Afghanistan. We must show our support to correct this trend immediately! 


DON'T LET OUR TROOPS FEEL FORGOTTEN ANYMORE! WE NEED TO SEND  A SURGE OF SUPPORT TO REMIND OUR TROOPS THAT WE STILL SUPPORT THEM!

Each care package comes with tons of goodies that our troops love and appreciate, from coffee and cookies to beef jerky and gatorade. Our care packages have the comfort foods they need and personal care items like deodorant, sunblock, wet wipes and lip balm that help them deal with the tough environment!

SPONSORING A MAF CARE PACKAGE IS AN EASY, AFFORDABLE, AND TAX-DEDUCTIBLE WAY TO SHOW THE TROOPS THAT YOU CARE!

CLICK HERE TO FORWARD THIS IMPORTANT
MESSAGE TO FRIENDS & FAMILY

 
Illinois Guardsmen in Kuwait receive combat patches during ceremony PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sgt. Joshua S. Edwards, 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 13:02

ALI AL SALEM, KUWAIT (08/24/2012)(readMedia)-- Nearly 60 days after arriving in Kuwait 10 Illinois Army National Guardsmen became members of a proud tradition during a right sleeve insignia ceremony at the Army Life Support Area (LSA) post chapel Aug 15.

For most, this was a second and third right sleeve patch awarded, but for one Soldier it was his fourth time, said Maj. Jeff Walden, Theater Gateway deputy director.

"This is my fourth deployment, but first time to have a ceremony." he added. "It reminds you of the importance of the mission."

For Spc. Kaila McConkey, an Arcola, Ill., native, it was the first time in her nearly four-year enlistment to receive the right sleeve patch.

"I feel that becoming a veteran and serving is one of the greatest and most important things that anyone can ever do," said McConkey.

The right sleeve insignia or combat patch was first introduced during WWII. Since that time Soldiers who have deployed to a combat area, or as a combat support element overseas, have earned the privilege and honor of wearing the right sleeve insignia.

"We may be here in a combat support role, but the role here is sending Soldiers into the fight," said Sgt. Maj. Diane Rogers of Girard, Ill., Theater Gateway sergeant major, "I've served in Afghanistan and know what they (Soldiers) are up against."

Col. David L. Jones, 113th Sustainment Brigade commander, attended the ceremony to show his support and add a few words of encouragement.

"Yes, you are a small unit, but your mission is enormous," said Jones. "We are warriors first and logisticians second."

The Illinois Guardsmen are deployed to Kuwait for a nine-month long rotation. Their mission, according to Lt. Col. Natalie Northern of Springfield, Ill., director of the Theater Gateway, is to provide transportation, billeting and accountability for U.S. servicemembers, DoD employees and contractors entering and exiting Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan for deployment, redeployment, rest and recuperation, emergency leave and temporary duty.

 

Photo caption: Lt. Col. Natalie Northern of Springfield, Theater Gateway director, receives the right sleeve insignia of the 113th Sustainment Brigade from Col. David Jones the 113th Sustainment Brigade commander, at the Army Life Support Area post chapel in Kuwait Aug 15. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua S. Edwards)

 
Schilling Invites Area Heroes to Veterans Forum PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Andrea Pivarunas   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 12:19

To Ensure They are Getting the Care and Attention They Deserve from the Department of Veterans Affairs

Moline, Illinois — Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) will be hosting a forum specifically for veterans this Saturday, August 25 featuring Mr. Duane Honeycutt, Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Chicago (VARO), Ms. Dawn Oxley, Acting Director of the Iowa City VA Health Care System, Ms. Jean Swiderski, Education Specialist with TRICARE.  Also expected to attend are Mayor David Blanton of Rock Falls and Mayor Skip Lee of Sterling.  Director Honeycutt, Ms. Oxley, and Ms. Swiderski have graciously agreed to meet with area veterans to gather input from them about their needs and provide them with information about veterans benefits and processes.  

The forum is intended to be educational and will address issues pertaining to the operation of the VARO, such as how to properly file a claim, the claim and appeal process, what documents are necessary to file a claim, the length of time to review a claim, and more.  The forum is open to veterans, their spouses, VSOs, and other individuals who may have concerns related to the specific nature of the forum.

“Our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much for our country, and it is our responsibility to provide them with the care they deserve,” Schilling said. “This forum will give our area’s heroes the opportunity to speak directly with VA officials to share their ideas about what can be done both in Illinois and in Washington to improve their access to care.”
  • WHO: Congressman Bobby Schilling, Mr. Duane Honeycutt, Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Chicago (VARO), Ms. Dawn Oxley, Acting Director of the Iowa City VA Health Care System, Ms. Jean Swiderski, TRICARE, and Mayors David Blanton and Skip Lee
  • WHAT: Veterans Forum, to gather input on veterans’ needs and provide information about veterans benefits and processes
  • WHEN: Saturday, August 25 from 9:00am CST – 11:00am CST
  • WHERE: Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce Auditorium - 601 W. 10th Street, Rock Falls, Illinois 61071
  • WHY: In an effort to ensure our area’s heroes are getting the care and attention they deserve from the Department of Veterans Affairs
Those interested in attending the forum can contact Schilling’s office in Moline by calling (309) 757-7630.  Due to the sensitive nature of casework the forum itself is closed to the press, but there will be a press availability to follow.  Media should check in with Ken Moffett upon arriving for further information.

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Illinois Guardsmen Compete in Adjutant General's Rifle, Pistol Match PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sgt. Michael Camacho, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 11:56

MARSEILLES, IL (08/22/2012)(readMedia)-- Roughly 150 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers competed in the 2012 Adjutant General's Combat Rifle and Pistol Competition August 17 to 19 at Marseilles Training Center in Marseilles.

The annual competition is designed to highlight and evaluate the marksmanship skills of Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers, said Sgt. Terry Pody of Machesney Park, the state rifle competition team coach with the 135th Chemical Company in Machesney Park.

"The Army defines the paramount Soldier skill as marksmanship," said Pody. "Here we train marksmanship to the highest standard."

Pody said the Soldiers compete in five individual and four team events that test competitors' abilities to engage multiple targets from different distances and positions including standing, kneeling and prone.

"Their performance has been outstanding. They're doing very well, demonstrating a high standard of personal skill," said Pody.

The Adjutant General's combat rifle and pistol competition is the only statewide marksmanship competition in the Illinois National Guard.

Warrant Officer 1 Kyle Gleason of Lincoln, with the 3625th Surface Maintenance Company in North Riverside said the competition brings out Soldiers with all types of experience and skill. With the diversity of shooters there are few trends, just a display of skill and luck.

"Rookies will always surprise you and old shooters will always have some sort of critical error," said Gleason. "This is the best place to find that Soldier who runs faster and shoots straighter than everybody else. It gives them a chance to shine."

Gleason said the competition tested Soldiers individually and also their abilities to work as a team.

"You'll have a team who comes up to an event they've never done before and they have little time to prepare for it," said Gleason. "They have to coordinate extensively and execute the mission and will have instant feedback on what they did good or bad."

Following the competition, Soldiers were awarded plaques, Governor's 20 tabs and certificates by Maj. Gen. Dennis Celletti of Springfield, the Acting Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard.

"These rifle, pistol annual matches are a critical element that identifies the top shooters out there in the field and in our organization," said Celletti. "Marksmanship is a key skill, and we need to recognize those Soldiers who stand out, shoot better and exceed the marksmanship standard."

The top Soldiers will now compete at the regional and national levels in the next few months.

The list of top teams, winners and Governor's 20 recipients follows:

Top three individuals

1. Spc. Lucas Kinkelaar, Carterville, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, Effingham

2. 1st Lt. Justin Conley, Downers Grove, 135th Chemical Company, Machesney Park

3. Spc. Scott Lange, Aurora, Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry, Aurora

Top three teams

1. Company A, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, West Frankfort

2. Field Support Company, 766th Engineers Battalion, Decatur

3. 233rd Military Police Company, Springfield

Team Rifle Competition

1. Company A, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, West Frankfort

2. HHT, 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment, Kewanee

3. Field Support Company, 766th Engineers Battalion, Decatur

Overall Pistol Team

1. 233rd Military Police Company, Springfield

2. Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment, Aurora

3. Field Support Company, 766th Engineers Battalion, Decatur

Governor's Top 20

1. Spc. Lucas Kinkelaar, Carterville, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, Effingham

2. 1st Lt. Justin Conley, Downers Grove 135th Chemical Company, Machesney Park

3. Spc. Scott Lange, Aurora, Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment, Aurora

4. Staff Sgt. John Hunter, Elburn, A Company, 405th Brigade Support Battalion, Streator

5. Pfc. Michael Weinberg, Mokena, 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Chicago

6. Cadet Zachary Boyd, Normal, HHC 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Machesney Park

7. Staff Sgt. Marcin Koch, Elwood Park, 3625th Surface Maintenance Company, Springfield

8. Warrant Officer 2 Brandon Gibbs of Pleasant Plains with Company B, 634th Brigade Support Battalion, Champaign

9. Sgt. Bryan Helfrich, Dixon, 333rd Military Police Company, Freeport

10. Staff Sgt. Jason Thompson, Murphysboro, HHC, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, Marion

11. Spc. Todd Buhlig, Decatur, Field Support Company, 766th Engineers Battalion, Decatur

12. Staff Sgt. Lance Odum, Carbondale, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, West Frankfort

13. Staff Sgt. Daniel Alarik, Hoffman Estates, HHC, 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Chicago

14. Staff Sgt. Adam Felty, Shumway, Field Support Company, 766th Engineers Battalion, Decatur

15. Staff Sgt. Dimar Vasquez of Chicago, Company C, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment in Joliet

16. Warrant Officer 3 Cameron Stanberry, Arenzville, Field Support Company, 766th Engineers Battalion, Decatur

17. Spc. Kenneth Browne, Lisle, Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment, Aurora

18. Spc. Mike Paxson, Chicago, Company B, 405th Brigade Support Battalion, Crestwood

19. Spc. Kyle Greene, Edwards, Company A, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment in Bartonville

20. Staff Sgt. Hunter Lawsonlloyd, Valparaiso, Company C, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment in Joliet

 
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