Military & Veterans News
Bartonville-Based Infantry Soldiers Get Back to the Basics PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sgt. Jesse Houk, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   
Thursday, 12 July 2012 13:22

CAMP RIPLEY, MINN. (07/11/2012)(readMedia)-- Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment in Bartonville participated in squad live-fire exercises at the Infantry Platoon Battle Course as part of the eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) program July 9 at Camp Ripley, Minn.

"This training is the culmination of what we have been doing over the last year," said 1st Lt. Chris K. Rodgers of Macomb, battalion liaison officer of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment. "This is a validation lane for what we are going to be doing July 12. There the companies will run through platoon-size, live-fire exercises."

As with much Army-based training, a crawl, walk, run approach was used. Soldiers were briefed they were in a reconnaissance patrol, came upon enemy contact and had to destroy the enemy with their weapons, clearing the way for future movement.

"It's a real slow pace right now as we're learning," said Spc. Waylon S. Holland of Columbia, Mo., with Company A. "We spent a lot of time with rehearsals trying to better fit each other. I think this will be foundational and a crucial part to our XCTC experience."

During the rehearsals each squad moved tactically until engaged by pop-up targets and then responded with blank-round ammunition. Soon after, the squads repeated the movement with live rounds.

"This training is simulating (received) contact on a dismounted patrol," said Pfc. Collin A. Watts of Plainfield, with Company A. "We're practicing bounding techniques, which are basic movement techniques within a squad."

Although the movements are basic infantry tactics, the importance of knowing and employing them are vital to mission success and Soldier safety.

"Every infantryman will know this ... this is as basic as it gets," said Cpl. Paul A. Minder of Roanoke, team leader with Company A. "This is something they have to practice; they have to know."

The acknowledgement of risk and the seriousness of the exercise was expressed by others as well.

"It comes down to knowing who's on your right and left, knowing how to communicate and knowing how to give and follow orders," said Capt. Nick P. Camardo of Rockford, Company A commander. "It's essential they know how to take the proper steps and keep the weapon pointed down range and at the enemy. It's important for them to continue to train like this and I'm confident they will be good to go by the end of the day."

Company A made safety a priority and took the necessary precautions to ensure the Soldiers stayed safe throughout the exercise.

"There will be one range personnel, one medic, and two internal company safeties who will walk with every squad," said Rodgers.

After Camardo validates squads, the battalion commander will validate the platoons and then Company A can be validated and complete a large portion of their pre-mobilization tasks.

Coalition Ad Campaign Warns White House and Senate: “No More Defense Cuts” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Travis Korson   
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 13:58
Washington, D.C. July 12, 2012:  Today, the Coalition for the Common Defense launched a national advocacy campaign aimed at preventing further, draconian cuts to the U.S. military of $500 billion dollars or more in January 2013 pursuant to the “sequestration” mechanism created under the Budget Control Act of 2011. The campaign will feature a series of video advertisements demonstrating the dangerous absurdity of the sorts of deep and – worse-yet – indiscriminate, across-the-board defense spending cuts now in prospect. The first spot premiered today and can be viewed here: ( The campaign is designed to encourage the American public to express their opposition to these cuts.  The Coalition will facilitate such communications with the White House and Senate through a portal at its web-site here: (
Regarding the campaign launch and the need to avert sequestration, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., a member of the Coalition for the Common Defense, remarked:
“Defense has already paid its fair share into deficit reduction and we cannot safely and responsibly try to balance the budget on the backs of our men and women in uniform.  This campaign, and specifically the Coalition’s ads, will bring home to the American people the reckless absurdity of these defense cuts – and the need to avoid the train-wreck they will precipitate.”
The mandated sequestration cuts come on top of an already budgeted $487 billion reduction over the next 10 years as part of Budget Control Act of 2011.
The additional $500 billion in sequestration cuts would prove devastating, both militarily and economically.  Militarily, this would result in the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest Navy since 1915, and the smallest Air Force in history.  Economically, sequestration could result in $62.9 billion in lost revenues for defense contractors, projected job losses of over 1.3 million, and an $86.4 billion decrease in Gross Domestic Product.
The House of Representatives has already acted on legislation that would stave off these budget reductions and their attendant impact for at least a year, giving the executive and legislative branches time to devise a different, less reckless approach to deficit reduction.  The Senate has yet to act, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama insisting that any such relief must be accompanied by tax increases.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. continued:
“The American people do not want the White House and the Senate to hold our military hostage to budget gamesmanship.  It is unconscionable to play politics with the arming, training and sustaining of our troops – particularly if, by so doing, the President and Senate leaders may be jeopardizing not only their missions, but their lives.”
The Coalition for the Common Defense is an alliance of like-minded individuals and organizations who believe that without provision for the “common defense,” as articulated by the Founders, the freedom that has allowed unprecedented opportunity and prosperity to flourish in this country would soon be imperiled. In this new age of budgetary cuts, the Coalition rejects the false choice between military strength and economic health contending that economic prosperity depends on a strong national defense. Through a series of events and strategic partnerships, the coalition is calling on elected officials, candidates for office and others who share our commitment to the common defense to uphold these principles.  We must return the United States to sensible fiscal principles without sacrificing our national security.
A full statement of principles can be located here. The Coalition of the Common Defense can be found online at

Soldiers Across State Make Long Haul for Special Training PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Pfc. Allison Lampe, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team   
Tuesday, 10 July 2012 11:20

CAMP RIPLEY, MINN. (07/10/2012)(readMedia)-- Soldiers with the Illinois Army National Guard's 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) in Urbana traveled to Camp Ripley, Minn., this week by bus, plane and convoy for the eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) program as a part of their annual training.

The training this year is an especially large endeavor, lasting three weeks instead of the usual two. The XCTC program aims to provide the most up-to-date and realistic training available to units preparing to deploy.

Although the 33rd IBCT's scheduled deployment for next year was canceled, the XCTC program is still a unique opportunity for Soldiers to keep their skills sharp and ensure they are indeed "Always Ready."

The 33rd IBCT, consisting of approximately 2,350 Soldiers from 30 companies from Machesney Park to Marion, ensured all Soldiers, vehicles and equipment arrived safely.

Chief Warrant Officer (2) Kenneth Morris of Mahomet, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 33rd IBCT, was responsible for organizing the 597 vehicles and 209 trailers required for the training.

Morris began preparation for the long haul as early as March, directing members of the 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment in Kewanee driving convoys to Fort McCoy, Wis., for drill weekend and bussing them back. They repeated that process in April. Overall, units pre-positioned 177 vehicles and trailers over drill weekends.

Morris also used the Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site on Camp Ripley to borrow 179 vehicles and 25 trailers.

From there, a combined 157 vehicles and trailers were brought on semi trailers and 223 were driven in convoys.

Most convoys were broken into a two-day trek, but some of the southernmost units required three days to complete the trip. The convoys were the most time consuming mode of transportation due to the multiple stops needed to keep the vehicles from overheating.

Maj. Friedrich Josellis of Macomb, communication officer for the 33rd IBCT, was the officer in charge of Headquarters and Headquarters Company 33rd IBCT convoy that began July 5. He said the temperature was the biggest obstacle, which was 104 degrees on the first day of the convoy.

It became a hazard, not only to the vehicles, but to the Soldiers as well. Soldier care was critical, said Josellis, because of the high risk of heat injury and dehydration.

"Soldiers did extraordinarily well given the trying conditions in terms of staying healthy and keeping the vehicles running," said Josellis. "The Soldiers (conducted) preventative maintenance checks and services on the vehicles every stop. Thanks to that we didn't lose any vehicles because of anything the Soldiers did."

In addition to the Soldiers traveling by convoy, there were more than 1,000 transported on commercial buses and more than 450 by airplane on C-130s with the Illinois Air National Guard's 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria, Ill.

All Soldiers arrived to Camp Ripley, Minn., July 8.

News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Move America Forward   
Tuesday, 10 July 2012 07:45
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Personal note from YOU


MAF is proud to include another wonderful supporter of the troops to our Troopathon guest list.  Dennis Miller has participated in the last 3 events with recorded messages that speak to the troops in his own personal way.  He has a way of reaching people few in the media can match and we are so excited to include him in this year’s lineup.

We can't stress enough how important this year's Troopathon is, not only for the continuing mission of Move America Forward, but for the morale of our troops at a very important time. For months now we've been noticing that the troops over in Afghanistan aren't getting the proper coverage in the media, as people back home are worried about the economy or elections coming up.

While these things are all important, they don't outweigh the importance of supporting our troops overseas! We sent them there on a mission and we now have a responsibility to support them and their mission until the troops all come home! So please dig deep, see if there are things in your monthly budgets that could be trimmed or cut in order to make a contribution - our troops put their lives on the line every day so it's the least we can do!



Dennis Miller is known not only for his striking political commentary and uncommon sense of common sense wisdom, but also his amazing success as a comedian. Miller’s comedy shows on HBO were hugely successful for over 9 years, as well as many stand-up specials he made successful.  In the political world Miller is a master of blending comedy with political opinion and common sense understanding of the issues as the popularity of his daily radio show attests.         

But when it comes to our military and the men and women in uniform nothing is comical to Dennis.  He supports the troops through many causes and efforts and we are so proud he includes Troopathon in those causes.

Miller's staunch support of our troops and their missions is characterized by this quote:

“I respect kids who go into, you know, tough places and do the work that quite frankly, you can’t even image that they have the courage to do,” he said.   “So I began to look at them and heard so many people saying, ‘I support the troops, but not their mission.’  I thought that’s insane, their mission is the essence.”

We are proud of Dennis Millers’ unapologetic support for our fighting men and women, and we’re happy to have him as part of our Troopathon this year!

Will you join with Dennis Miller and be a proud supporter of Troopathon?  It only takes a few minutes but the gift it gives a soldier serving far from home can last many times longer. 

Illinois National Guard Soldiers begin intense training in Minnesota PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Maj. Nathan A. Westby, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team   
Monday, 09 July 2012 13:52

CAMP RIPLEY, MINN. (07/09/2012)(readMedia)-- Soldiers with the Illinois National Guard began arriving at Camp Ripley, Minn., July 6 to support and train the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) through the Army National Guard's premier training program for brigade combat teams.

Units from all major commands in the Illinois National Guard are involved in the training event that includes the 33rd IBCT in Urbana, the 108th Sustainment Brigade in Chicago, the 65th Troop Command Brigade in Springfield, the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Chicago, and the Joint Forces Headquarters in Springfield. At the peak of operations there will be more than 3,200 Soldiers from Illinois at Camp Ripley.

Brig. Gen. Johnny Miller, Assistant Adjutant General for the Illinois Army National Guard, and the Task Force Illini commander for the exercise, said this is an opportunity to highlight the quality of the Illinois Army National Guard and its Soldiers.

"This exercise will demonstrate the high caliber of our organization to key decision makers at the national level and the community leaders where our armories are located," said Miller.

The 33rd IBCT is the primary training audience during the 21-day exercise, which will certify the brigade's companies and platoons on the ability to perform mission specific tasks. Completing the three-week training exercise ensures the 33rd IBCT will be ready for potential future deployments in 2014 when the brigade will be in the available force pool.

Col. Paul C. Hastings, the 33rd IBCT commander said the exercise will be intense and challenging for all units in the 33rd IBCT.

"Over the next three weeks we will train to be the most lethal and survivable IBCT in the National Guard. Our execution of this exercise will be the most aggressive and complicated ever contemplated by an IBCT in this program," said Hastings.

The 33rd IBCT last completed the same Army National Guard program in 2008 before the unit deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Army National Guard program, the eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC), was created in 2005 to reduce training overhead for National Guard brigades without sacrificing quality, standards, or outcomes. It is designed to build upon fundamental doctrine while integrating tough, realistic training. The XCTC program provides a cost-effective and readily available alternative to the Army's Combat Training Centers.

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