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Illionis National Guard Inspector General Receives Legion of Merit PDF Print E-mail
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Written by readMedia   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 09:03

SPRINGFIELD, IL (08/30/2011)(readMedia)-- Col. Mark VanUs, of Springfield, the command Inspector General of the Illinois Army and Air National Guard was awarded one of the U.S. military's most prestigious awards for his 30 years of military service.

Maj. Gen. William Enyart, of Belleville, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard, presented VanUs with the Legion of Merit during a staff meeting Aug. 30 at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.

VanUs, a Romeoville native, is a member of the active Army assigned to the Illinois National Guard through the National Guard Bureau. He has served as the Illinois National Guard's command inspector general for the past year following his assignment as the Director of Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems at Offutt Air Base in Nebraska. He officially retired on June 30, but was recalled by the United States Strategic Command to active duty to serve an additional tour.

The Legion of Merit is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or a friendly foreign nation who has distinguished himself or herself through exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.

The Legion of Merit is the U.S. military's sixth highest award. A few other notable Legion of Merit recipients include current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Michael Mullen, U.S. Sen. John McCain, British Gen. Bernard Montgomery, French Gen. Charles De Gaulle, and Polish officers Col. Stanislaw Wozniak, Gen. Franciszek Gagor, and Lt. Gen. Wladyslaw Anders.

photo 1) U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael Camacho, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs/ Maj. Gen. William Enyart, of Belleville, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard pins Col. Mark VanUs of Springfield, the Command Inspector General for the Illinois Army and Air National Guard with the Legion of Merit Aug. 30 at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.

photo 2) U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael Camacho, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs/ Col. Mark VanUs, of Springfield, the Command Inspector General for the Illinois Army and Air National Guard shakes hands with Maj. Gen. William Enyart, of Belleville, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard after receiving the Legion of Merit Aug. 30 at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.

photo 3) U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael Camacho, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs/ Col. Mark VanUs of Springfield, the Command Inspector General for the Illinois Army and Air National Guard accompanied by his wife, Vicky, speaks to senior leaders of the Illinois National Guard after receiving the Legion of Merit, one of the U.S. military's most prestigious awards for his 30 years of military service Aug. 30 at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.

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Braley Urges President to Act on Veterans Unemployment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Mark Noble   
Tuesday, 30 August 2011 07:56

Waterloo, IA – Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) wrote to President Obama urging him to take action on veterans’ unemployment.  Rep. Braley’s letter called on the president to include business tax incentives to hire veterans in any upcoming jobs plan.

“In today’s difficult job market, one in four of our post-9/11 veterans is currently unemployed,” said Rep. Braley.  “After their distinguished service to our country, we should do all we can to help our veterans find employment in their civilian lives.”

Last week, Congressman Braley introduced the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act which exempts businesses from paying the employer’s share of the Social Security tax for up to one year through December 31, 2012 – if they hire current members of the National Guard or Reserve, or any veteran who has returned from deployment within the last 18 months and is currently unemployed. Employers who keep eligible employees on the payroll for 52 consecutive weeks will receive an additional $1,000 tax credit.

Congressman Braley currently serves on the U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs, and as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.  

   

A copy of the letter is pasted below and available here:  http://go.usa.gov/ktx

 

 

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Dear President Obama,

 

I write today with increasing concern over unemployment in our veteran community.

 

As you know, unemployment among veterans in general, and particularly post-9/11 veterans, is far outpacing the national unemployment levels.  I appreciate your attention to this issue in your August 16, 2011 address in Peosta, IA, and your commitment to connect our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with businesses who can put their talents to work.

 

As one way to pursue this goal, I recently introduced the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act to encourage employers to hire recently returned veterans.  This legislation would provide a one-year payroll tax exemption to employers for each veteran they hire, and offer an additional $1000 credit per veteran after 52 weeks of employment to encourage long-term employment.  My legislation also extends the credit to our citizen soldiers in the National Guard and Reserve who have been called on to make substantial sacrifices in our post-9/11 military responses.

 

As Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Economic Opportunity Subcommittee, I am committed to finding ways to help our veterans once they leave the service, and helping them put their valuable experience to work to improve their communities.  As such, I urge you to include business tax incentives for hiring veterans in any upcoming job creation proposals.

 

I look forward to your response, and thank you for your attention to this matter.

 

Sincerely,

Bruce Braley

   

cc: Secretary Eric Shinseki, Department of Veterans Affairs

 

 

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Illinois National Guard Sends Troops to the East Coast; Others Released from Duty PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by readMedia   
Monday, 29 August 2011 09:21

SPRINGFIELD, IL (08/28/2011)(readMedia)-- As approximately 160 members of the Illinois Army National Guard travel to New York for hurricane relief operations, approximately 1,000 Illinois National Guardsmen are being released from duty. The additional 1,000 Soldiers and Airmen were activated Aug. 27 to prepare and train for hurricane relief efforts, but federal officials have deemed their services no longer necessary in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

"This mission is indicative of what the National Guard has done for 375 years," said Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. "These servicemembers are men and women who live next door to you and who put aside everything in their civilian lives to help others in need."

The Illinois National Guard is sending six UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters, pilots and crew, ground support vehicles, and command and control staff to New York to help with relief efforts.

Units departed for New York to provide hurricane relief include: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 106th Aviation Battalion in Peoria and elements of Company A, 106th Aviation Battalion in Decatur; Company B, 106th Aviation Battalion in Chicago; Company C and Company D, 106th Aviation Battalion in Peoria; and 2nd Battalion, 238th General Support Aviation Battalion in Peoria. An advanced party of approximately 20 Soldiers from the 108th Sustainment Brigade in Chicago also left for the East Coast.

Fifteen National Guard units in 13 Illinois communities had their Soldiers and Airmen report to duty and will now release those citizen-Soldiers to return to their civilian lives.

Units reporting for preparation and training for hurricane relief and now releasing their Soldiers include: 108th Sustainment Brigade in Chicago, 710th Area Support Medical Company in North Riverside, Company C, 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Carbondale, 232nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Springfield, 1544th Transportation Company in Paris, 1844th Transportation Company in Quincy, 631st Engineer Company in Lawrenceville, 3625th Maintenance Company in North Riverside, 933rd Military Police Company in Fort Sheridan, 33rd Military Police Battalion in Bloomington, 333rd Military Police Company in Freeport, 405th Brigade Support Battalion in North Riverside, Company B, 405th Brigade Support Battalion in Crestwood, Company A, 405th Brigade Support Battalion in Streator and 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria.

The 1,000 additional Soldiers will remain at their respective units until Monday afternoon to unpack gear, clean and put away equipment and prepare to return to normal day-to-day activities.

"I am proud of our Soldiers and Airmen," Enyart said. "From plans with family to work and college commitments, these troops continue to show their selfless service and prove why we are one of the greatest organizations in the world."

For more information, please contact the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Four Guardsmen Set the Example of True Citizen-Soldier PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by readMedia   
Monday, 29 August 2011 09:20

SPRINGFIELD, IL (08/28/2011)(readMedia)-- Out of the 10,000 Soldiers in the Illinois Army National Guard, less than 700 Soldiers are active duty National Guardsmen. The rest are part-time Soldiers that attend drill weekends once a month, perform two-week annual training periods and work-full time civilian jobs or attend college.

Citizen-Soldier, weekend warrior, and in the past the State Militia. These are all terms used to describe the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States and one of the nation's longest-enduring institutions ... the National Guard.

For some Soldiers, service has been taken to a new level. These Soldiers serve, not only their country, but their community and the state. From holding important positions in state and federal government to being elected to serve in a county position, there are National Guard Soldiers striving to serve others.

"Citizen-Soldiers are not only committed to protecting others but to serve as well," said Capt. Jonathon Monken of Chatham.

Monken, an Iraq war veteran, has been with the Illinois Army National Guard since July 2007, and is assigned to Joint Force Headquarters in Springfield as the Intergovernmental Affairs and Plans officer.

In his civilian job, he was recently appointed the director of Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

"I swore to defend, as a Soldier and civilian," said Monken.

In both roles there are similar responsibilities.

"Principles of leadership don't change," explained Monken. "It's a great deal of team work and discipline. Though the military and civilian world is different, we work well together. We understand the mission, our capabilities and understand each other."

Maj. Tammy Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, is another Soldier who has been to war defending the freedoms she swore to protect. But she is more than just a Soldier. She is someone who overcame the odds after being severely wounded in Iraq and continued to serve the military and the public.

"Being a citizen-Soldier is the deepest commitment to the nation," said Duckworth. "It is a way to give something back, which I wanted to do when I returned."

In early 2009 Duckworth was appointed as the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C; a position she recently resigned to pursue even greater aspirations. After her resignation, she announced plans to run for Congress.

"I wanted to set the example for what can be done no matter what has happened to you," said Duckworth.

Duckworth has been a member of the Illinois Army National Guard since 1996.

The National Guard has seen the nature of its mission change, with more frequent call-ups since September 2001.

"People called us weekend warriors and never thought of us as front line Soldiers," explained Col. Tony Libri, of New Berlin, who recently retired from the Illinois Army National Guard after 30 years wearing the uniform.

"Now half of the nation's Army is made up of National Guard Soldiers," Libri said.

When Libri retired he was part of Joint Force Headquarters in Springfield. However, Libri continues to serve his community as the Sangamon County Circuit Clerk, a position he also held while serving as a part-time Soldier with the Illinois Army National Guard and through a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.

"Being a citizen-Soldier taught me to be a strategic thinker and a better elected official," Libri said.

As a life-long public servant, Libri has a lot of experience helping others. Libri was the senior mentor to the Afghan National Police and commander of the Police Mentoring Teams in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2009. He also helped the Hungarian Army get into the United Nations in 1997 on a deployment to Bosnia, Hungary and Croatia.

One of his greatest accomplishments came when he helped establish an all boys orphanage in Afghanistan.

"I swore an oath in the military to defend and now I continue that oath by serving the people," Libri said.

Another Soldier has used his position with the Illinois Army National Guard to educate the public on how to help veterans returning home from deployment.

Capt. Dan Grant, of Springfield, is the Inter-Governmental Officer with Joint Force Headquarters in Springfield. He works on interagency projects within Illinois and abroad, such as the Illinois National Guard's state partnership with Poland. His service however goes beyond just the military interaction.

Grant was also the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs for two years before recently deciding to pursue a Master's Degree in Business Administration with Harvard University Business School.

"I'm able to serve my country and assist other countries in establishing systems to serve their returning troops," said Grant. "At the same time I am able to preserve a career outside the service doing something that I love - supporting our own troops as they return from harm's way."

A 2002 West Point graduate, Grant has seen what a war can do to Soldiers.

"West Point helps prepare you for the military and civilian life ahead of you."

From Ballad to Tikrit, from force protection to ordnance collection and disposal, he has seen his training come full circle.

"Deployments are the time when you put it all together and you pour everything into your mission," Grant said. "It's where you go from theory to practice."

Serving one's country is a service to others. From defending freedoms abroad to defending the freedoms at home, citizen-Soldiers will always be here.

"The military teaches us invaluable lessons and values," said Grant. "From the ethic of service that we are taught, to putting the mission first; our time in the service carries us much further in life, regardless of where we go."

Photo 1Photo courtesy of Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs/ The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs have had three well-known veterans serve as director in recent years. (From left to right) Illinois Army National Guard Capt. Dan Grant of Springfield served as director from February 2009 to August 2011; Illinois Army National Guard Maj. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates served from December 2006 to February 2009; and just recently Army veteran Erica Borggren of McHenry was appointed to replace Grant who resigned to further his career at Harvard University Business School.

Photo 2: Photo by Spc. Brian Vorce, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/ Illinois Army National Guard Maj. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates speaks at the statue unveiling June 18 in Mount Vernon. A statue sharing her likeness was uncovered at the ceremony.

Photo 3: Photo submitted by Capt. Jonathon Monken/ Illinois Army National Guard Capt. Jonathon Monken of Chatham (middle) talks to Gov. Pat Quinn (right), Phil Anello with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) (left) and Illinois State Representative John Bradley (back left) while assisting with flood response efforts in Olive Branch this spring. Monken, IEMA Director, was demonstrating the capabilities of the IEMA mobile command center during the flooding in southern Illinois.

For high resolution photos and additional photos, please contact the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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ILLINOIS NATIONAL GUARD PREPARES TO PROVIDE HURRICANE RELIEF TO EAST COAST PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by readMedia   
Monday, 29 August 2011 09:19
SPRINGFIELD, IL (08/27/2011)(readMedia)-- Approximately 160 members of the Illinois Army National Guard will depart for New York to train for possible hurricane relief operations on the east coast. An additional 1,000 Illinois National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are reporting to their respective units to prepare and train for hurricane relief efforts.

The Illinois National Guard is sending six UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters, pilots and crew, ground support vehicles and operators, and command and control staff.

Units departing for New York that will prepare to provide hurricane relief include Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 106th Aviation Battalion, in Peoria and elements of Company A, 106th Aviation Battalion in Decatur; Company B, 106th Aviation Battalion in Chicago, and Company C and Company D, 106th Aviation Battalion in Peoria.

Units reporting for preparation and training for hurricane relief include the 108th Sustainment Brigade in Chicago, 710th Area Support Medical Company in North Riverside, Company C, 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Carbondale, 232nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Springfield, 1544th Transportation Company in Paris, 1844th Transportation Company in Quincy, 631st Engineer Company in Lawrenceville, 3625th Maintenance Company in North Riverside, 933rd Military Police Company in Fort Sheridan, 33rd Military Police Battalion in Bloomington, 333rd Military Police Company in Freeport 405th Brigade Support Battalion in North Riverside, Company B, 405th Brigade Support Battalion in North Riverside, Company A, 405th Brigade Support Battalion in North Riverside and 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria.

"Time and time again, our Soldiers are ready, willing and able to join the effort to protect our fellow Americans during a natural disaster," said Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. "This year alone we've assisted with the severe winter storm in early February and flood relief efforts in southern Illinois and South Dakota this spring. I am extremely proud to lead these dedicated men and women."

The Illinois National Guard elements that are leaving for training in New York will depart from their respective unit locations in Illinois in two stages on Saturday and Sunday. The other units will continue to train at their facilities and will only deploy if needed.

For more information, please contact the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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