Military & Veterans News
Illinois Soldiers Experience Botswanan Culture While Training in Africa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sgt. Adam Fischman, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 14:28

BOTSWANA, AFRICA (08/08/2012)(readMedia)-- Three Illinois National Guard units, among the more than 1,200 military personnel from the United States who are participating in Southern Accord 2012, gathered for a cultural day Aug. 5 at Thebephatshwa Air Base, The Republic of Botswana, Africa.

Southern Accord 12 is a joint exercise bringing together U.S. Army personnel with counterparts from the Botswana Defense Force to conduct humanitarian assistance, disaster relief operations, peacekeeping operations, aeromedical evacuation and enhance military capabilities and interoperability.

The 405th Brigade Support Battalion in North Riverside and Streator, the 766th Engineer Battalion in Decatur and the 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment in Springfield are supporting Southern Accord 2012 Aug. 1 to 17.

During cultural day Soldiers experienced a dance performance from local Botswana Defense Forces (BDF) personnel in ethnic attire as well as local music and food.

Approximately 35 vendors from across Africa also set up booths to sell collectables, souvenirs and clothing. The day also gave members from the various forces a chance to socialize and network with each another.

Sgt. Whitney Clever of Island Lake, Ill., with Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 405th Brigade Support Battalion in North Riverside said she loved cultural day for the interaction with the BDF and local civilians. She said she learned a lot about Botswana culture from the items she found at the bazaar.

"During an exercise like this, it's amazing to see so many different counterparts come together," said Clever. "Not only by country, but also the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Navy coming together with the BDF and their local community for a shared experience. It was really a great exercise."

Having an opportunity to interact with people not from her country was African-native Charlene Mubita's favorite part of the day. Mubita sold clothing, self-designed home goods, and served local foods at her booth.

"It was a great opportunity to meet so many different people from various places, all of whom were friendly," said Mubita.

Video of the cultural day and interviews with Illinois National Guard Soldiers can be found here

Illinois National Guard Chaplain Ministers to Troops in Africa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Illinois National Guard PAO   
Monday, 06 August 2012 14:48

SPRINGFIELD, IL (08/06/2012)(readMedia)-- Illinois Army National Guard Chaplain Capt. Paul Weberg of Aurora is providing religious support during Operation Southern Accord 2012, a joint exercise between the United States and the Republic of Botswana.

"I have become more assertive in my ministry," said Weberg. "I'm usually one to sit back and let people come to me, but in this military setting you can't do that. You have to be more missionary."

Weberg is the chaplain for the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade based in Chicago and has served four tours in Iraq.

"He is able to come across very well received. Humbly, yet with a certain confidence," said Sgt. Vincent Guzman, of Chicago, the 404th MEB chaplain's assistant.

Weberg admits Soldiers typically only think of chaplains being around on Sundays for church services, but he is making it a point to ensure Soldiers know chaplains are available for any faith at any time.

"We're much more than that. We're chaplains seven days a week, 24 hours a day," said Weberg.

More than 1,200 military personnel from The Republic of Botswana and the United States are participating in Southern Accord 2012. The exercise aims to enhance the interoperability and cooperation between U.S. and Botswanan Defense Forces and increase stability and security across the African continent.

Braley Statement on President Signing the Andrew Connolly Veterans Housing Act PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 06 August 2012 14:47

Braley Applauds Bi-partisan Success Honoring Dubuque Veteran


Dubuque, IA – Today, President Obama will sign H.R. 1627, the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.  Included in the law is the Andrew Connolly Veterans Housing Act which will extend a Veterans’ Administration adaptive housing grant program that helps injured and disabled veterans retrofit their homes to make them more disability-accessible.  Without this legislation, the adaptive housing program would have expired at the end of 2012.


"Meeting Andrew, Jenny and Brody Connolly will always be one of the highlights of my life," Braley said.  "They inspired me, the people of Dubuque and members of both parties in Congress to do more to help one another.  Andrew would have turned 29 last week and I can think of no more fitting tribute to his memory than this bill being signed into law."


The Andrew Connolly Veterans Housing Act is named after the late Andrew Connolly of Dubuque – an Iowa Army National Guardsman who returned from a tour of duty in Iraq with a tumor in his spine. With Braley’s help, Connolly was able to get a grant that allowed him to move into a wheelchair-accessible home until his untimely death in August 2011.  Connolly became an advocate for expanding the program, despite his failing health.


The bill will extend the adaptive housing grant program for disabled veterans for ten years, through December 31, 2022.  The legislation also increases the adaptive housing grant limit for temporary housing to $28,000, and increases the total adaptive housing grant limit from $63,780 to $91,780, revising current law to exclude the temporary residence adaptation grant from counting towards the total grant amount.


The Andrew Connolly Veterans Housing Act is included on page 12 of the bill to be signed into law today.  To see this section of the bill, go to:  In addition, to see Andrew Connolly testifying in Congress on May 3, 2011 about the importance of the Veterans Housing programs, go to:



VA Veterans Adaptive Housing Grant Limits


Current Law

Andrew Connolly Act (Becomes Law Today)

Expiration Date

December 31, 2012

December 31, 2022

Temporary Housing Grant Limit



Permanent Housing Grant Limit



TOTAL Housing Grant Limit




# # #

News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sgt. Michael Camacho, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs   
Monday, 06 August 2012 14:21

SPRINGFIELD, IL (08/03/2012)(readMedia)-- SPRINGFIELD - Fire fighters and police officers throughout the Litchfield area came to aid the victims after a Megabus crash on Aug. 2 that killed one and injured three dozen.

Among those assisting the first-responders were two Illinois National Guard Soldiers, Cadet Casey Fay of Edwardsville, with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment in Litchfield and Pfc. Christopher Morris of Robinson, with 445th Chemical Company in Shiloh.

The two were driving from Camp Lincoln in Springfield, headed to their office at the Illinois National Guard's East St. Louis Readiness Center in East St. Louis when they came across the crash.

Morris said as they passed the wreck, they saw firefighters and EMTs assisting people at the scene.

"We both felt it in our gut that we should get out there and help these people," said Morris.

Fay, a combat medic and certified EMT, helped the first responders treat the victims. Morris, who just returned from a Search and Extraction class, assisted with litters and patient aid.

Fay said the first responders were happy to receive the additional help from the two Soldiers. They directed the two to help the walking wounded and get casualties on to stretchers to be transported for further treatment. They also assisted with gathering patient information.

After most of the walking wounded were triaged, they were loaded on to a bus to be transported to Litchfield community center for further medical treatment.

Fay was assigned as the primary medic on one of the buses transporting patients to the community center. Morris stayed on scene to help more casualties get on stretchers to be transported to area hospitals.

"We were glad we stopped and helped out," said Fay. "They definitely put our skills to good use."

News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Steward Reeve   
Monday, 06 August 2012 14:17


SPRINGFIELD, IL (08/03/2012)(readMedia)-- To recognize the 200th anniverary of the War of 1812, Don Ferricks, assistant curator of the Military Museum and Living Historian will display and discuss the uniform and equipment of a Regular Army Soldier of the time.


Don Ferricks, assistant curator of the Illinois State Military Museum and Living Historian


To recognize the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the Fort Dearborn massacre, the Illinois State Military Museum will feature Living Historian Don Ferricks who will display and discuss the uniform and equipment of a Regular Army Soldier of the time. Admission and parking are free.

WHEN: Wednesday August 15, 2012 at 01:00PM Central Time (US & Canada)

WHERE:Illinois State Military Museum
1301 N. MacArthur Blvd
Springfield, Illinois 62702


The Illinois State Military Museum displays the history of the Illinois National Guard from 1723 to the 21st Century. Located two blocks north of the intersection of MacArthur Blvd. and North Grand Ave. in Springfield, Ill., the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Contact the museum at (217) 761-3910 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit Become a museum Facebook Fan at To learn more about Illinois National Guard history visit

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