Military & Veterans News
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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Braley Announces Veteran Employment Tax Credit Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Kira Ayish   
Thursday, 25 August 2011 10:09

Legislation will help create jobs for returned Iowa National Guard Troops and other veterans

Waterloo, IA – This week, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) is introducing a bill to cut payroll taxes for businesses that hire unemployed veterans. The Combat Veterans Back to Work Act provides employers with a payroll tax break if they hire recently returned veterans, including members of the Iowa National Guard, who are unemployed.  Currently, approximately 600 Iowa Guardsmen, who recently returned from Afghanistan, are looking for work. 

“After their distinguished service in Afghanistan, we should do all we can to help members of the Iowa Guard find employment in their civilian lives,” said Rep. Braley.  “This legislation will support our friends and neighbors in the Iowa National Guard, Reserves, and veterans who have recently returned home and face a difficult job market.” 

“Thousands of Iowans have returned home after serving overseas this past year.  Now we must support them and bring their experience and talent back into the Iowa workforce.”

The Combat Veterans Back to Work Act will exempt small 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 has worked closely with the Iowa National Guard throughout his time in Congress.  Last week, he met with Iowa National Guard leaders and their partners at Camp Dodge to discuss employment initiatives for returning Iowa service members. In 2010, he secured long-overdue back pay for nearly 650 members of the Iowa National Guard and over 22,000 National Guard troops nationwide.  Prior to that, Congressman Braley led an investigation that resulted in nearly 3,500 members of the Iowa National Guard receiving their GI Bill education benefits, after these benefits were initially denied by the Pentagon.                      

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

This week, Congressman Braley will hold events in Cedar Rapids (Tuesday), Des Moines (Wednesday) and the Quad Cities (Thursday) to inform Iowans of this legislation.

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Governor Quinn Takes Action to Protect Veterans and Support Military Families PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Thursday, 25 August 2011 09:45

Three New Laws Support Servicemembers and Their Families

SPRINGFIELD – August 21, 2011. As part of his ongoing commitment to servicemembers and their families, Governor Pat Quinn today signed three laws that will protect Veterans and support military families.

“Our servicemembers are the heart and soul of Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “Whether they are returning home from service or defending our country overseas, we want them to feel confident that they and their families are taken care of back home.” 

Sponsored by Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) and Sen. David Koehler (D-Pekin), House Bill 2870 will provide schools with another way to identify students with active duty parents and provide much-needed counseling and support. The new law requires K-12 public and private schools to allow students to voluntarily identify themselves as having parents actively serving in the armed forces. This allows the school to provide counseling and support for students whose parents are currently or will soon be deployed.

“Governor Quinn stands with Veterans and their families on military issues, and we will continue to fight together to improve life for our Veterans,” Rep. Chapa LaVia said. “This new law will help make sure that we are giving the children of servicemembers the support they need.”

House Bill 3255 allows Illinois State Police troopers, Illinois National Guard members and volunteer nonprofits serving small populations to apply to a fee wavier for Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training. Sponsored by Rep. Donald Moffitt (R-Galesburg) and Sen. Carole Pankau (R-Bloomingdale), this bill will encourage more first responders, including state troopers and members of the National Guard, to complete additional emergency medical training and become certified EMTs, which will also improve unit safety when servicemembers are deployed.

“Many times, troopers, volunteer ambulance members, volunteer firefighters or members of the National Guard are the first to reach a victim of an accident, disaster or other situation involving life-threatening injuries.” Rep. Moffitt said “The more emergency medical training they have, the better they will be able to help until paramedics or doctors can take over.”

Sponsored by Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D-Orland Park), Senate Bill 1672 requires all pension funds and retirement systems to comply with the federal Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (HEART ACT). This law ensures that additional tax and pension benefits are granted to Illinois servicemembers who are absent from work due to duty in uniformed military service.

The new laws all take effect immediately.

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