Military & Veterans News
Gov. Terry E. Branstad ordered flags at half-staff on Monday to honor World War II Airman returned home after nearly 70 years PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 10:13

Staff Sgt. Maurice L. Fevold to be laid to rest Monday at Blossom Hill Cemetery in Badger, Iowa


(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in Iowa from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, October 20, 2014, in honor of Staff Sgt. Maurice L. Fevold, formerly of Badger/Eagle Grove, Iowa.

The Governor's directive applies to all U.S. and state flags under the control of the state. H.R. 692, signed in 2007, requires federal government agencies in the state to comply with the Governor's Executive Order that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a member of the Armed Forces.

Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.

Fevold, a 21-year old Badger/Eagle Grove, Iowa native was assigned to the 599th Bomber Squadron, 397th Bomber Group (Medium), U.S. Army Air Corps. On Dec. 23, 1944, the first day of aviation operations for the Battle of the Bulge, Fevold, along with five other crew members, took off from Saint Quentin, France onboard a B-26G Marauder bomber aircraft to attack an enemy-held railroad bridge in Eller, Germany. Their aircraft was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire near Seffern, Germany, which borders Belgium. A total of 10 U.S. aircraft were recorded as lost in the vicinity of Seffern during this specific mission.

Fevold, the aircraft’s armorer-gunner, and the entire crew were officially declared deceased on Dec. 23, 1944, but their remains were never recovered. In November 2006, the Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command - Central Identification Laboratory (JPAC) received information of a possible aircraft crash site near Allmuthen, Belgium. In March 2007, a JPAC Investigation Team surveyed the purported crash site, where human remains and physical evidence were recovered in 2012 by JPAC personnel.

In 2014, JPAC’s Research and Analysis Group concluded a historical association existed between the artifacts and human remains recovered at the Belgium excavation site and Missing Air Crew Report #11985 from World War II. Mitochondrial DNA testing positively identified the remains as belonging to Fevold and other crew members from the missing aircraft.

Maurice Fevold was born Feb. 21, 1923 near Badger, Iowa to John and Carrie (Thorson) Fevold. He grew up in the Badger/Eagle Grove, Iowa area and was a 1941 graduate of Eagle Grove High School.

Fevold enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 12, 1943, and transferred into the U.S. Army Air Corps in June 1943. Fevold attended armament training at Lowry Field, Colo., aerial training at Ft. Myers, Fla., and then B-26 flight training at Barksdale Field, La.  He left the U.S. for duty in the European theater in April 1944 and was assigned to the 599th Bomber Squadron, 397th Bomber Group, Medium, U.S. Army Air Corps.

His military awards and honors include the Purple Heart (posthumous), Air Medal (11 awards), Army Good Conduct Medal (posthumous), European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (with one silver service star), World War II Victory Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, and Enlisted Aircrew Member Wings.

He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Jeanette Prime. He is survived by great nephews and great nieces: William Bushman of Missouri; Robert Sweeney of Hawaii; Michael Sweeney of Washington; Vicki Riley of Iowa; and Shelly Everheart.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, Oct. 19 from 5-7 p.m. at Bruce Funeral Home, 923 1st Ave. South, Fort Dodge, Iowa. A memorial service will be held on Monday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. at Bruce Funeral Home, followed by interment at the Blossom Hill Cemetery, Badger, Iowa (located northeast of Badger on 110th St. and Racine Ave.), with full military honors provided by the Iowa National Guard. The public is welcome to attend the visitation, funeral, and graveside service.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the family in care of Bruce Funeral Home, 923 1st Ave. South, Fort Dodge, Iowa 50501. Contact the funeral home with any questions at 515-576-5117.

Illinois National Guardsman Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth retires with 23 years of service PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Illinois National Guard PAO   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 12:17

SPRINGFIELD, IL (10/14/2014)(readMedia)-- Story by Staff Sgt. Aleah M. Castrejon, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, an Illinois National Guardsman with Joint Force Headquarters, announced her military retirement 10 years after her Blackhawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq and she lost both legs.

Duckworth commissioned with the Army Reserves in May 1992 and joined the Illinois Army National Guard in 1996, with dreams of becoming a Foreign Service officer, and someday an ambassador, she said.

"I was studying for my master's degree and in my classes were a lot of vets, drilling Reservists and Guardsmen," said Duckworth. "I just naturally gravitated toward those folks as my friends."

Her college friends advised her to understand the military better and attend military classes. Before long, she was heading off to military training.

"I had just been laid off from my job and everything worked out," said Duckworth. "I was able to go to basic training. So off I went to cadet basic training. It was miserable, but I loved the challenge."

Duckworth faced many hurdles throughout her career. In 2004, she deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard. She was one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade Nov. 12, 2004. Duckworth lost both legs and partial use of her right arm in the explosion and received a Purple Heart for her combat injuries.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kurt Hannemann of Chicago, with Company B, 1st Battalion, 106th Aviation in Peoria, Illinois, served as a door gunner on the same Blackhawk that was shot down. Hannemann said he considers Duckworth a mentor, admiring her mission-focused attitude and attention to detail.

Having been in the military for 23 years, Duckworth said balancing her civilian job and military career was the most challenging.

"I've always been a Reservist or Guardsman," said Duckworth. "During my command of Company B, 106th Aviation, it was a part-time job. That balance between being a citizen-Soldier and my civilian job has always been a real challenge throughout my career."

While Duckworth mentioned many fond memories and many testing situations, she always had a mentor to guide her.

"The person I have worked both closely with and for has been Colonel Sikowski," said Duckworth. "He taught me to be thoughtful, whereas the Army teaches you to be decisive. You want to make a decision and execute, but he taught me to be patient."

Sikowski responded to situations after taking time to think and come up with a better solution, one that had better long-term effects, said Duckworth.

"I carry his thoughtfulness to Washington and I teach that to my staff," said Duckworth, who is also a congresswoman. "I've always admired that and I carry that through the rest of my career."

Duckworth was not originally scheduled to deploy to Iraq in 2004, but volunteered for the deployment, said Sikowski.

"She was my right-hand person as far as operations for the entire task force," said Sikowski.

Sikowski required his staff to fly twice a week and remain fully engaged in the mission during the deployment.

"Tammy's always been driven," said Sikowski. "She's the type of person who can accomplish anything she wants to do whether this incident happened or not."

After her helicopter was shot down, Duckworth was determined to stay in the military.

She said she learned to enjoy other aspects of the military just as much as flying. She joined to become a pilot and flying was her passion; however, working in a tactical operations center (TOC) is something she enjoyed second to flying.

"I am a total TOC rat," said Duckworth. "I love writing operations orders, even though I cannot fly. The other thing I really love is TOC operations and being in the Joint Operations Center."

"It has been a privilege to serve with all of these amazing folks. I am so proud of what they do," said Duckworth. "The American people do not know what our National Guardsmen give up to wear the uniform."

Duckworth recalled many notable missions during her military career. She said she flew Bell UH-1, also known as a Huey, around the Pyramids in Egypt, Blackhawks over glaciers in Iceland and completed a deployment to Iraq.

"The greatest part of my career was when I was in command of Company B, 106th Aviation," said Duckworth. "As tough as it was and the hard work that it was, that was by far the best part of my career."

Duckworth maintained many great relationships and built a network of friends while in the military.

"We all have friends that go way back," said Duckworth. "You may not see them for ages, but when you do it's old home week. I treasure it."

In talking about her 10-year anniversary, Duckworth tears up thinking about that day and the Soldiers who saved her.

"They literally carried me off of the field," said Duckworth. "It's my turn to do a little carrying. Not a day goes by that I don't get up and say, 'What can I do to pay back?"

Choosing to remain in the military after the incident, Sikowski said it is quite an amazing accomplishment given the severity of her injuries that she continues serving so well.

Duckworth recently got her fixed wing pilot license and started flying again. Her motivation comes from the lifestyle of being a pilot, said Sikowski.

"The requirements, time and effort it takes to become a pilot becomes a lifestyle," said Sikowski. "It doesn't leave your blood. It's another one of those accomplishments that requires the drive that she possesses."

As she continues with her civilian career, she is working to ensure the veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom receive the care they need.

"I am working with respiratory and neurological associations to do studies," said Duckworth. "I don't want our Soldiers to wait 20 years before they are treated like agent orange and Gulf War syndrome."

Duckworth recently announced her pregnancy and said she has big plans after retirement.

"I plan on continuing my civilian job, raising this baby and being as big a cheerleader of the Guard as I can," said Duckworth. "I'll be a Guard spouse, as my husband is still in."

In the last decade, Duckworth has accomplished many personal goals including scuba diving, surfing, skydiving, marathons, going back to school, and helping in her community.

"Through her, I have learned that humans can be very resilient, both physically and mentally," said Hannemann. "I am very proud of how she has taken a negative thing and turned it into such a positive outcome."

News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Lora Adams   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:03

MOLINE, ILLINOIS – WQPT, Quad Cities PBS is just completing its first year of "Embracing Our Military," a two-year initiative designed to draw attention and resources to military families in the community.

From 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 7, WQPT will hold a free Military Workforce Symposium at Western Illinois University – Quad Cities in Moline, IL, to provide workshops, a job fair, resource booths and educational opportunities for National Guard, reserve, active duty, retired military and military spouses.

Businesses in attendance have noted they are hiring with openings occurring in the next three-six months and who share a commitment to hiring veterans.

Workshop topics include "Reinventing Michael Banks," an interactive video that addresses the needs of both transitioning service members and employers by allowing participants to take an active role in the decisions and lives of a veteran, a corporate recruiter, a human resources professional and a supervisor. Other topics include "Dressing for Success," "Build Your Network: Build Your Future," "Volunteerism," and "Successfully Navigating USA Jobs."

To find out more about the Military Workshop Symposium or other aspects of "Embracing Our Military," visit

The symposium is supported by presenting sponsors R.I.A Federal Credit Union, UnityPoint Health- Trinity and WQPT, Quad Cities PBS.

WQPT is a public media service of Western Illinois University.


Illinois Army National Guard Soldier excels in Strongman Competition PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Spc. Kyle Hessenauer, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 09:42

SPRINGFIELD, IL (10/10/2014)(readMedia)-- SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Staff Sgt. Kellye Brestan of Bloomington, Illinois, recruiter for the Illinois Army National Guard, placed third in the North American Strongman (NAS) National Competition in Reno, Nevada, Oct. 4 and 5.

NAS is the premier amateur strongman corporation in the world. This event attracted more than 200 men and women to prove their strength against each other within their own weight class. Challenges ranged from lifting cars to throwing kegs.

"I have known Brestan for three years," said 1st Sgt. Holly Donald of Peoria, Illinois, Recruiting and Retention Battalion.

"When she first joined, she struggled to pass the Army fitness test. She decided to become fit and better as a recruiter. She wanted to be a better role model for future recruits."

Brestan is the epitome of the noncommissioned officer creed. She lives the Army values and is the whole Soldier concept, said Donald.

"I train five to six days a week for a few hours a day," said Brestan." I started training for this competition three months ago and I have five months to train for the Arnold World championship in March. I had to drop 27 pounds for this competition, learn how to dead lift a car, carry a 1,150 pound wheel barrow, lift kegs over a bar and press one over my head."

Brestan maintains her fit and healthy lifestyle for competitions, but also maintains Army standards.

"I stay active for my health and to inspire my Soldiers," said Brestan. "I have a few Soldiers that have trained with me. I also have applicants I am currently training for weight loss and then they should be joining the Illinois Army National Guard."

Comparing the competitive strongman lifestyle and being an Army recruiter has many similarities.

"I live a very structured life now, food measured out and my workouts are all very structured," said Brestan. "I think that it all goes hand-in-hand, the structure I need in training and in recruiting. I plan everything so well now. Time management has never been more important."

Placing third in the NAS competition, Brestan is just shy of obtaining the title of the World's Strongest Woman.

"I don't think it has even set in that I am the third strongest in the nation," said Brestan "I'm still in shock."

Brestan said she plans to attend the Arnold World Championship in Columbus, Ohio, but will attend local charity shows until then to maintain her competitive shape.

BHC designated a Military Friendly School for fifth year PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Holly Smith   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 08:40

Black Hawk College has been named a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.

The list highlights 1,600 institutions that exhibit leading practices to support military students. Schools earned rights to the Military Friendly® trademarked designation via qualifying scores from a rigorous survey assessment.

Black Hawk College was designated a Military Friendly School from 2011-2014 but serving veterans is not a new mission for the college.

When the college conducted its first classes in September 1946, 73 percent of the 239 students were World War II veterans.

This semester, there are 232 Black Hawk College students receiving veterans’ benefits.

“As a Military Friendly School, we are constantly striving to find new ways to best serve our veterans, military students and their families,” said Marceia Duhm, coordinator of career and veterans services at Black Hawk College.

“Our Veterans Resource Center encourages our military students and veterans to be active in the college and their communities,” she said. “It provides support for those needing a little direction and encouragement as they transition from the military to civilian life.”

The college also has the Military Students and Veterans Club, a chapter of Student Veterans of America.

The Military Friendly Schools designation process includes extensive research and a data-driven survey of schools nationwide approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill funding.

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