Moline, Illinois – Today, the 237th Birthday of the United States Army, Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17), a member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), announced that he will be joined in Illinois on Saturday June 16 by HASC Chairman Buck McKeon (CA-25). The Congressmen will tour the Rock Island Arsenal Saturday morning, and in the afternoon will visit the Hero Street Memorial in Silvis, holding a press availability there from 2:00-2:30pm.
“I’m honored to have Chairman McKeon joining me to visit Hero Street and the hard-working men and women of the Rock Island Arsenal, especially in light of the Arsenal’s approaching 150th birthday,” Schilling said. “Our area has long been vital to America’s national security, be it through our brave sons and daughters who risk their lives to preserve our freedoms like those from Hero Street, or through our defense manufacturing capabilities like those found at the Arsenal. I look forward to welcoming Chairman McKeon to our area, and to showing him all we have to offer.”
Renamed Hero Street USA in 1967, Silvis’ Second Street was formed when a group of families were forced to move from the Rock Island Railroad where they had been living in boxcars to a short dirt path a mere block and a half long. At the start of World War II, 45 young men and women from the 35 tight-knit families of Second Street heard the call to serve their country and volunteered to join the United States Armed Forces to preserve our freedom. When the Korean and Vietnam Wars broke out, even more enlisted and served as soldiers. In all, nearly 100 residents of this street’s 35 families helped defend our country and our allies.
Eight of these brave soldiers from Second Street died for our country in these conflicts, potentially the most combat deaths of any single street in the United States. Their names are Tony Pompa, Frank Sandoval, Joseph Sandoval, William Sandoval, Claro Solis, Peter Macias, Joe Gomez, and Johnny Munos. It was in honor of their sacrifice that the name of Second Street was changed to “Hero Street” in 1967. Four years later a memorial park was built on Hero Street, and in 2007 a monument was added.
On July 29, 2011, Schilling introduced H.Res.381, a resolution expressing the House of Representatives' support for Hero Street Memorial Park. His bipartisan resolution has been cosponsored by Congressmen Donald Manzullo (IL-16), Bruce Braley (IA-01), and Dave Loebsack (IA-02). Companion legislation has been introduced in the United States Senate by Illinois Senator Mark Kirk (R).
Schilling has worked on a bipartisan basis to advance Rock Island Arsenal priorities. Schilling and Loebsack in last year’s defense bill included a landmark provision lifting the cap on the number of public-private partnerships arsenals are able to enter into, maximizing the possibility for private-sector job growth at installations like the Rock Island Arsenal. They also included in last year’s bill the provision designating the Rock Island Arsenal as a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence, further improving its ability to enter into public-private partnerships, provide for our men and women in combat, and strengthen the Arsenal’s core skills and manufacturing abilities. Both provisions were signed into law as part of the comprehensive Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
In the Fiscal Year 2013 House conference report, Schilling and Loebsack built on their successes from last year and included language ensuring that the Department of Defense recognizes in its overarching national security strategy the critical manufacturing work done at facilities like the Rock Island Arsenal. It also reviews how to maintain those skills and therefore the employees doing the work. They also partnered with area senators in introducing the bipartisan and bicameral Army Arsenal Strategic Workload Enhancement Act, which would help to keep arsenals like Rock Island warm and employees’ skills sharp by requiring that the Army produce a plan to ensure they are properly workloaded.
“Chairman McKeon’s support in advancing our area’s defense priorities in Washington has been invaluable,” Schilling said. “I appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Armed Services Committee, and look forward to continuing to work with the Chairman and our colleagues to preserve our national security and provide for our warfighters and their families.”