Military & Veterans News
Specialized Illinois National Guard Unit Mobilized for Afghanistan PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Illinois National Guard PAO   
Wednesday, 04 January 2012 13:36

Nearly 20 Soldiers Mobilize Jan. 4 as Part of an Embedded Training Team

SPRINGFIELD, IL (12/28/2011)(readMedia)-- A deployment ceremony is scheduled for approximately 20 Soldiers who will deploy to Afghanistan as part of an embedded training team. The ceremony for the Bilateral Embedded Staff Team (BEST) A9 will be Jan.4 at 1 p.m. at the Illinois Military Academy at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.

The BEST Soldiers will train for a brief time at Camp Atterbury, Ind., before deploying to Poland for approximately two months to train with the Polish Land Forces. The unique mission allows Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers to train and deploy side-by-side with their Polish counterparts. Following the training, the Soldiers will deploy to Afghanistan for a six-month mobilization. The Soldiers are from various parts of Illinois and were selected for the mission based on their training and skills.

"This mobilization illustrates the diverse skill sets and training of our Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers and the variety of missions we support in today's challenging international environment, as well as in our state and community," said Maj. Gen. William Enyart, Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. "These troops are instrumental in helping train foreign Soldiers to defend their country while polishing our Guardsmen's skills."

The team will assist the Afghan government to extend its authority across the country, perform security operations and help stabilize the war-torn nation. The Soldiers will also mentor and support the Afghan National Army and support Afghan government programs to disarm illegally armed groups.

News media attending the event should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and are required to notify the Public Affairs Office by 10 a.m., Jan.4 or they will not be allowed access onto Camp Lincoln. For more information call the Public Affairs Office at 217-761-3569.

Become our Facebook Fan!

www.facebook.com/illinoisnationalguard

-30-

 
Braley Presents Purple Heart, Bronze Star to Dubuque WWII Veteran PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 11:14
66 years later, Zane Thorpe will finally receive seven medals he earned in service to his country 

 

Waterloo, IA – Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) will travel to Dubuque to present seven military service medals – including the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star – to Zane Thorpe, a World War II Army veteran who was awarded the medals but never received them after he was honorably discharged from the military in 1945.

In his discharge papers, the Army told Thorpe he was entitled to the medals, but because of a shortage, they were never given to him.  This November, Thorpe’s family approached Braley’s office for assistance in finally obtaining the medals, 66 years after they were granted.

Thorpe enlisted in the Army in April 1943.  After basic training, he was assigned to the 157th Combat Regiment, 45th Division, 3rd Battalion, L Company, which was deployed to Sicily and campaigned throughout Italy.  By 1944, Thorpe’s unit had moved on to France and later Germany, where he was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.  Thorpe was evacuated to a hospital in England, and was transferred to a hospital in Texas.  He was discharged in July 1945 after V-E Day.

The Medals Award Ceremony was held on Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 @ 11:00am at the Oak Park Place Senior Community, 1381 Oak Park Place in Dubuque, Iowa

# # #

 
Illinois National Guard Recruits, Families Prepare for Military PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Spc John Dorsey and Sgt. Charlie Helmholt, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   
Friday, 23 December 2011 16:16

CHICAGO, IL (12/21/2011)(readMedia)-- On the morning of Dec. 3, the booming voices of drill sergeants were heard throughout the Illinois National Guard's Kedzie armory in Chicago.

Recruits stood at attention while cadre of Company B, Illinois National Guard Recruiting Retention Command (RRC) conducted a simulated day of Army basic training.

With their families in attendance, recruits took part in the Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP) workshops. The program is sponsored by the Family Support Brigade, a not-for-profit organization partnered with RSP to provide family support, and is designed to give both new recruits and their families an in depth look at the life of a Soldier in basic training.

"We are here to prepare the recruits physically, mentally and emotionally for the military," said 1st Sgt. Aaron Ferrer of Highland Park, the senior enlisted adviser for Company B.

The day consisted of four main events that included combatives, weapons familiarization, team building exercises and military operations in an urbanized terrain training.

These events instill discipline and confidence in the recruits. For example, combatives provides them a better working knowledge of self defense they can use in future operations, said Staff Sgt. Justin M. Gullion of Northbrook, the level-one combatives instructor for Company B.

Pvt. Katharine Linhart of Brookfield, with Company B, enlisted her junior year of high school. She recently completed Basic Combat Training and will attend Advance Individual Training to become a combat medic after she completes high school.

Linhart said the RSP training prepared her for basic training and helped her maintain that discipline.

"It's been very active and we do a lot of hands-on training," said Linhart.

The program exposes enlistees to what they may experience in basic training and gets them accustomed to the Army's core values, other Soldiers and noncommissioned officers.

"It definitely makes me feel like I chose to do the right thing with my life," said Linhart.

The program was designed not only to show recruits and their families the military lifestyle, but also as a tool to keep recruiting numbers high and attrition rate low.

By giving recruits a "sneak peak" at what to expect in basic training helps them make an educated decision on whether or not the military is the correct career path for them.

The state's program has shown increasingly effective results, said Ferrer. While the National Guard Bureau standard is 83 percent of Soldiers to ship to basic training, the Illinois National Guard has exceeded this.

"Our numbers in the state of Illinois for Fiscal Year 2011 recruit ship rate was 91 percent," said Ferrer. "This clearly shows that programs like RSP are working to make the process of recruitment and retention more efficient."

"Preparing and ensuring these recruits and their families a smooth transition into the military arena is our goal and we are here to do just that," said Ferrer.

Photo 1: Photo by Sgt. Charlie Helmholt, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment / Staff Sgt. Justin M. Gullion of Northbrook, the level-one combatives instructor for Company B, Illinois National Guard Recruiting and Retention Command, displays a dominant mounting technique to family members during a self defense workshop as a part of the recruit sustainment program Dec. 3 at the Illinois National Guard Kedzie armory Chicago.

Photo 2: Photo by Spc. Jason Dorsey, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/ Staff Sgt. Francisco Santiago of Chicago, of Company B, Illinois National Guard Recruit Retention Command, explains the fundamentals of weapons handling during a class on urban warfare training as part of a recruit sustainment program workshop Dec. 3 at the Illinois National Guard Kedzie armory in Chicago.

For high resolution 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

Become our Facebook Fan!

www.facebook.com/illinoisnationalguard

-30-

 
Governor Quinn Signs Laws to Improve Quality of Life for Illinois Veterans PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Nafia Khan   
Friday, 23 December 2011 15:50

New Laws Improve Access to Jobs, Health Insurance

CHICAGO – December 19, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation that will improve the quality of life for Illinois’ Veterans. Senate Bill 1587, sponsored by Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago) and Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago), and Senate Bill 40, sponsored by Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Highwood) and Rep. Lisa Dugan (D-Kankakee), make it easier for Veterans to gain access to employment and health care.

“The men and women who have courageously defended our democracy overseas should not return home only to fight for necessities like jobs and health insurance,” said Governor Quinn. “We owe it to our Veterans to make their transition to civilian life as seamless as possible.”

Senate Bill 1587 makes it easier for Veterans to become members of the Illinois State Police (ISP). Under the new law, education requirements will be waived for individuals who have been honorably discharged with a campaign medal after serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. On average, a servicemember serves three to four years before being discharged, and that experience makes Veterans particularly valuable assets to the ISP.

"Having been a Veteran who returned home and found limited job opportunities, I applaud the efforts of Governor Quinn and the state legislators to improve the quality of life for soldiers seeking to further their careers to serve and protect,” said Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau. “This law will give Veterans every opportunity to apply and test within our department, and will significantly increase the pool of qualified, experienced candidates representing the Illinois State Police.”

Governor Quinn also signed Senate Bill 40, which extends the Veterans’ Care program. The program provides Veterans with comprehensive health care coverage for $40 or $70 per month (depending on income). The program had been set to expire on Jan. 1.

“Employment and the availability affordable of healthcare are among the most critical needs of the Illinois veteran community,” said Erica Borggren, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “These measures will have an immediate, direct impact for Illinois’ past and present heroes in uniform.”

The law also helps members of the Illinois National Guard receive compensation more quickly when responding to in-state natural disasters. Under the law, the Illinois National Guard State Active Duty Fund will be created to more efficiently reimburse Guard members called to active duty in the event of state disasters.

“Our Soldiers and Airmen always stand ready for any mission, whether here at home or overseas,” said Maj. Gen. William Enyart, Illinois National Guard Adjutant General. “As responders, this bill will help the Illinois National Guard's immediate response to emergencies. It will allow us to move forward during the mission knowing our soldiers, airmen and suppliers will receive prompt payment during a crisis and won't have to worry about paying their families bills.”

For more information about these and other programs for Veterans, visit www.operationhomefront.org or call the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs at (217) 782-6641 or (312) 814-2460.

 

###


 
COMMENTARY -- Saluting Service and Sacrifice PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Friday, 23 December 2011 14:43

Saluting Service and Sacrifice

by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Iowans will welcome friends and family home for the holidays this month to celebrate the joys of the season together.  Kids home from college and relatives from far and near will gather under one roof to enjoy each other’s company.

For U.S. military families, the return of 45,000 troops from Iraq arguably wins the best homecoming present of the season.  Nearly nine years after the war started in March 2003, American troops have fought to defend freedom and protect U.S. national security interests in and around Afghanistan and Iraq. The men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line in service to our country have earned a debt of gratitude from the American public.

The American public cannot afford to become complacent about the mission and contribution of the U.S. military.  The military serves in many cases as the world’s first and last line of defense for freedom, liberty and democracy at home and abroad.  Ultimately, it is the courageous members of the U.S. Armed Forces who serve on the front lines to protect our American way of life here at home.

Iowa has a long-held tradition of honoring members of the Armed Forces and the citizen-soldiers of the National Guard and Reserves.  Local communities and veterans’ service organizations for generations have organized celebrations for hometown heroes deploying to and returning from military service, as well as memorials for those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

In Washington, I work to square the needs of a strong U.S. military and the sacrifices of the taxpaying public.  Recently, I’ve worked to raise awareness and increase federal help for our members of the Armed Forces who suffer from service-related mental health conditions and injuries.  An increasing number of veterans return from the battlefield with invisible wounds.  In 2007, I worked with Iowa lawmakers to pass the “Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act” in honor of an Iowa veteran who took his own life after returning home from active duty.

Seeking to help military veterans re-enter the civilian workforce, I worked to help secure passage this year of a federal tax incentive that would make it easier for small businesses to hire qualified military veterans.  In recognition of their skills and service to our country, I’ve also called upon federal agencies to hire qualified military veterans.  As a result, the IRS has hired thousands of vets in the last four years.

During this season of joy and celebration, let’s remember to salute the service and sacrifice made by America’s veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Thanks to their commitment to duty, honor and country, America continues to be the land of the free and home of the brave.

Monday, December 19, 2011

 
<< Start < Prev 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 Next > End >>

Page 108 of 134