Military & Veterans News
Braley Column: Working to get our veterans back to work PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 12 December 2011 13:31

The best way to thank our veterans and tell them 'good job' is to help them find a good job when they return home.

Federal law requires employers to re-hire National Guard servicemembers when they return from active duty service.  I’ve always been proud of how seriously Iowa employers take their duty to help re-integrate our returning soldiers back into normal day-to-day life.  But what about those veterans who were out of work when they were called up?

Late this summer, 2,800 members of the Iowa National Guard returned from a deployment to Afghanistan.  In a survey conducted after they returned home, more than 600 of these men and women reported being out of work.  That’s the equivalent of an unemployment rate of over 21 percent in this group – nearly four times the Iowa unemployment rate.

Unemployment among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans isn’t just a problem unique to Iowa.  Nationally, these vets are unemployed at a rate nearly twice the national average.

Creating jobs for these veterans will not only help them, but it will also address the greater unemployment problem in our country.

That’s why for several months, I’ve worked to promote the idea of cutting taxes for employers who hire unemployed veterans who are returning from active duty service.

In August, I introduced the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act, a bill that provides tax credits for employers that hire unemployed veterans.  This idea, which attracted some rare bipartisan support in Congress, was  incorporated into two new tax credits that were signed into law by President Obama last month.

The first, known as the Returning Heroes tax credit, provides up to $5,600 in tax credits for every unemployed veteran hired by an employer.  The second, called the Wounded Warrior tax credit, doubles the existing tax credit for firms that hire unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities.

The bottom line is that these tax credits will help the bottom line of businesses and help get veterans back to work – a win-win for our economy and many brave men and women.

If you’re a veteran or a business interested in learning more about these tax credits, I encourage you to contact my Waterloo office at (319) 287-3233.

by Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01)

 
Major General Celletti visits Rock Falls unit in Kuwait for Thanksgiving PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by readMedia   
Friday, 09 December 2011 15:16

SPRINGFIELD, IL (11/30/2011)(readMedia)-- Maj. Gen. Dennis L. Celletti, a native of Rock Falls and the Illinois National Guard Assistant Adjutant General – Army, visited Soldiers of the Illinois Army National Guard's 1644th Transportation Company in Rock Falls, Nov. 23 to 25 at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Celletti was accompanied by State Command Sgt. Maj. Howard Robinson of Olympia Field. The two Illinois National Guard senior leaders were given an overview of the company's convoy operations and served the Soldiers a Thanksgiving meal. The company mobilized in July 2011 and is scheduled to return home in the summer of 2012.

Photo Captions:

Photo submitted by Command Sgt. Maj. Howard Robinson/ (Right) Maj. Gen. Dennis L. Celletti, a native of Rock Falls and the Illinois National Guard Assistant Adjutant General – Army, serves Thanksgiving dinner to Soldiers of the Illinois Army National Guard's 1644th Transportation Company in Rock Falls, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Nov. 24. Celletti spent three days with the 1644th, touring the camp and receiving an overview of convoy operations.

Photo submitted by Command Sgt. Maj. Howard Robinson/ (Left to right) Maj. Gen. Dennis L. Celletti, a native of Rock Falls and the Illinois National Guard Assistant Adjutant General – Army and Command Sgt. Maj. Howard Robinson of Olympia Field receives an explanation of an improvised explosive detection device from Sgt. Jameel Franklin, of Springfield with the Illinois Army National Guard's 1644th Transportation Company in Rock Falls, during a visit at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Nov. 24.

Photo submitted by Command Sgt. Maj. Howard Robinson/ Sgt. Jameel Franklin of Springfield, with the Illinois Army National Guard's 1644th Transportation Company in Rock Falls, shakes hands with Maj. Gen. Dennis L. Celletti, a native of Rock Falls and the Illinois National Guard Assistant Adjutant General – Army, during a visit at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Nov. 23. The company was mobilized in July 2011 and is scheduled to return in the summer of 2012.

Permalink: http://readme.readmedia.com/Major-General-Celletti-visits-Rock-Falls-unit-in-Kuwait-for-Thanksgiving/3130204

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Braley Introduces Bill Strengthening Job Protections for Returning Veterans PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Tuesday, 06 December 2011 14:40

Legislation would allow 12 weeks of job-protected leave for treatment of service-related injuries 

 

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today introduced a bill aimed at strengthening job protections for wounded veterans returning from service overseas.  Braley is the highest ranking Democrat on the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.

The Disabled Veterans Employment Protection Act would provide military and National Guard veterans up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a calendar year to be treated for an injury incurred in or aggravated by military service without having to worry about losing their jobs.  The legislation would also allow injured or disabled veterans to use sick or vacation leave they have accrued to receive pay while getting treatment, but would not require them to do so.

“Federal law protects the jobs of servicemen and women while they’re serving our country,” Braley said.  “But there are no protections for injured veterans who need to seek treatment for their injuries once they return home.   With thousands of injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s time we strengthen protections and allow veterans the ability to seek out the care and treatment they need.”

 

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provides that employers must reemploy individuals who have been called to active duty military service and have to be absent from their jobs.  However, the law does not cover protections for treatment these individuals might need after they return from service

Late this summer, 2,800 members of the Iowa National Guard returned from a deployment to Afghanistan.  According to the National Guard, 60 Iowa servicemembers who went on the deployment are currently hospitalized receiving treatment for injuries.  Another 50 servicemembers are receiving outpatient treatment at facilities near their homes.  About 500 Iowans have been wounded during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The Disabled Veterans Employment Protection Act is modeled after the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for family and medical reasons like the birth of a child, a serious health condition, or caring for a spouse or child with a serious health condition.

The full text of the bill can be viewed at the following link: http://go.usa.gov/527

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Coast Guard's 3rd Fast Response Cutter launched PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by USCG Public Affairs   
Tuesday, 06 December 2011 14:07

WASHINGTON — The Coast Guard announced Wednesday the launch of its third Sentinel-class, Fast Response Cutter, the William Flores, at Bollinger Shipyards, Lockport, La.

The launch of the William Flores into the waters of Bayou Lafourche marks a production milestone as the Fast Response Cutter readies for sea trials, delivery, crew training and eventual commissioning.

“The Coast Guard’s new Fast Response Cutters are national assets, unique to the United States and uniquely equipped to respond to all threats and all events in times of crisis,” said Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, chief of media relations for the U.S. Coast Guard.  “The Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters will be capable of speeds in excess of 28 knots and operating in seas up to 18-feet.  Armed with a 25-mm chain gun and four, .50 caliber machine guns,  the speed, stability and firepower of the Fast Response Cutter deliver tremendous lifesaving, law enforcement and homeland security capabilities in the same package.  Like the Island-class patrol boats the Fast Response Cutters replace, the fleet of 58 Sentinel-class cutters will serve as the workhorses of America's littoral, maritime fleet.”

Seaman Apprentice William Flores, namesake of the cutter, posthumously received the Coast Guard Medal, the service’s highest award for heroism not involving combat, for his unselfish acts and sacrifice Jan. 28, 1980, following the collision between the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn and the tanker Capricorn.  Flores and another crewmember threw life jackets to their shipmates who had jumped into the water.  Later, when his companion abandoned ship as the Blackthorn began to submerge, Flores, who was less than a year out of boot camp, remained behind and used his belt to strap open the life jacket locker door, allowing additional life jackets to float to the surface.  Even after most crewmembers abandoned ship, the 19-year-old Flores remained aboard Blackthorn to assist trapped shipmates and to comfort those who were injured and disoriented. Seaman Apprentice William Ray “Billy” Flores and 22 other Coast Guardsmen perished as the Blackthorn capsized and sank near the entrance of Tampa Bay, Fla.  Twenty seven of his shipmates survived.

After commissioning, the William Flores will be homeported in Miami, with a crew of 24 to conduct alien migrant interdiction operations, port, waterways and coastal security patrols, search and rescue and national defense missions.

Named for enlisted Coast Guard heroes, Fast Response Cutters have an overall length of 154 feet, a beam of 26 feet and are capable of speeds in excess of 28 knots.  The Fast Response Cutter also features a stern launch ramp for rapid and safe deployment of its 7.9-meter small boat.  The William Flores is scheduled to be delivered and commissioned in 2012.

For more information about the Fast Response Cutter visit http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/sentinel/default.asp or to learn more about the recapitalization of Coast Guard assets visit http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/programs/pdf/CG9recap.pdf.

 
Braley Statement on Death of Marine Cpl. Christopher Zachary Reiff PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 02 December 2011 09:05

Iowa Marine died from wounds suffered by an IED explosion in Afghanistan 

 

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement today after learning that Marine Cpl. Christopher Zachary Reiff, a native of Preston, Iowa, died as a result of injuries suffered from an IED explosion while on patrol in Afghanistan:

“My thoughts and prayers are with the Reiff family.  Words seem so inadequate at times like these, but I am grateful for Corporal Reiff’s service.  He made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of the country he loved.  I urge Iowans to keep the Reiff family in their thoughts this Thanksgiving.”

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