Military & Veterans News
Armored Knight Brings Sense of Security to Kewanee National Guard PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sgt. 1st Class Mike Chrisman, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   
Monday, 23 July 2012 12:50

CAMP RIPLEY, MINN. (07/21/2012)(readMedia)-- "It makes me the most lethal guy on the battlefield," said Staff Sgt. Kurt Russell of Peoria, Ill., with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry in Kewanee, Ill., as he talked about the new M1200 Armored Knight vehicle that his unit began using at Camp Ripley, Minn. during the unit's three-week annual training exercise.

The M1200 Armored Knight is an improved version of the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle (ASV) that has been used overseas and recently acquired by Illinois Army National Guard military police companies. The sole purpose of the M1200 Armored Knight is to provide a forward observer team the best communications, protection and targeting technology available to quickly and accurately bring fire onto an enemy.

"It's very similar at a glance," said Russell. "They have changed the turret, improved the equipment technology on the inside and improved the armor to better protect us."

The new Knight vehicle weighs approximately 16 tons and can travel about 400 miles on one tank of fuel, with a maximum highway speed of 63 miles per hour. It can also ford through 60 inches of water and muddy terrain without getting stuck.

"It's fun to drive," said Pfc. Jake Johnson of Mason City, Ill. with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd squadron, 106th Cavalry in Kewanee. "We are pushing the limits and testing the capabilities of the vehicle. There is so much armor, it would take a lot to tear one of these apart."

Russell deployed to Iraq with the 1744th Transportation Company in Streator in 2006-2007 where he drove the M1117 ASV and up-armored humvees. Russell said he is thrilled to be able to train for a future deployment with such great vehicles.

"There is no comparison," Russell said. "It can take a direct impact and keep going. With the run-flat tires, you can pop a tire and still get back to base. If given the choice between an MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle), up-armored humvee and the Armored Knight, I would take the Armored Knight every single day and twice on Sunday."

The Kewanee National Guard unit received three of the $1.7 million vehicles while at Camp Ripley. Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Urbana received four of the vehicles.

"It's a great vehicle that is capable of driving on any terrain," said Pvt. Mark Gibson of Pekin, Ill. with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry in Kewanee. "I feel lucky to be one of the nine guys assigned to these trucks."

Russell said it's important for the cavalry unit to be equipped with high tech equipment like the Armored Knight.

"The cavalry's mission is to go out first and scout the enemy," Russell said. "We have to get a good lay of the land so the infantry elements don't come into a surprise. This vehicle allows us to take fire and lay down suppressive fire while targeting both hard and soft targets for supporting elements and continue to move through the area. We have the communication assets to warn other elements about the enemy's position, make-up and other information critical to the battlefield."

The Black Knight contains a laser designator, a laser range finder and GPS. It is also equipped with computers that take target position data and transmit it to distant artillery units, close in mortar units, naval gunfire or fighters/bombers overhead and get accurate firepower on the target within minutes.

While the technology helps make the missions a success, most of the Soldiers talk about the protection the vehicle provides.

"I feel pretty secure and comfortable," said Gibson. "The armor provided a lot of protection. From the thick armor on the sides to the deflecting shield on the bottom for IEDs, it's a solid vehicle."

The 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team is no longer scheduled for a 2013 deployment; however, they are continuing to train for future mobilization opportunities. Russell said the new sense of security makes his team more confident they will be prepared for combat when called upon.

"In a mobile battlefield, these trucks lead the way," Russell said. "This is just one more piece on the brigade's chess board of pieces to bring absolute and immediate lethality to the enemy."

https://s3.amazonaws.com/attachments.readmedia.com/files/42262/original/20120721-UF180-001.jpg?1342903569

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mike Chrisman, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/ The M1200 Armored Knight is an improved version of the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle (ASV) that has been used overseas and recently acquired by Illinois Army National Guard military police companies. The sole purpose of the M1200 Armored Knight is to provide a forward observer team the best communications, protection, and targeting technology available to quickly and accurately bring fires onto an enemy. The Illinois Army National Guard was issued seven Armored Knights in July while training in Minnesota.

 
Amazing 25 Year Old Girl Delivers Hundreds of Care Packages to Afghanistan! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Move America Forward   
Friday, 20 July 2012 14:40
LACEY CASTLEBERRY ONLY 25, DELIVERS MAF
CARE PACKAGES TO TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN!


One of our most special and important guests of this year's Troopathon was not a big-name celebrity who everyone has heard of, but someone who is just as important to our troops as anyone else on our guest list.

Her name is Lacey and even though she's just 25 years old, she has done some amazing things with MAF to help our troops in a direct way. Lacey is a civilian contractor and works out of air bases in Afghanistan and volunteers for Operation Care. She is one of the people that MAF and other pro-troop groups use to distribute our support packages to troops on the front lines. She joined us on Troopathon to tell her story.

"Most of our care packages that we get are from Move America Forward"...

"On the larger bases we have a little PX, a little store, to get deodorant and shampoo but a lot of these guys who need it are at the smaller bases. So we would get these care packages out on the helicopters and out to these smaller bases that only get supplies so often. So these are the guys who get rationed food, they may not get showers for days..."

"...just to see the smiles and the excitement and the joy on these guys' faces was pretty incredible!"


- Lacey Castleberry, interviewed on Troopathon 2012

Lacey is a huge help to MAF and an important component of our operation. She is our link to the troops on the front lines and part of what makes sponsoring a care package through Move America Forward as special and unique way to support the troops! 

Please donate now and help us get MORE packages to Lacey so she can get them out into the hands of the troops who need them!

DONATE NOW TO SEND SUPPLIES TO
THE TROOPS WHO NEED THEM MOST!


CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FULL CLIP
OF OUR INTERVIEW WITH LACEY !

 
Another Step Forward for Keeping 132nd Fighter Wing in Des Moines PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 20 July 2012 14:39

Defense Appropriations Bill Mirrors Loebsack Amendment to Block National Guard Cuts

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the House passed the FY 2013 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which blocks cuts to the 132nd Fighter Wing and Air National Guard units across the country for one year and requires a Government Accountability Office cost-benefit analysis of the Air Force’s proposal.  This action builds on Loebsack’s bipartisan amendment in the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prevent cuts to the National Guard personnel and aircraft in Iowa and across the nation.  His amendment was approved by the full House of Representatives as part of the NDAA in May.

“The passage of this legislation is another step in the right direction for the Airmen with the 132nd who are some of the most experienced, most cost effective, and best performing in the country.  I have fought the Air Force’s ill advised proposal from the beginning and I will continue to work to make sure the dedicated men and women of the 132nd do not see their positions eliminated.”

Background:

February 9- Loebsack Statement on Iowa Delegation Meeting with Air Force Secretary

February 28- Loebsack Questions Air Force Leadership on Proposal to Retire Iowa Air National Guard F16s

March 6- Loebsack Statement Regarding 132nd Fighter Wing Staffing Announcement by the Air Force

May 9- Loebsack to Offer Amendment to Save the 132nd Fighter Wing

May 10- Loebsack Amendment to Save the 132nd Fighter Wing Passes Committee on Bipartisan Vote

May 18- Loebsack Amendment to Save 132nd Fighter Wing Passes House

July 12- Loebsack, Branstad Discuss Importance of Iowa’s Air Guard During House Hearing

###

 
Harkin Announces More than $600,000 to Assist Iowa Veteran Families Find Housing PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 12:42
July 17, 2012

202-224-3254

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded two Iowa organizations with a combined total of $609,713 through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program.  Grantees, which include private, non- profit organizations and consumer cooperatives, will provide supportive services to very low-income Veteran families’ living in or transitioning to permanent housing.

“No one who served their country should face challenges with one of life’s primary needs: housing,” said Harkin.  “This funding is an important step toward aiding Veteran families and to ending the problem of homeless veterans.”

Details of the Grants are as Follows:

Primary Health Care, Inc. - $362,170 to provide service to approximately 150 participant households in Marshall and Polk Counties.

Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. - $247,543 to serve approximately 125 participant households in Scott County, IA and Rock Island County, IL.

###

 
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.

 
<< Start < Prev 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 Next > End >>

Page 80 of 135