Military & Veterans News
Grassley, Feinstein Seek Testimony from Military on Synthetic Drug Use PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Thursday, 31 March 2011 07:08

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), leaders of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, today asked the Defense Department to provide testimony at an upcoming hearing on synthetic drugs known as “K2” or “Spice,” among other names.

The drugs are marketed as harmless, when in fact they are dangerous, and the deceptive marketing and easy availability have made them attractive to young consumers, including members of the military. Recent reports indicate increased disciplinary action by the Defense Department among members of the armed forces due to synthetic drug use.  The senators asked the Defense Department to provide written testimony for a hearing of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control on April 6, 2011, titled, “The Dangers of Synthetic Cannabinoids and Stimulants.”

Earlier this month, Grassley, Feinstein and fellow senators introduced legislation to ban the chemicals used to make K2.  The legislation is called the Dangerous Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011 and the David Mitchell Rozga Act, S. 605, named for the 18-year-old Iowan who took his own life soon after using K2 purchased from his local shopping mall. The father of David Rozga, Michael Rozga, will testify at the upcoming hearing.

Grassley is Co-chairman and Feinstein is Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.  Both senators serve on the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the K2 legislation.  Grassley is ranking member of the committee.

The text of the Grassley-Feinstein letter to the Defense secretary is available here.


Braley Demands Straightforward Answer on Cost of Libyan Conflict PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Monday, 28 March 2011 08:08
Washington, DC March 25, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement after White House spokesperson Jay Carney was asked about Rep. Braley’s letter calling for an accounting of the Libyan conflict. According to USA Today, Carney replied to reporters, “there are contingency funds…for this kind of thing.” Today Rep. Braley said:

“Yesterday I asked for accountability on the question of how much this conflict is costing us, and I have yet to see a clear response from the White House. The fact that funds for contingency military operations exist doesn’t answer the question of how much we’re spending, and will continue to spend, in Libya. I’m not the only one asking these questions – the American people are demanding answers too. And the President must give Congress and all taxpayers an accurate answer.”

Yesterday, Rep. Braley sent a letter to President Obama asking for a full accounting of the Libyan conflict and the costs to taxpayers. Speaker Boehner sent a similar letter to the President. Rep. Braley has previously called for a full accounting of the human and financial costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A copy of Rep. Braley’s letter is available here:

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Illinois National Guard Medal of Honor Recipients from Civil War to World War II PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by PFC Jami Pritchard   
Monday, 28 March 2011 08:02

SPRINGFIELD, IL (03/24/2011)(readMedia)-- In 2007, March 25 was recognized as National Medal of Honor day. Every year since then it has been the official day that honors the servicemembers of the U.S. military who's actions of valor inspired generations and the nation.

While the day was made official only three years ago, the legacy of the Medal of Honor and the servicemembers who were awarded it span more than 150 years of Illinois history.

President Abraham Lincoln, a veteran of the Illinois Militia, signed a bill issuing the highest military decoration on July 12, 1862. He called it the Medal of Honor. The medal stands as a symbol of the bravery and selflessness individuals display in combat.

There are many aspects that link today's military to the military that existed during the Revolutionary War. The characteristics that remain in the Army today are the core values loyalty, duty, respect, selfless-service, honor, integrity and personal courage.

According to military regulation the Medal of Honor is awarded by the President in the name of Congress to a person in the U.S. military who distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States. Military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life.

There are many examples in Illinois like 1st Sgt. Johannes S. Anderson of Finland, who entered service from Chicago, assigned the Illinois National Guard's Company B, 132nd Infantry, 33rd Division, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions at Consenvoye, France during World War I.

His citation reads "While his company was being held up by intense artillery and machinegun fire, First Sergeant. Anderson, without aid, voluntarily left the company and worked his way to the rear of the (machinegun) nest that was offering the most stubborn resistance. His advance was made through an open area and under constant hostile fire, but the mission was successfully accomplished, and he not only silenced the gun and captured it, but also brought back with him 23 prisoners."

Anderson was one of many heroes that served in the Illinois National Guard or Militia who received the medal for valor in the battlefield. His medal among many other artifacts can be seen at the Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield.

The Army regulation recognizes the incontestable proof of the performance of the service will be exacted and each recommendation for the award of this decoration will be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

All of the men who received the Medal of Honor have done just that. The Medal of Honor is presented to those who make a major sacrifice and some who make the ultimate sacrifice. Those who were killed in action were awarded the medal posthumously.

As President George W. Bush said regarding the Medal of Honor, "Citations are also written in the most simple of language, needing no embellishment or techniques of rhetoric. They record places and names and events that describe themselves. The medal itself bears only one word and needs only one, valor."

Illinois has produced many Medal of Honor recipients beginning with the Civil War.

Airmen Serve Their Country with Music, 566th Air National Guard Band PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by readMedia   
Monday, 21 February 2011 08:44

PEORIA, IL (02/18/2011)(readMedia)-- As the old adage goes, 'music has charms to sooth a savage beast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.'

With the title Airmen, many may envision a pilot and flight crew, but there are many other ways Airmen serve their country with a double bassoon instead of a fighter jet.

With more than 150 different occupations in the National Guard, there is only one job that allows a servicemember to use an instrument instead of a weapon. That group of talented citizen-Airmen is part of the Air National Guard Band of the Midwest.

"Each time I sing the armed forces melody while the band plays, it's such an honor to see the veterans stand to their feet," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Keisha Gwin-Goodin of Chicago, a vocalist with the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America.

The mission of the Illinois Air National Guard's 566th Air Force Band is unique among military units. The Airmen's skills reflect both art and dedication to service in patriotic performance.

"Our mission is multi-faceted," said Air Force Maj. Bryan Miller of Naperville, commander and conductor of the Illinois Air National Guard's 566th Air Force Band. "We are a powerful resource, everything from morale, welfare and recreation to recruiting internally, to improving community relations and portraying a positive image for our nation's military."

The band performs all over the globe, but has had recent concentrations on morale boosting concerts and memorial services in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"With so many military missions in action, we will construct and deploy the most appropriate ensemble needed for the mission," said Miller. "We accomplish this with any number of products to include ceremonial and concert bands, jazz and rock bands, vocalists, buglers and anything else that could best serve a specific mission."

Alongside performing for deployed troop operations, the 566th Air National Guard Band also lifts the

spirits of civilians by performing locally at schools, nursing homes and surrounding organizations.

"The 566th Air National Guard Band is an essential column to the military public affairs structure," said Tech. Sgt. Jack Kinsella of Mahattan, Ill., "Performing not only inspires patriotism, but it most importantly strengthens relationships with a variety of publics to enhance the reputation of the fighting forces of America."

With 11 Air National Guard bands in the continental United States, each band is accountable for supporting units in a multi-state area of responsibility. While performing a diverse line up of patriotic ensembles, the Illinois Air National Guard band has established and maintained an integral root within military history.

Miller said, "I do believe in our mission, whether it's performing for deployed troops in theater, stateside or for the citizenry, we have the unique opportunity to reach out and touch people."

For more information on the band please contact the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office, 217-761-3569.

Braley Meets with Veterans Affairs Sec. Shinseki PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Friday, 18 February 2011 11:33
Washington, DC – February 16, 2011 - Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) met with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki last night to discuss his new leadership role on the House Veterans Affairs committee. Rep. Braley talked about legislation to help Iowa veterans and brought up his concerns about the slow implementation of a law passed last year to help disabled veterans and the people who care for them.

“Secretary Shinseki and I had a great conversation and a productive meeting,” said Rep. Braley. “I look forward to working with him and the Veterans Affairs department to ensure that our veterans get the very best care and the benefits they deserve.”

Rep. Braley gave Secretary Shinseki a letter detailing his concerns about the delayed implementation of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act – a part of that law was meant to provide financial assistance and counseling to help people taking care of wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Rep. Braley supported the bill in the House last year.

According to media reports, the Department of Veterans Affairs missed the January 31, 2011 deadline for fully implementing the new law, leaving families of wounded veterans without the promised assistance.

A high-resolution photo of Rep. Braley and Secretary Shinseki is available here:
Caption for the photo: Congressman Bruce Braley tells VA Secretary Eric Shinseki about Andrew Connolly of Dubuque, IA – an Iowa Army National Guard soldier who served in Iraq.

A copy of the letter is available here:

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