Military & Veterans News
2012 Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Ceremony PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jill Joseph   
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:30

Iowans will honor their Vietnam Veterans at a remembrance ceremony to be held Monday, May 7th, 2012, beginning at 12:00 p.m. at the Vietnam Memorial − located on the south side of the State Capitol in Des Moines. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War.

The ceremony will include keynote speaker Bill McCarthy, Vietnam Veteran, Sheriff, Polk County, Iowa, and guest speaker Lawrence Paul, Vietnam Veteran, retired IWD Executive Officer, Mason City.

The Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs is honored to present this event. Please join us as we unite in remembrance of those who served, and those who sacrificed their lives for our country.

For further information contact Jill Joseph, Outreach Coordinator, Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs, 515-242-0033 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Lt. Governor Simon accepting applications to military committee PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Kara Beach   
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:29

SPRINGFIELD – April 18, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon announced today that her Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC) is currently accepting applications for two new citizen members. The volunteer group advocates for the retention and reuse of the state’s military bases and works to foster a strong economic connection between the installations and their local economies.

“We look forward to welcoming new voices to our committee to continue our important work in supporting the state’s military families and regional economies,” Simon said.

Current members include retired military personnel and economic development officials, as well as four members of the General Assembly and representatives from various state agencies. A successful candidate may draw on personal and professional experiences in military, economic development, education or governmental fields.

The application announcement came Wednesday at the IMBSEDC’s quarterly meeting. Applications are now being accepted, and more information can be found here.



Grantham University Selects Army Master Sergeant, Reginald Hurt from Davenport, Iowa, as 2012 Outstanding Graduate PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Johanna Altland   
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:00

Grantham University has selected Master Sergeant Reginald Hurt as its 2012 Outstanding Graduate. MSG Hurt completed his Bachelor of Science – Multidisciplinary Studies degree in December 2010 and his Master of Business Administration – Project Management degree in April 2012, graduating Summa Cum Laude in both degrees.

photo of outstanding graduate

2012 Outstanding Graduate, MSG Reginald Hurt

Quote startI wanted to not just attend college, but to retain and use my lessons throughout my career and future endeavors.Quote end

Kansas City, Mo. (PRWEB) April 18, 2012

Grantham University, a 61 year old institution delivering accredited online degrees to working adult students around the world, has selected Master Sergeant Reginald Hurt as its 2012 Outstanding Graduate. MSG Hurt completed his Bachelor of Science – Multidisciplinary Studies degree in December 2010 and his Master of Business Administration– Project Management degree in April 2012, graduating Summa Cum Laude in both degrees.

On April 17, 2012, Dr. Jeffrey Cropsey, vice president for strategic initiatives at Grantham University, presented MSG Hurt with the Outstanding Graduate Award at the Distance Education and Training Council’s (DETC) 86th Annual Conference.

“I was honored to present this award to such an outstanding candidate,” said Dr. Cropsey. “Reggie truly embodies what it means to be a successful working adult student. He started his courses at Grantham with a goal in mind – to obtain his undergraduate degree and graduate with honors – and went on to achieve that and so much more.”

Since the inception of the DETC Outstanding Graduate Program twenty-nine years ago, Grantham University has awarded this honor to one of its graduates each year. Criteria for this award include a GPA of 3.5 or higher, evidence that the graduate has made significant contributions to society and his/her chosen profession, as well as an essay submission demonstrating the graduate’s application of knowledge and skills acquired in the online classroom to his/her career and community.

“I realized the importance of a valid and useful degree,” commented MSG Hurt. “I wanted to not just attend college, but to retain and use my lessons throughout my career and future endeavors.”

MSG Hurt has served proudly in the Army for the past 28 years. While on tour in Afghanistan, he provided input for sewage, roads and infrastructure improvements for new facilities for Afghanistan soldiers and police forces. MSG Hurt also served as the lead engineer for the force protection analysis, planning and upgrades of Kabul’s voting sites during Afghanistan’s first ever election.

In August 2011, while pursuing his master’s, MSG Hurt was selected for Sergeant Major. He currently serves as a senior enlisted advisor in the Army Sustainment Command. MSG Hurt holds the Bronze De Fleury Medal, which is presented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a Bronze Star amongst his military awards.

For more information about Grantham University and its online degree programs, visit: or call 800-955-2527.

About Grantham University:
Established in 1951, Grantham University is a private institution that specializes in online education for the working adult student. Its mission is to provide accessible, affordable, professionally relevant online degrees in a continuously changing global society. Grantham University’s online undergraduate and graduate degree programs include: Accounting, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Computer Science, Engineering Technology, Health Sciences, Information Technology, Medical Coding and Billing, Nursing, Human Resource Management and Business Intelligence. Grantham University offers military scholarships for active duty, reserve, guard, veterans and military family members, as well as scholarships for law enforcement professionals. Grantham's courses are 100% online, allowing students to study at home, at work, on Temporary Duty (TDY) or from almost anywhere in the world. Accredited since 1961 by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council, Grantham University has compiled a distinguished record as a respected and accredited distance learning university spanning six decades of service to education.

Schilling Testified In Support of Veterans' Health Care Legislation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 09:26

Washington, DC – Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) and a number of his colleagues testified yesterday before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health in support of various pieces of legislation relating to health care for American war veterans.  Schilling in December introduced H.R. 3723, the Enhanced Veteran Health Care Experience Act.  

“I truly believe you can tell a lot about a country by the way it treats its veterans,” Schilling said in his testimony.  “I’m pursuing this legislation in large part because of the many constituents who constantly share their stories of having to drive long distances while experiencing substantial wait times in an effort to make sure they can get the health care they need.  But I also experienced this in my own family when helping to take care of my father – who served in Korea – near the end of his life.  We had to drive several hours to and from Iowa City for him to get the care he needed.  While we appreciated the service and the care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, I also believe that we must continue to make improvements for our veterans.”

This legislation would allow, but not require, veterans to use fee-based care in their home towns with their own doctors.  Under the current veterans’ health care system, veterans are shuttled back and forth between the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and their local doctors’ offices, bound by the red tape that exists in the fee-based care system administered by the VA.  This red tape only exacerbates working with their local doctors’ offices to receive the health care they need.  While increasing the ease with which veterans can receive care, studies and statements by the Government Accountability Office, Office of the Inspector General, and Veterans Service Organizations suggest that implementing the changes in this bill will create savings for the VA and address medical care concerns that veterans have when working with the VA fee-based care system.

“This idea is near and dear to me, and has received a positive response from veterans I have spoken with in my district,” Schilling said in his testimony.  “The Congressional process is in place so that we can perfect legislation.  That is what I am working to do on this bill.  Since H.R. 3723’s inception and also from its introduction, I have continued to work with Veteran Service Organizations to address their concerns.  I hope to continue to do this with the VSOs and the Committee.”

# # #

A Battle of Precision PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Cmdr. Chris O'Neil   
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 15:24
Coast Guard Silent Drill Team Coast Guard Silent Drill Team Coast Guard Silent Drill Team

They met upon a concrete battlefield in the heart of our nation’s capital.  There was no roar of cannon fire, no explosions, no ground to be captured or defended.  All that was heard was the steady cadence of rifle buts striking the ground, heels snapping together and gloved hands smacking in unison the wooden hand guards of rifles.  Each branch of the armed forces was represented; each came to test honor, courage, skill, and precision – not to eliminate an enemy or save a life – but to demonstrate the discipline, skill and mettle necessary to be part of an elite community within an elite community.

Brass, chrome and leather gleamed brightly in the noon sun.  Every uniform was crisp and pristine, reflecting the pride and attention to detail possessed only by those who know what it means to render honors, carry on the finest traditions of military customs and courtesies, provide solace to grieving families, and celebrate our nation’s triumphs.

On this crystal clear April afternoon, tourists, veterans and local residents gathered at the steps of the Jefferson Memorial to cheer for their favorite service and to witness the grace that is military drill.

The Joint Service Drill Exhibition, held this year in conjunction with the Centennial of the Cherry Blossom Festival, showcased the talents of the silent drill teams of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine Academy and the Coast Guard.  Each team had 15 minutes in which to demonstrate their skill, strength and control in hopes of earning a competition trophy.  Consistent with military engagements, there was no award for second best.

The Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard’s Silent Drill Team is composed of 16 members who are selected from the Ceremonial Honor Guard, based in Alexandria, Va.  At a current strength of 75, the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard – much like the service as a whole – is significantly smaller in size compared to its DOD counterparts.

According to Lt. Jason Himsey, Ceremonial Honor Guard officer in charge, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps teams have a strength of about 200 members each.  It gives them the advantage of having a broader base of candidates from which to choose when selecting silent drill team members.

Himsey also noted that the smaller size of the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard means that the silent drill team has fewer opportunities to train and practice together as a unit because, unlike the DOD teams, the Coast Guard’s silent drill team is a collateral duty, meaning team members must also handle other missions assigned to the Honor Guard.

The ability to train together is critical to success and to building confidence and trust.

“There’s a certain element of danger involved with what we do,” said Himsey.  “There’s a 13 and a half pound weapon with a fixed bayonet moving at high speed so that presents a cutting hazard.  The air-toss movements present the risk of stabbing.”

Those risks became pointedly clear as the silent drill team’s drill master, Petty Officer 1stClass Andrew Hammersmith marched between two columns of drill team members as they spun and passed weapons inches in front and behind him.  Later in the drill, Hammersmith stood motionless and unflinchingly as four bayonets stopped inches from his face.

There was an air of confidence and maturity about the silent drill team members that belies their young appearance.  Himsey said the average age of an Honor Guard member is now about 24, which he noted is a change from when he first served on the team as a seaman, noting that some are married and others have degrees.

But it stands to reason that a unit whose mission is to represent the Coast Guard would mirror the service as a whole.  Just as boat crews and aircrews train to achieve proficiency, so too do members of the Honor Guard.  In addition to embodying the core values of the Coast Guard, members of the Honor Guard must embrace the unit’s core values of Pride, Poise and Perfection.  “They practice for hours and hours,” said Himsey, “and then there is lots of solo practice, where members work on maneuvering the weapon, maneuvering it around themselves, working on hand placement and points of release, which are critical for executing the maneuvers safely.”

For all their training, practice and effort, the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard’s Silent Drill Team put on a great show for an appreciative crowd, but it was the Air Force’s team that earned the competition trophy this year.  But there is no time to for the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard to dwell on this moment, for them it’s on to the next detail – this time in New Orleans – for an event that is part of the nation’s Bicentennial of the War of 1812.

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