Military & Veterans News
Lt. Governor Simon applauds passage of military education reform legislation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Ted Nelson   
Friday, 11 April 2014 14:51

Military student transition measure now moves to Illinois Senate

SPRINGFIELD – April 10, 2014. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon on Thursday applauded the Illinois House for the passage of legislation crafted by her office to ease the transitions of military students moving in and out of Illinois schools. Sponsored by Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson (D-East St. Louis), House Bill 3939 will align Illinois with national standards on the treatment of military students, many who transfer schools three times more often than their civilian peers.

“This legislation provides a chance for Illinois to strengthen our commitment to our brave military families,”  said Simon, chairperson of the Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee. “We want to make sure these students are prioritized and transition smoothly into their new classes. It’s right for our kids and  important for keeping defense jobs in the state of Illinois.”

In 2010, Illinois joined the Interstate Compact for Military Children and adopted the state’s first-ever law recognizing the unique educational challenges of military students. In the 45 other Compact states, military students enter the same grade level at their new schools, retain previously earned credit and are offered opportunities for extracurricular activities. Illinois’ law does not currently offer the same assurances. The Simon-backed legislation brings Illinois into alignment with other Compact states, providing protections military students deserve while also preserving local control. They include:

• Grade Level: Students must be allowed to continue their enrollment at grade level in the receiving state at the time of transition; subsequent evaluation to verify placement is allowed.

• Course & Program Placement: Schools shall initially honor course and program placement for military students at the time of transition, including Advanced Placement and ESL, provided that the courses are offered and space is available; subsequent evaluation to verify placement is allowed.

• Extracurricular Activities: Schools shall facilitate the opportunity for inclusion in sports and other activities to the extent that children are qualified and space is available as determined by the school principal.


The state of Illinois is home to approximately 10,000 military students, most of whom have at least one parent on active duty at major installations in North Chicago, the Quad Cities and Metro East. They may transfer schools up to nine times between kindergarten and high school graduation, a rate three times that of their civilian peers. During testimony in front of the Illinois House Elementary & Secondary committee, Simon noted the importance of ensuring these transitions are as seamless as possible, out of respect for their families’ sacrifices, the children’s learning opportunities and the economic future of our state. Read her testimony here.

Simon added that with potential federal defense spending reductions and potential base closures on the horizon, this measure also levels the playing field for military students and positions our bases for expansions, not drastic cuts.

“I am proud to have drafted and negotiated this bill as part of my role as chairperson of our state’s military base retention committee,” said Simon. “I want to commend Rep. Jackson and the Illinois House for their quick work to pass this important legislation. I hope the Senate and governor will also work quickly to make this the law of Illinois. House Bill 3939 sends a strong message to military families and our federal leaders that Illinois is a strong and supportive education state.”

During a series of listening posts hosted by the Simon-chaired Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC) held last year near Scott Air Force Base, Naval Station Great Lakes and the Rock Island Arsenal, families and military leadership consistently raised the issue of improving school transition.

As chair of the IMBSEDC, Simon helps coordinate the state’s activities and communications relating to current and former military bases in Illinois. A copy of the legislation can be found here.


Gov. Terry E. Branstad orders flags at half-staff to honor World War II pilot 1st Lt. Louis Longman PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Friday, 11 April 2014 08:29

After remaining missing for 70 years, Clinton native 1st Lt. Longman to return home Saturday to final resting place at Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery


(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in Iowa from 5 p.m. Friday, April 11, 2014, until 8 a.m. Monday, April 14, 2014, in honor of U.S. Army Air Corps 1st Lt. Louis L. Longman, formerly of Clinton, Iowa. A photo of 1st Lt. Longman may be found here.

Longman, a 26-year old Clinton, Iowa native serving with the 433rd Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group, 5th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps, was last seen April 16, 1944 as his unit returned from a B-25 bomber escort mission over Hollandia, New Guinea. A Lockheed P-38 “Lightning” fighter pilot, Longman was on the return leg of the mission in a P-38J aircraft when his unit encountered severe weather in the Markham Valley. Longman’s last reported location was in the vicinity of Bogadjim, New Guinea, as his formation broke up. The 5th Air Force lost 53 pilots and crewmen that day in what became known as “Black Sunday.”

Longman was officially declared deceased on Feb. 27, 1946, but his remains were never recovered. In February 2005, the Joint Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command - Central Identification Laboratory (JPAC) received information of a possible aircraft crash site in Madang province, Papua New Guinea. In August 2007, human remains, as well as parts of a U.S. P-38J aircraft were recovered by a JPAC Investigation Team. Additional remains and physical evidence were also recovered in 2009 and 2010 by JPAC personnel.

In 2011, JPAC’s Research and Analysis Group concluded a historical association drawn from Missing Air Crew Report #4501 and the excavation site. The location of the excavated aircraft crash site and the wreckage reported by JPAC personnel, consistent with a Lockheed P-38J Lightning, support this historical association.

Louis Longman was born Jan. 23, 1918 in Murdock, Minn. to George F. and Ellen T. (Cleary) Longman. He graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Clinton, Iowa in 1936, and participated in a wide variety of school activities, including basketball, football (All-State honorable mention), yearbook sports editor, dramatics, and class officer positions.

Longman enlisted in the U.S. Army on Feb. 19, 1942, and transferred into the U.S. Army Air Corps in June. Longman completed his primary flight training at Cal-Aero Academy in Ontario, Calif., then completed Basic (Merced Army Airfield, Merced, Calif.) and Advanced (Williams Army Airfield, Mesa, Ariz.) Flight Training, receiving his pilot wings on April 12, 1943. He left the U.S. for duty in the Pacific theater in July 1943 and was assigned to the 433rd Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group, 5th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps.

Among his military awards and honors is the Air Medal (with numeral “2”), American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (w/4 Bronze Service Stars), World War II Victory Medal and Pilot Wings.

He was preceded in death by his parents. His four brothers and four sisters are also deceased.

A memorial service and interment will be held at the Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery, 1 Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Ill. on April 12, 2014 at 1 p.m., with full military honors provided by the Iowa National Guard. Please use the Moline entrance. The public is welcome to attend the memorial service.

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.


Illinois National Guard Special Forces train with Puerto Rico National Guardsmen PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sgt. 1st Class Kassidy L. Snyder, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 09:14

CAMP SANTIAGO, PUERTO RICO (04/08/2014)(readMedia)-- Approximately 40 Illinois National Guard Special Forces (SF) Soldiers with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Chicago conducted foreign internal defense (FID) training with the Puerto Rico National Guard, April 2 to 6, 2014 at Camp Santiago in Salinas, Puerto Rico.

More than 300 Puerto Rico National Guardsmen were familiarized with marksmanship training, mechanical and ballistic breaching procedures, military operations on urban terrain and close-quarter battle techniques.

"We were able to teach basic fundamentals to establish a baseline of proficiency to build upon in future training," said a weapons sergeant with the Company A, 2-20th. "They were very receptive and we were able to challenge their abilities."

SF Soldiers shared techniques for more accurate and proficient shooting with the M16A2 rifle, M4 Carbine, M249 squad automatic weapon and M240B machine gun.

"The tactical weapons training was the best part," said Spc. Christopher Figueroa, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 296th Infantry Regiment in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. "The opportunity to fire crew serve weapons was very beneficial and refreshing."

Each unit said they gained language proficiency, because both English and Spanish were spoken throughout the training.

"This was the first time I had to use English for training," said Spc. Eric Aponte, an infantryman with Company A, 1st Battalion, 296th Infantry Regiment in Utuado, Puerto Rico. "They have been great at explaining the training step by step and I learned a lot."

The training was an opportunity for SF Soldiers to maintain their primary skillsets in a foreign culture while advancing language capabilities. Puerto Rico Guardsmen improved their ability to operate as a cohesive unit with a culminating exercise that involved mission planning, movement as a 30-man element and operating in a complex urban environment.

In the past three years Company A, 2-20th has deployed four operational detachments to Central America for long-term FID missions, but this is the first time in more than 10 years Company A, 2-20th conducted training in Puerto Rico.

"There were long days with little sleep, but everyone enjoyed the training," said 1st Lt. Alexis Avellanet, the executive officer for Company C, 1st Battalion, 296th Infantry Regiment in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. "We will take this back to our units and raise the standard of training."

Braley Continues Push to Create Veterans’ Job Corps PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Kirsten Hartman   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 08:07

Congressman: Putting veterans’ specialized skills to use is common sense

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today continued his fight to create a Veterans’ Job Corps, reintroducing legislation that would put unemployed veterans back to work using skills they developed in the military—in such roles as improving our national parks, serving as police officers and firefighters and working in local communities.

“Unemployment levels for veterans remains higher than the national average, and the Veterans’ Jobs Corps is an opportunity to level the playing field for those that have sacrificed so much for our country,” Braley said. “Many of our veterans have highly valued skills that could be put to good use with minimal training—it’s commonsense that we should pursue every opportunity to do that.”


The Veterans’ Jobs Corps Act would allow the executive branch to create the program as a cooperative project between federal agencies. Members of the jobs corps could be employed to improve public lands and national parks, prevent forest fires, work in public safety jobs and control floods. Participation in the corps would be open to veterans and widows of veterans.

Braley previously co-hosted a series of bipartisan field hearings on veterans’ unemployment.  Braley also successfully fought for a pair of tax credits that give businesses incentives to hire unemployed veterans.

A link to the bill can be found HERE.



Lt. Governor Simon to testify on education reforms for military students PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Ted Nelson   
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 10:04
SPRINGFIELD – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will testify in support of new legislation that aims to ease the transitions of military students moving in and out of Illinois schools during an Illinois House  Elementary & Secondary Education Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Simon is supporting legislation sponsored by Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson to extend the Illinois Education Opportunity for Military Children Act beyond its June 2015 sunset. House Bill 3939 will extend the same protections to Illinois’ military families that are extended in the 45 other states that are also part of the Interstate Compact for Military Children.
As chair of the Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee, Simon helps coordinate the state’s activities and communications relating to current and former military bases in Illinois. Simon is committed to protecting the state’s military operations, installations, and the families of those who selflessly serve our state and country.
DATE: Tuesday, April 8
TIME: 9 a.m.
LOCATION: Room D-1, Stratton Building, Springfield

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