Military & Veterans News
Illinois National Guard places first in qualified Soldiers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Illinois National Guard PAO   
Thursday, 17 July 2014 09:02

SPRINGFIELD, IL (07/16/2014)(readMedia)-- SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – This week's National Guard Bureau qualification scorecard found the Illinois Army National Guard moved to first place among the states and territories for duty military occupational specialty qualified (DMOSQ) Soldiers. Of the available 8,983 Soldiers assigned, 8,713 are military occupational specialty (MOS) qualified, which is a success rate of 97.5 percent.

A Soldier is DMOSQ when he or she graduates from a school required to qualify for the job specialty.

"The importance of this is about being a ready and relevant force," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Mark Hebenstreit of Springfield, Illinois, human resources specialist for the personnel branch. "Units need to be able to perform missions, not only for deployments, but federal and state missions. It is important to have trained and competent Soldiers in the units to perform homeland security and combat missions."

The training branch (G3) and the personnel branch (G1) are responsible for identifying Soldiers who need to qualify in their occupational specialty and processing school applications in a timely manner.

"There is a 30-day window when we are allowed to obtain seats from other states," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Melton of Springfield, Illinois, training technician in the Individual Training Branch (G3/7). "We have to stay on top of the packets and process applications."

Melton called multiple states to use allocated school seats. Other states gave unused seats to Illinois, allowing Illinois to send more Soldiers to school.

"This is a team effort between the G3, G1 and the major subordinate command's," said Master Sgt. Christopher Anderson of Dixon, Illinois, the quota source manager for the G3. "It's challenging to get to number one in the state; it is a committed effort in proper manning."

While Illinois is currently number one, the numbers can fluctuate easily, as Soldiers move units and change jobs.

"We try to get the Solders trained as soon as possible," said Melton.

To be effective it is important the Soldiers know their jobs and are DMOSQ.

"We must be committed to ensuring our Soldiers are highly trained," said Lt. Col. Stanely Manes of Springfield, Illinois, chief training division.

Gov. Terry E. Branstad orders flags at half-staff to honor World War II veteran repatriated Missing in action World War II Airman Staff Sgt. Robert E. Howard PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 12:43
After remaining missing for 69 years, Moulton, Iowa, native to return home Saturday to final resting place at Sunset View Cemetery in Moulton


(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in Iowa from 5 p.m. Friday, July 18, 2014, until 8 a.m. Monday, July 21, 2014, in honor of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert “Bobby” E. Howard, formerly of Moulton, Iowa. A photo of Staff Sgt. Howard may be found here.

Howard, a 21-year old serving with the 450th Bomber Squadron, 322nd Bomber Group, Medium, 9th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps, was last seen April 16, 1945, as his unit was conducting a bombing mission over Germany. His flight was shot down and crashed near Wittenburg, Germany. Only one of the six crew members was able to parachute from the aircraft and was taken prisoner by German forces. Howard and four other crewmembers were declared deceased, but their remains were never found.

In 2012, the Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command – Central Identification Laboratory (JPAC) received information from German Officials of human remains found within a burial site located close to the possible aircraft crash site. In 2014, JPAC’s Research and Analysis Group concluded a historical association drawn from Missing Air Crew Report #14463 and artifacts and human remains recovered at the excavation site. Mitochondrial DNA testing positively identified part of the remains belonging to Staff Sgt. Howard.

Robert Howard was born December, 19, 1923, in Moulton, Iowa. He graduated from Moravia Public School in Moravia, Iowa, in 1941, and participated in marching band, orchestra, concert band and dramatics.

Howard enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 19, 1943, and transferred into the U.S. Air Army Air Corps. His military awards and honors include the Purple Heart, Air Medal (with one silver and two bronze Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (with three bronze service stars), World War II Victory Medal and Enlisted Crew Wings.

Howard is survived by brothers Harold and Dennis, both of Des Moines, sisters Evelyn Lewin of Indianola, Janie Ballanger of Coatsville, Mo., and Evelyn June Nance of Tulsa, Okla., and by many nieces, nephews and extended family members. His parents and his sister, Betty Howard Harvey are deceased.

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.

A memorial service will be held at Sunset View Cemetery in Moulton, Iowa, on July 19, 2014, at 11 a.m., with full military honors provided by the Iowa National Guard. The cemetery is located north of Moulton, at the northeast corner of highway 202 and 535th Street. The memorial service is open the public.

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.


Braley, Joined by Bipartisan Coalition, Introduces Comprehensive Legislation to Address Veteran Suicide, Mental Health PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Kirsten Hartman   
Friday, 11 July 2014 12:56

Congressman: ‘Our commitment to America’s veterans needs to match the commitment they’ve made to us’

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today joined a bipartisan group in introducing comprehensive legislation designed to address the escalating rate of suicide among America’s veterans—the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.

“The suicide rate among America’s veterans represents a national crisis,” Braley said. “This legislation won’t solve the problem overnight—but it will get more resources where they’re desperately needed. Our commitment to America’s veterans needs to match the commitment they’ve made to us, especially when it comes to this issue.”


The bill is named after Clay Hunt, a decorated Marine combat veteran, who took his own life in 2011 after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The act contains a host of provisions which include sections that would:


  • Require an independent third party to annually evaluate the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs mental health care and suicide prevention programs.

·         Require that a board of review, when looking at an appeal of a veteran who was discharged, must consider in their final decision if a veteran had Post Traumatic Stress or a Traumatic Brain Injury related to combat or military sexual trauma with evidence provided by the VA or civilian providers.

·         Require the VA to publish an interactive website designed to serve as a centralized source of information regarding all mental health services.

·         Require the VA and the National Guard to enter into partnerships in order to improve mental health treatment for servicemembers.

·         Require a review of staffing requirements for states with respect to Directors of Psychological Health.

·         Create a VA pilot program to assist veterans who are reintegrating back into the community, to assist with the difficult and unique challenges they face.

In April, Braley hosted a series of roundtables around the state listening to experts and veterans service organizations to discuss the high level of post-traumatic stress and high suicide rates that have been reported for servicemembers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Braley has championed the Veterans Access to Care Act, legislation that seeks to expand veterans’ access to quality healthcare by helping the Veterans Administration and state veterans’ homes recruit more highly-qualified doctors, nurses, and mental health providers to provide services to America’s veterans.

A link to Braley’s legislation can be found online HERE.

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182nd Airlift Wing Members Return from Operation Enduring Freedom PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Illinois National Guard PAO   
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 12:43

PEORIA, IL (07/07/2014)(readMedia)-- Approximately 40 members of the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria are scheduled to return home Tuesday, July 8, after serving as part of Operation Enduring Freedom since February 2014. The returning members are a mix of aircrew and maintainers, who supported and flew C-130 missions within U.S. Central Command Area of Operations. About 40 members of the 182nd Airlift Wing were activated in February and were assigned to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia.

The 182nd Airlift Wing flies the C-130 aircraft which is primarily used to transport cargo, personnel and aeromedical evacuees. Since Sept. 11, 2001 the 182nd has deployed over 4,000 members to support operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. Many of the wing's members have deployed numerous times. The wing has flown more than 17,500 hours in direct support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. This deployment cycle is one of many in the wing's history of supporting the Global War on Terrorism.

Both C-130 aircrafts and the crew are expected to return Tuesday, at approximately 1:30 p.m., to the 182nd, located at 2416 S. Falcon Blvd in Peoria.

Media is welcome to attend both returns and should contact Lt. Col. Steve Thomas at (309)633-5534 to be added to the entrance list and provided updates on any changes in the arrival times.

Illinois and Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers sweep the MAC IV Regionals PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Illinois National Guard PAO   
Thursday, 03 July 2014 08:06

Regional Soldiers share camaraderie during competition

SPRINGFIELD, IL (07/02/2014)(readMedia)-- Illinois and Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers sweep the MAC IV RegionalsCAMP PERRY, Ohio. – National Guard soldiers from five states gathered at Camp Perry, Ohio this weekend to compete in the Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Four-Small Arms Championship.

Illinois teams took first and second place overall, while the Wisconsin team placed in third. Both states also claim an individual champion. The individual pistol champion hails from Illinois and the individual rifle champion calls Wisconsin home.

The first place team consists of Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Mix, Headquarters and Headquarters Co., 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade; Staff Sgt. Gabriel Cullers, HHC, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment; Sgt. 1st Class John Stockton, HHC, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team; and Spc. Joseph Miller, 232nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion; all of the Illinois National Guard. Stockton was also the individual pistol champion.

Sgt. Brandon Swanson, of the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Brigade Combat Team, Wisconsin National Guard, not only took the top individual spot, but was part of the third place team.

Swanson is also a member of the All Guard Service Rifle Team, which means he represents the National Guard at military and civilian marksmanship competitions across the U.S.

Competitions aren't just about winning awards though. The ability to shoot accurately is a basic soldier skill. "I think fundamentally, it's the most important thing in the entire military," said Swanson.

Swanson uses his marksmanship skills to positively affect his fellow soldiers. He works with other units in his state to pass along those skills. He will soon be attending the Small Arms Master Gunner course in his efforts to become a marksmanship instructor.

Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Glover, of the Master Weapons Training Team, Ohio National Guard, also knows a little bit about training marksmanship skills. He has personally been shooting competitively since 2002, but has been part of the MWTT for the last six years.

Glover has spent a lot of time on the range training soldiers how to be an effective shooter. "We have done a lot of support for the pre- and post-mobilization training for deploying units," said Glover. "They bring us in to help them out on the live fire portion of their training."

The primary mission of Glover's team is to provide primary marksmanship instruction for all Ohio units. As the Assistant Noncommissioned-Officer-In-Charge of the team, it is something that he takes a lot of pride in, but he isn't too proud to learn some new tips at the competitions though.

"One of our guys has a different hold on his standing position where he gets his arm fully extended on the front hand guard," said Glover. "I think it has promise."

The Marksmanship Advisory Council Small Arms Championships occur each year around the nation. There are seven MAC regions in the U.S. that include all 54 states and territories. Ideally, each state conducts their own state matches to find the best teams to send to the MAC regional matches.

The matches are sponsored by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center in North Little Rock, Ark. Col. Franklin D. Powell, commander of the NGMTC, feels competition is another training tool to strengthen our core of service members.

"These shooters need to take what they learn at these competitions back to their units," said Powell. "If they work hard out here and learn from other shooters, they can bring back a wealth of knowledge that can be invaluable to their units."

First time shooter, Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Zabinski, Alpha Company, Recruiting and Retention Battalion, Wisconsin National Guard, seems to agree.

"The shooting community is awesome," said Zabinski. "I can talk to anybody from any state and they're willing to give up any information whatsoever. We're all on the same team."

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