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Sparta Army National Guard Fire Fighting Team Deploys PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Illinois National Guard PAO   
Monday, 20 February 2012 14:30

SPARTA, IL (02/15/2012)(readMedia)-- Deployment ceremony

WHO:

• 662nd Engineer Fire Fighting Team in Sparta

WHAT:

• A deployment ceremony is scheduled for approximately 10 Soldiers who are scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom this winter.

WHEN/WHERE:

• Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. at the Sparta armory fire station, 1803 N. Hillcrest Drive in Sparta.

WHY:

• The 662nd will provide fire department emergency response services for deployed forces in the Operation Enduring Freedom theater of operations. Potential missions include, but are not limited to: fire prevention and protection, structural and aircraft fire fighting, vehicle rescue, emergency medical and hazardous materials incident response.

• Additionally, the team will be involved in the Rescue Air Mobile Squad (RAMS) mission, providing personnel rescue capabilities in tactical situations. During a RAMS mission, the team is transported via helicopter to a remote emergency incident and will perform rapid technical rescue and medical stabilization measures for U.S. and coalition personnel who are entrapped and/or otherwise injured as a result of enemy action.

For more information, contact the Public Affairs office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 217-761-3569.

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Braley Urges Pentagon to Remove Remaining Barriers to Women's Military Service PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 17 February 2012 15:34

Braley Urges Pentagon to Remove Remaining Barriers to Women’s Military Service

Military announced review to relax policies last week, but women still face restrictions

 

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today urged Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to remove all remaining barriers restricting the service of female members of the US Armed Forces.

 

Last week, the Department of Defense announced that it was revising its Combat Exclusion Policy to allow women to serve in expanded roles in the military.  Braley applauded the move.  However, even with the revisions, women will still be prohibited from serving in combat roles.

 

“The Pentagon’s experience in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade should forever remove any doubt of the ability of women to serve in military combat roles,” Braley said.  “Veterans like Tammy Duckworth, who piloted a combat helicopter over Iraq and earned the Purple Heart and Air Medal for her service, to Leigh Ann Hester, who earned the Silver Star for her valor when her convoy was attacked by Iraqi insurgents, to Iowa’s own Alex Jansen, who was awarded the Bronze Star for her service in Iraq, have demonstrated the capabilities of women on the battlefield.  It’s time to remove these barriers once and for all and fully acknowledge that women have a place in the military, serving right alongside men.”

 

The Pentagon’s Combat Exclusion Policy has also had the effect of preventing women from climbing the ranks of military leadership.   In over 200 years of American military history, only two women have been nominated to 4-star command positions.

 

Braley made the request in a letter to Secretary Panetta, the text of which follows.  A copy of the letter can be downloaded at the following link: http://go.usa.gov/Qyu

 

--

 

The Honorable Leon Panetta

Secretary of Defense

1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington, D.C. 20301

 

Dear Secretary Panetta,

 

I am writing today to commend the Department of Defense for their recent review of the Combat Exclusion Policy restricting the service of female members of the U.S. Armed Forces. While the decision to loosen the restrictions on women serving in combat is a good step forward, the review can and should go further to remove all of the barriers in place.

 

The last decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan has proven that women are more than capable of serving in the combat arms.  Since 2001, despite standing prohibitions on women in combat, a number of American women have distinguished themselves in combat earning numerous military awards.  Female combat pilots, allowed to serve in those roles since the mid-90s, have proven themselves flying sorties in support of operations around the world.  Most recently, Female Engagement Teams in Afghanistan have been a vital part of our counterinsurgency effort to better connect with the female civilian population.

 

The Department’s review can and should go further to promote equality by permitting those women who are willing and able to serve in combat roles.  The last decade should remove any question on the ability of women to serve and arguments against their service are nothing more than bureaucratic blustering at its worst. Despite claims to the contrary, one needs only look at the list of promotions by the military services to recognize that advancement to the highest echelons of command is tied to experience in the combat arms.  In the over 200 years of our nation’s history, only two women have been nominated to 4-star command positions. To truly ensure equality in our armed forces, women must be allowed to fight.

 

I appreciate your attention to this matter, and look forward to your continued work to reform the Department of Defense to ensure that we have the best fighting force that we possibly can, and that we are not turning away qualified and capable warriors for any reason.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bruce Braley

Member of Congress

 

Cc: Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness

 

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Iowa Air National Guard in Des Moines PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 10 February 2012 08:40
Thursday, February 9, 2012

Senator Chuck Grassley made the following comment after a meeting he hosted today for members of the Iowa congressional delegation with the Secretary of the Air Force regarding Air Force budget reduction recommendations to retire the 21 F-16 fighter aircraft assigned to the 124th Fighter Squadron, Iowa Air National Guard in Des Moines.  The meeting was held in the U.S. Capitol.

“A lot of mixed signals were sent by the Air Force in today’s meeting.  The Iowa congressional delegation is on the same wavelength and committed in a bipartisan, bicameral way to getting the data that the Air Force said it used to make a decision that the Air Force claimed was based on a cost-benefit analysis.  We want this data in order to reconcile an additional comment made by Air Force officials in today’s meeting that judgment, beyond the data, was also involved in its decision.  This judgment comment detracts from the Air Force statement that everything was measured for cost and benefit.  Overall, it’s a question of safeguarding national security dollars because the Guard has shown to be more cost effective for missions such as a fighter squadron than the Active Duty, and Guard pilots tend to be more experienced since they stay in the service over a long period of time.  The discouraging part is that my feeling was that the Air Force has made its decision, but it will be up to Congress to decide whether to approve the Air Force plan and National Guard advocates in Congress are already signaling that they won’t go along quietly with the Air Force’s plan to take so many cuts out of the Air Guard.

 

 

 
Braley Statement after Delegation Meeting with Air Force Secretary Michael Donley PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Thursday, 09 February 2012 15:22

Iowa Delegation met with Donley to press case for Iowa Air National Guard F-16 Wing

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement after he joined Iowa’s Congressional delegation for a meeting to urge Air Force Secretary Michael Donley to abandon plans to remove all F-16 fighter aircraft operated by the Iowa Air National Guard from their base in Des Moines:

“It’s clear from today’s meeting that the Air Force must provide more answers and better justification for their decision.  The Iowa Delegation made clear our objections to the removal of F-16s from the 132nd Fighter Wing, one of the most cost-efficient units in the Air Force.”

 

“If the goal is to reduce costs, downsizing the Iowa Air National Guard while less efficient units and less experienced pilots are preserved just doesn’t make any sense.  We urged Secretary Donley to carefully reconsider whether this recommendation is in the best interest of national security  and American taxpayers.

 

“I am hopeful that today’s meeting will result in the Air Force reversing their position.  In the meantime, I’ll keep working with the Iowa delegation to press our case with the Air Force and the Pentagon.”

 

Braley met yesterday with Iowa National Guard Adjutant General Timothy Orr and senior leaders of the Iowa Air National Guard to discuss the Air Force proposal.  Braley also sent a letter yesterday to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressing his concerns with the removal of F-16s from Des Moines.

 

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Braley Urges Defense Secretary to Reverse Recommendation to Cut F-16 Jets from Iowa Air National Guard Facility PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Thursday, 09 February 2012 14:11

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today urged Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to immediately reconsider an Air Force recommendation that would lead to the loss of all F-16 fighter aircraft operated by the Iowa Air National Guard in Des Moines.

21 jets at the 132nd Fighter Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard would be removed within two years under the plan, part of a larger effort to cut $8.7 billion from the Air Force budget.

“The Air Force gets an incredible value from the experienced pilots and maintenance personnel of the 132nd Fighter Wing,” Braley said.  “That’s why I’m disappointed that the Air Force has chosen to target one of the most cost-efficient units in their force to find savings.

 

“It doesn’t make sense that the Iowa Air National Guard is on the chopping block while less efficient units and less experienced pilots are preserved as part of this plan.  How can you justify this decision when it’s not in the best interest of our national security and not in the best interest of American taxpayers?”

 

Braley met earlier today with Iowa National Guard Adjutant General Timothy Orr and senior leaders of the Iowa Air National Guard to discuss the Air Force proposal.  Tomorrow, Braley will join the rest of the Iowa Congressional delegation for a meeting with Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley to discuss the removal of the jets.

Braley made the request in a letter to Secretary Panetta.  Text of the letter follows; a copy of the signed letter is attached.

--

 

February 8, 2012

 

Secretary Leon Panetta

Department of Defense

1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington, D.C. 20301

 

Dear Secretary Panetta,

I write with serious concern regarding the Air Force’s recently clarified decisions on force restructuring and its impact on the Air National Guard.  The combat aircraft retirements and re-missioning discussed in the Air Force proposal unduly affect the Air National Guard over the Active Component, and do not reflect an effort to maintaining the Guard and Reserve or show a balanced approach to achieving budget efficiencies.

Mr. Secretary, you’ve stated yourself that the Guard and Reserve forces have proved their combat readiness and combat effectiveness over the past 10 years.  As decisions are made to reorient our force and drawdown our current combat commitments, we must work to maintain that readiness and effectiveness while also capitalizing on the wealth of knowledge and experience within our Guard and Reserve units to maintain the total force.  The Air Force proposal highlights the value of our Guard forces in associations with the active component while also removing a significant number of combat aircraft from them

Furthermore, I have serious concerns over the lack of budgetary consideration in the decision. While I applaud the Air Force’s efforts to find budget efficiencies through the early retirement and delayed procurement of some aircraft, I have great concern that the bulk of retirements appear to come at the expense of Guard and Reserve units.  The Guard and Reserve are highly efficient forces, maintaining experienced pilots and performing many of the same missions of active component forces when activated at a much lower costs to the Active Component over the long-term. The shifts of combat aircraft to Active Component and elimination of missions in the Guard Component achieves significantly less savings than if the situation were reversed. Furthermore, the decisions to replace combat air force missions in the guard with unmanned aircraft Remote Split Operations missions also make little budgetary sense as there is a continued need for unmanned aircraft in Afghanistan and elsewhere. These missions will require a significant investment of time beyond the standard drill periods of many of our Guard that will have a higher cost and a greater impact on our Guardsmen’s civilian careers.

I recognize that the funding constraints we currently face require difficult decisions to be made in prioritizing the roles and resources of all aspects of the Air Force. I am disappointed that faced with these challenges, the Air Force chose to target one of the most efficient aspects of their force in finding reductions.  This proposal is deeply flawed and deserves a full explanation of the budgetary analysis that went into making it.  I urge you to reconsider this decision to better protect the National Guard and support its long-term viability as part of the force.

Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bruce Braley

Member of Congress

 

Cc: Mr. Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force

 

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