Military & Veterans News
Change of Command for Mississippi Valley Division of the Corps of Engineers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Allen A. Marshall   
Friday, 11 November 2011 13:08
VICKSBURG, Miss. - In a formal change of command ceremony, Major General Michael J. Walsh will transfer command of the Mississippi Valley Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to Major General John W. Peabody, Thursday, November 10.  The ceremony will be officiated by the Corps' Acting Chief of Engineers, Major General Merdith "Bo" Temple, and will take place at 10 a.m. in the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Maj. Gen. Walsh, MVD Commander and President of the Mississippi River Commission since February 2008, has been assigned as the Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C.

Maj. Gen. Peabody comes to Vicksburg from Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was Commander and Division Engineer of the Corps' Great Lakes and Ohio River Division. Previous commands include the 618th Engineer Company (Light Equipment) (Airborne), 82nd Airborne Division; the 299th Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, the Engineer Brigade for the 3rd Infantry Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom I, and the Pacific Ocean Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

As MVD Commander, General Peabody will be responsible for the Corps water resources programs in a 370,000-square-mile area that includes portions of 12 states; its boundary extends from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.  District offices are headquartered in St. Paul, Rock Island, St. Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg, and New Orleans.

In addition, General Peabody will be president-designee of the Mississippi River Commission, the presidentially appointed agency that oversees the comprehensive Mississippi River and Tributaries flood control and navigation project, as well as the entire Mississippi River and its tributaries.

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Veterans, A Legacy of Service PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek   
Friday, 11 November 2011 13:04
The Quad Cities is home to approximately twenty-eight thousand military veterans, many who continue to serve as part of the Rock Island Arsenal workforce.

Our veterans are owed a debt that simply cannot be repaid. Our nation depends on the willingness of its finest men and women to step forward and to serve, that dedicate themselves to the greater cause of protecting our democracy.

Following World War II, November 11, previously known as “Armistice Day”, became Veterans Day in order to remember those who served as members of the armed forces with honor and distinction.

As First Army Commander, I have had the privilege of serving with thousands of veterans, outstanding Soldiers and their incredibly dedicated families. For the better part of a decade they have endured multiple tours – protecting us from danger. Our most recent group of veterans, continue to honor the legacy of those that have served before them.

It’s never easy to console your children when your wife or husband is deployed. Military families do this every day, and today, as we remember and recognize our veterans, we recognize their families who stood beside our veterans and served and sacrificed in their own “combat zones”.

This Veterans Day, take a few moments to honor our veterans and show your appreciation for their sacrifices. Our veterans fought for and defended our freedoms, and we need to continue to thank them for their service.

First In Deed!

Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek
First Army Commander

 
In Iowa’s Interest: Recognizing Veterans’ Contributions During Military Families Appreciation Month PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 11 November 2011 11:58
By Senator Tom Harkin

On November 11th, our country pauses to honor and thank the servicemen and women who have given of themselves to protect and serve our great country. And as we honor their sacrifices, so too do we recognize the contributions of their families, who remain active members of our communities while their loved ones serve in harm’s way.

In Iowa, this has special meaning to families of the Second Brigade Combat team. Though most of the brigade returned home this summer, some of their fellow soldiers remain at medical centers across the country. We hope for their speedy recovery and prepare for their return.

In the past year, Congress took an important step toward helping our veterans by unanimously passing a 3.6 percent cost of living adjustment. Starting in 2012, those with service-related disabilities, those who receive survivor benefits and others who have earned benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, will receive their first increase to the cost of living adjustment since 2009.

This year also saw steps taken by Congress to address veterans with special needs and disabilities. For example, I have cosponsored legislation to assure that the VA allow service dogs into hospital facilities. And once the Andrew Connolly Veterans’ Housing Act is passed, it will provide specifically adapted housing assistance to individuals residing temporarily in housing owned by family members. I am pleased with the progress we have made with veterans who are disabled, but we still have vast improvements to make to ensure all service members are cared for properly during and after their time in uniform.

I also continue to support efforts to ensure that veterans and their families receive the benefits that they deserve. That is why I am the proud cosponsor of legislation that would repeal the “Widow’s Tax” for the survivors of our nation’s veterans and another bill that would allow for the full “concurrent receipt” of DOD and VA benefits. This and other legislation will help ensure that the American people fulfill the obligation that we have to those have given so much to our country.

Finally, I am very pleased that President Obama is fulfilling his campaign promise of pulling all our troops out of Iraq – an overdue step that I have long supported. The Iraqis are now in charge of their own fate and while our brave young men and women have performed with the highest valor, bravery and professionalism in Iraq, it is time for them to come home.

Unfortunately, this year our country lost the last veteran to serve during World War One, the war for which Veterans Day was first commemorated. For him, and for all servicemen and women young and old, we honor all you have done and we thank you.

 
Lt. Governor Simon statement on Scott Air Force Base layoffs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Kara Beach   
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 12:50

CHICAGO – November 3, 2011. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today pledged to work with state agencies and Scott Air Force Base leadership to identify available resources for 110 civilian employees whose positions at the military facility are being eliminated.

Simon, who visited the base in September, learned of the cuts Wednesday evening from Col. Michael Hornitschek, commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing at Scott Air Force Base. As chair of the state’s Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC), Simon offered to work with Col. Hornitschek to identify resources that could help the displaced individuals and the base.

“Scott Air Force Base is an economic engine in Illinois, and I am disappointed that the Air Force had to make this decision,” Simon said. “As a native of Troy, a community near Scott Air Force Base where many citizens are employed by the base, I understand the social and economic impact these changes will have in the Metro East region and beyond. The state will use its resources to help get displaced workers back on the job.”

Scott Air Force Base announced that 321 positions will be eliminated in response to a Department of Defense directive to freeze civilian job growth. Of those 321 positions, 122 were already vacant, 49 are held by employees who will voluntarily retire or separate from federal service by the end of December, and 40 are employees who will be moved from eliminated positions into other positions. This leaves 110 eliminated, occupied positions with employees who have not applied for incentive programs or for which no matching vacancy has been identified at this time, according to the base.

As chair of the IMBSEDC, Simon is visiting each of the state’s military installations to learn about the base’s operations, their impact on the state economy and relationship with local communities. The committee was established in 2005 in response to nationwide base closures, and it continues to make recommendations to local, state and federal policymakers on retention, realignment and reuse efforts.

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Andrew Connolly Day of Service Set for November 9th in Dubuque PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 11:18

Volunteers will gather to honor legacy of Dubuque veteran by “paying it forward” to Veterans’ Freedom Center

Waterloo, IA – On Wednesday, November 9th in Dubuque, volunteers will gather to observe the first ever Andrew Connolly Day of Service to honor the legacy of Dubuque native and Iowa National Guard veteran Andrew Connolly, who never stopped urging others to “pay it forward” in every aspect of their lives.

Before he passed away on August 26, 2011, Andrew Connolly could often be found at Dubuque’s Veterans’ Freedom Center, a place close to his heart.  That’s why, on November 9th beginning at 8:30am, volunteers will “pay it forward” by donating their time to help clean up and prepare the new home of the Veterans’ Freedom Center at 2245 Kerper Blvd. in Dubuque.

“Andrew’s life was committed to serving others,” Braley said.  “Whether he was with his wife, Jenny, or son, Brody, or serving overseas in Iraq, or advocating on Capitol Hill on behalf of other disabled veterans, Andrew led by example.  The mantra he often repeated was ‘pay it forward.’

“That’s why on November 9th we’re going to ‘pay it forward’ to the Dubuque Veterans’ Freedom Center to launch the first ever Andrew Connolly Day of Service.  I hope this day grows in scope and significance from this point forward – it’s a fitting tribute to a man who was so focused on helping others despite a life that dealt him a very challenging hand.”

The late Andrew Connolly served multiple overseas tours with the Iowa National Guard, including a combat tour in Iraq.  Andrew was diagnosed with spinal cancer after his Iraq tour.  As the disease progressed Andrew lost the use of his legs and lost dexterity in his hands.  His family utilized a Veterans Administration housing grant to build a new home that helped Andrew maintain his independence until he passed away.

Braley worked with Jenny Connolly, the Freedom Center, and local groups to organize the day of service.  Braley will volunteer his time to renovate the Veterans’ Freedom Center and share Andrew Connolly’s legacy, including the Andrew Connolly Veterans’ Housing Act, a bill Braley introduced in May that expands grant programs for permanently disabled veterans to remodel their homes and make them more disability-accessible.

Interested members of the public are welcomed to volunteer their time.  If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact the Dubuque Veterans’ Freedom Center at (563) 845-0034.  Volunteers are encouraged to bring any painting materials they own – brushes, paint rollers, etc.  Only limited amounts will be available at the Freedom Center, although paint will be provided.

Wednesday November 9th, 2011

8:30am -               Andrew Connolly Day of Service

12:00pm               New Veterans’ Freedom Center

2245 Kerper Blvd.

Dubuque, Iowa

*Interested volunteers should contact the Veterans’ Freedom Center at (563) 845-0034 to RSVP their attendance.*

**Volunteers are encouraged to bring any painting materials they own – brushes, paint rollers, etc.  Only limited amounts will be available at the Freedom Center, although paint will be provided.**

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