Military & Veterans News
Branstad to present Governor’s ROTC Awards April 9th PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Monday, 07 April 2014 07:36

(DES MOINES) – Governor Terry E. Branstad will present the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Governor’s ROTC Award for outstanding achievement to nine students from The University of Iowa, Iowa State University, Drake University, University of Dubuque, Buena Vista University, and the University of Northern Iowa.  The ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, April 9, 2014,  at 9 a.m. at the State Capitol in the Robert D. Ray Conference Room.

The awards are presented annually by Governor Branstad to top students in nine ROTC programs at six universities.  The awards “honor the men and women for leadership, academics, and military achievement.” 

Receiving this year’s awards will be:

Cadet Colonel Jonathon L. Beening, University of Iowa Air Force ROTC, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Beening of Inverness, Illinois.
Cadet Lietenant Colonel Zachary A. Graham, Iowa State University Army ROTC, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Graham of Waverly, Iowa.
Cadet Captain Amelia A. Herink, University of Iowa Army ROTC, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Herink of Canton, Illinois.
Second Lieutenant Charles C. Hohnbaum, Iowa State University Air Force ROTC, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles K. Hohnbaum of Oregon, Wisconsin.
Midshipman First Class Kelly A. Larkin, Iowa State University Naval ROTC, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Pete Larkin of New Hampton, Iowa.
Cadet Major Benjamin J. Levine, Drake University Army ROTC, the son of Ms. Mary Levine of Bloomington, Minnesota.
Cadet Major Mason E. Nielsen, Buena Vista University Army ROTC, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Nielsen of Central City, Iowa.
Cadet Major Jacob C. Pinion, University of Dubuque Army ROTC, the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Dan Pinion of Maquoketa, Iowa.
Cadet Captain Mark R. Wieneke, University of Northern Iowa Army ROTC, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Steve Wieneke of Ankeny, Iowa.

Specialized Illinois National Guard unit to mobilize for Afghanistan PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Illinois National Guard PAO   
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 12:23

Nearly 20 Soldiers mobilize April 5 as part of an embedded training team

SPRINGFIELD, IL (04/02/2014)(readMedia)-- A deployment ceremony is scheduled for 16 Soldiers who will deploy to Afghanistan as part of an embedded training team. The ceremony for the Bilateral Embedded Staff Team (BEST) A13 will be April 5 at 9 a.m. at Camp Lincoln, 1301 N. MacArthur Blvd. in Springfield, Ill.

The BEST Soldiers have conducted more than 24 days of pre-mobilization training at Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, N.J. and will spend an additional 40 days training in Poland before deploying to Afghanistan. Following the training, the Soldiers will deploy to Afghanistan for a six-month mobilization. The unique mission allows Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers to train and deploy side-by-side with their Polish counterparts. The Soldiers are from various parts of Illinois and were selected for the mission based on their training and skills.

"Our 20-year partnership with Poland is the strongest National Guard State Partnership Program in the nation," said Brig. Gen. Daniel Krumrei of Springfield, Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. "Illinois Soldiers and Airmen are instrumental in developing secure international relationships, while broadening their experiences and developing their military skills."

News media attending the event should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and are asked to contact Public Affairs at 217-761-3569 to gain access to Camp Lincoln.

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Freedom Salute Ceremony for Peoria aviation unit that deployed to Afghanistan PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Illinois National Guard PAO   
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 12:43

April 5 ceremony recognizes 238th General Support Aviation Battalion

PEORIA, IL (04/01/2014)(readMedia)-- Approximately 60 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers will be recognized April 5 by the National Guard Bureau Freedom Salute Campaign for their sacrifice and service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The ceremony for 2nd Battalion of the 238th General Support Aviation Battalion in Peoria, Ill. will be at 10 a.m. at the Army Aviation Support Facility #3, 2323 S. Airport Road in Peoria.

The unit mobilized in January 2013 and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, returning home Dec. 14. The aviation unit includes members from across Illinois.

While deployed, the 238th flew CH-47 Chinook helicopters for heavy helicopter air movement and air assault missions. The company was also in charge of re-supply operations and aviation maintenance support. The 238th moved personnel and cargo across the battlefield to decisive points at critical times.

The company flew more than 3,100 combat hours, moving more than 14,000 people and three million pounds of cargo during its rotation.

"I cannot speak highly enough of this company and its Soldiers," said Maj. Clarence Pulcher of Morton, Ill., commander of the 238th. "We executed all of our missions without fail and without a single serious accident."

Pulcher highlighted his maintenance section's performance after several of the unit's aircraft were damaged by a hailstorm in April, just weeks after the unit arrived in Afghanistan.

"It was a hailstorm of biblical proportion dropping anywhere from pea-sized to baseball-sized hail," Pulcher said. "Living most of my life in Southern Illinois, tornado alley, I have never seen anything like it."

Pulcher said his maintenance teams worked around the clock to get the Chinooks airborne within two weeks.

The Freedom Salute Campaign is a small way to show these patriotic citizen-Soldiers, their families and employers how much their sacrifice is appreciated. On behalf of the National Guard Bureau, the Illinois Army National Guard will present each eligible Soldier with an encased American flag, as well as a sequentially-numbered commemorative coin, certificate of appreciation and lapel pin. Families will also receive items recognizing their support and sacrifice.

The Freedom Salute Campaign is one of the largest Army National Guard recognition endeavors in history. It is designed to publicly acknowledge Army National Guard Soldiers and those who supported them while deployed.

News media attending the event should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and are asked to contact the Public Affairs Office to gain access to Camp Lincoln.

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Braley: ‘It’s time the Pentagon hears from Iowa’ on Proposed National Guard Cuts PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 28 March 2014 13:07

Congressman will turn over comments from Iowans to Pentagon next week  


Washington, D.C. – After receiving hundreds of impassioned responses from people all over the state opposed to cuts to the Iowa National Guard, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today is announcing that he will turn over those personal stories to Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Department of Defense next Thursday, April 3—leaving just one more week for Iowans to express their opposition to those cuts.  


“From reading the responses I’ve already received, it’s clear Iowans appreciate and need the service and protection the Iowa National Guard provides,” Braley said. “The Iowa National Guard bravely and selflessly serves Iowa’s communities and our nation every single day, and I’m glad so many Iowans spoke out in support of the Guard. It’s time the Pentagon hears from Iowa on this issue.”


Braley has already received hundreds of responses from Iowans on the proposed cuts to the Iowa National Guard including personal stories of the positive impact the Guard has had on families and communities during times of natural disasters and conflicts abroad.

Additional stories can be shared on his website at:

Earlier this month, Braley asked Iowans to share their experiences and thoughts regarding the Iowa National Guard in the wake of proposed cuts.

Braley has been a consistent advocate for Iowa's National Guard. In February, Braley sent a letter to US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel outlining his opposition to cuts to Iowa's National Guard forces as the Department of Defense looks to reduce spending. 

In December of 2012 he joined Rep. Tom Latham in efforts to block cuts to the Des Moines Air National Guard.

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Governor Quinn Announces Illinois Veterans Affairs Director Selected White House Champion of Change PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Katie Hickey   
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 09:58

Army Veteran Erica Borggren One of 10 Honored Nationwide

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) Director Erica Borggren has been named a Woman Veteran Champion of Change by the White House. Director Borggren’s recognition was for her leadership at IDVA in creating the Illinois Joining Forces public-private network to assist Illinois servicemembers, veterans and their families.

“Our Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs is doing excellent work for Illinois veterans and making a difference under Erica Borggren’s leadership,” Governor Quinn said. “Serving our heroes is one of my top priorities and that’s why we’ve made Illinois the most veteran-friendly state in America. Erica is a great example of what our veterans bring back to our communities when they leave the service.”

Director Borggren and top leaders in the Illinois Departments of Veterans Affairs and Military Affairs helped create Illinois Joining Forces (IJF), a public-private network of nearly 200 military and veteran-serving organizations working together to create a “no wrong door” system of support for Illinois servicemembers, veterans and their families. IJF member organizations work together online at, where they post services and events and refer veteran clients to each other. In addition, they continue their mission in person through IJF Working Groups, where they identify gaps in services and work to bridge those gaps.

The Women Veteran Champion of Change event will take place on Tuesday, March 25 at the White House. The event will be live streamed at, and will include panel discussions featuring all ten of the honorees.

With the Champions of Change ( program, the White House recognizes everyday Americans who are making positive changes in their communities. This Champions event will honor women veteran leaders who have contributed to our nation’s business, public and community service sectors.

Earlier in 2013, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and its IJF network were recognized with the Abraham Lincoln Pillars of Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at a special White House Ceremony. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA) President Clyde Marsh presented the award to Borggren on Feb. 11 during the 2014 NASDVA Mid-Winter Conference.

The Abraham Lincoln Pillar of Excellence Award is a new program by the VA in partnership with NASDVA. The goal of the award is to recognize those state agencies that engage on the three VA Priority Goals – eliminating claims backlogs, ending veteran homelessness, and improving access to VA benefits and services. The award also highlights those states for Innovative Excellence for programs or services to veterans.

A Rhodes Scholar and West Point graduate, Borggren currently serves as the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. Besides IJF, under her leadership IDVA has also created a very successful Women Veterans Program and Veteran Entrepreneurship Program. Prior to her leadership in Governor Quinn’s administration, she served as a speechwriter for General David Petraeus in Iraq and as a company commander in Korea.

Governor Quinn has made commitment to veterans, servicemembers and their families a top priority throughout his career. He led the Illinois Warrior Assistance Program that helps veterans transition back to their daily lives and the Welcome Home Heroes program which helps support Illinois servicemembers seeking home ownership. As Lieutenant Governor, Quinn championed the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund Act, which established a fund to provide grants to families of Illinois National Guard members and Illinois residents serving in the U.S. Armed Forces Reserve components who are called to active duty. These grants help servicemembers and their families with the costs of food, housing, utilities and other expenses when the wage-earner has left civilian employment for active military duty. The fund has distributed more than $15.1 million to 29,625 Illinois military families to assist with the financial burden at home.

For more information about these and other programs for our veterans, visit or call the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs at (217) 782-6641 or (312) 814-2460.


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