Legislation will help create jobs for returned Iowa National Guard Troops and other veterans

Waterloo, IA - This week, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) is introducing a bill to cut payroll taxes for businesses that hire unemployed veterans. The Combat Veterans Back to Work Act provides employers with a payroll tax break if they hire recently returned veterans, including members of the Iowa National Guard, who are unemployed.  Currently, approximately 600 Iowa Guardsmen, who recently returned from Afghanistan, are looking for work. 

"After their distinguished service in Afghanistan, we should do all we can to help members of the Iowa Guard find employment in their civilian lives," said Rep. Braley.  "This legislation will support our friends and neighbors in the Iowa National Guard, Reserves, and veterans who have recently returned home and face a difficult job market." 

"Thousands of Iowans have returned home after serving overseas this past year.  Now we must support them and bring their experience and talent back into the Iowa workforce."

The Combat Veterans Back to Work Act will exempt small businesses from paying the employer's share of the Social Security tax for up to one year through December 31, 2012 - if they hire current members of the National Guard or Reserve, or any veteran who has returned from deployment within the last 18 months and is currently unemployed. Employers who keep eligible employees on the payroll for 52 consecutive weeks will receive an additional $1,000 tax credit.

Congressman Braley has worked closely with the Iowa National Guard throughout his time in Congress.  Last week, he met with Iowa National Guard leaders and their partners at Camp Dodge to discuss employment initiatives for returning Iowa service members. In 2010, he secured long-overdue back pay for nearly 650 members of the Iowa National Guard and over 22,000 National Guard troops nationwide.  Prior to that, Congressman Braley led an investigation that resulted in nearly 3,500 members of the Iowa National Guard receiving their GI Bill education benefits, after these benefits were initially denied by the Pentagon.                      

Congressman Braley currently serves on the U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs, and as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.

This week, Congressman Braley will hold events in Cedar Rapids (Tuesday), Des Moines (Wednesday) and the Quad Cities (Thursday) to inform Iowans of this legislation.

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Three New Laws Support Servicemembers and Their Families

SPRINGFIELD - August 21, 2011. As part of his ongoing commitment to servicemembers and their families, Governor Pat Quinn today signed three laws that will protect Veterans and support military families.

"Our servicemembers are the heart and soul of Illinois," Governor Quinn said. "Whether they are returning home from service or defending our country overseas, we want them to feel confident that they and their families are taken care of back home." 

Sponsored by Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) and Sen. David Koehler (D-Pekin), House Bill 2870 will provide schools with another way to identify students with active duty parents and provide much-needed counseling and support. The new law requires K-12 public and private schools to allow students to voluntarily identify themselves as having parents actively serving in the armed forces. This allows the school to provide counseling and support for students whose parents are currently or will soon be deployed.

"Governor Quinn stands with Veterans and their families on military issues, and we will continue to fight together to improve life for our Veterans," Rep. Chapa LaVia said. "This new law will help make sure that we are giving the children of servicemembers the support they need."

House Bill 3255 allows Illinois State Police troopers, Illinois National Guard members and volunteer nonprofits serving small populations to apply to a fee wavier for Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training. Sponsored by Rep. Donald Moffitt (R-Galesburg) and Sen. Carole Pankau (R-Bloomingdale), this bill will encourage more first responders, including state troopers and members of the National Guard, to complete additional emergency medical training and become certified EMTs, which will also improve unit safety when servicemembers are deployed.

"Many times, troopers, volunteer ambulance members, volunteer firefighters or members of the National Guard are the first to reach a victim of an accident, disaster or other situation involving life-threatening injuries." Rep. Moffitt said "The more emergency medical training they have, the better they will be able to help until paramedics or doctors can take over."

Sponsored by Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D-Orland Park), Senate Bill 1672 requires all pension funds and retirement systems to comply with the federal Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (HEART ACT). This law ensures that additional tax and pension benefits are granted to Illinois servicemembers who are absent from work due to duty in uniformed military service.

The new laws all take effect immediately.

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Washington, DC - Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) will hold a press conference announcing the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act.   This legislation, which will be introduced tomorrow, provides a payroll tax exemption to employers who hire unemployed members of the Iowa National Guard, who recently returned from Afghanistan, as well as other combat veterans.

***TUESDAY, AUGUST 23***

WHAT: Rep. Braley to hold press conference announcing the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act

WHEN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2:30-3:00 PM CDT

WHERE: Veterans Memorial Building

50 2nd Avenue Bridge

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401-1225

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First Army:

Sharpening The Blade, BlackAnthem.com - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/oDtoR
Scott Curtis, First Army Public Affairs, reports on First Army's 93rd
Birthday celebration. Highlights include historical synopsis and a look at
the future for First Army.
Outlook: positive
Next Step: none
Splash: 8.6K

1st Cav. Div. enlisted leader makes tour of southern Iraq, BlackAnthem.com -
Aug 17, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/t6ey1
Spc. Sharla Lewis, 3rd AAB PAO, 1st Cav. Div., reports on 1st Cavalry
Division's Command Sgt. Maj. Isaia Vimoto and his trip to Iraq to tour
brigade areas of responsibility, build morale and familiarize himself with
the troops and their mission in support of Operation New Dawn.  Vimoto spent
his entire career with light infantry units, most recently as the command
sergeant major for First Army Division West at Fort Hood.
Outlook: positive
Next Step: none
Splash: 8.6K

It's Friday! Time to goof off!, The Quad-City Times - Aug 19, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/pfXxi
Columnist Bill Wundram posted an editorial regarding the kindness shown to
Maj. Leah Kenfield, Army Sustainment Command at Rock Island Arsenal, when an
unknown individual paid for her items while in the checkout line at
Davenport's SuperTarget because they noticed she was wearing a Soldier
uniform and wanted to show their support and appreciation. Her husband, Lt.
Col. Mike Kenfield, is director of public affairs for First Army at the
Arsenal
Outlook: positive
Next Step: none
Splash: 46K

Rock Island Arsenal, IL:

No Rock Arsenal specific articles/events found.

Reserve Component Mob/Demob/News:

Congressional staffers 'taste' life of Soldiers, Army.mil - Aug 17, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/PasjS

200th MP leads readiness training conference, FortMeadesoundoff.com - Aug
18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/uCkzo

'I couldn't be more proud:' Commanders leads 185 3rd ACR troops home from
Iraq, Killeen Daily Herald - Aug 17, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/a0S9y

Support for troops struggling with ptsd, WHBF.com - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/SG6s6

North Carolina Army Guard helicopter crew rescue teen after 50 foot fall,
National Guard News - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/qmjqs

Community Sends Off Local Soldiers, KAAL.com - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/hpzkv

Sumrall Vietnam vet receives Silver Star, WLOX.com - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/VR4r8

Service members respond to worst-case scenario during Vibrant Response 12
exercise, Global Secutrity.org - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/0WDOu

Officials: National Guard's role in Eastern Europe vital, Stars and Stripes
- Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/etMXT

U.S. Army/DoD:

Army vet with PTSD sought the treatment he needed by taking hostages - but
got jail instead, Stars and Stripes - Aug 18, 2011
Link: http://goo.gl/JroVB

Senator slams DoD on suicide prevention efforts Army Times - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/1VDvL

New Fort Belvoir military hospital primed and ready, officials say The
Washington Post - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/8ecZk

After trauma, teaching hope
CNN - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/17JwI

CA Assembly approves limits to funeral protests Army Times (AP) - Aug 18,
2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/1i9kb

What a deal: Work 20 years, get lifetime pension pay; still, military career
not for everyone The Washington Post (AP) - Aug 19, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/LjsiH

Judge bars comments in Killeen plot case San Antonio Express-News - Aug 18,
2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/2UlsB

US Army: No known case of body armor failing AP - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/zqrS0

MTSU, U.S. Army enter unique partnership The Daily News Journal - Aug 18,
2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/siEFx

GCV moves ahead, but more studies ordered Army Times - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/cJZ4N

U.S. Army Official Rips 'Glacial' Acquisition Process Defense News - Aug 18,
2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/fx6Wp

America's Robot Army: Technology to Save Lives in Afghanistan ABC News - Aug
18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/4h4If

BAE, General Dynamics in U.S. Army development deals Reuters - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/jNSEy

U.S. military says 'green' means security UPI - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/sFyPI

US troops weather rockets, recoilless rifles, and grenades in Sabari The
Long War Journal - Aug 19, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/f0nWc

Elmendorf-Richardson gate standoff ends
Army Times (AP) - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/6vNZ7

Identity of Arlington Cemetery remains might rest on Army search for girl in
photo The Washington Post - Aug 18, 2011
Link:  http://goo.gl/1AXo2

Roundtable discussion focuses on ways to get Guard members back to work

Johnston, IA - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) met with Iowa National Guard leaders and their partners at Camp Dodge to discuss employment initiatives for returning Iowa service members.  Representatives from the Iowa Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve agency, Iowa Workforce Development, and Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs participated in the briefing.

"This is a critical moment to support our friends and neighbors in the Iowa National Guard, Reserves, and other military branches," said Rep. Braley.  "Thousands of Iowans have returned home after serving overseas this past year.  Now we must support them and bring their experience and talent back into the Iowa workforce."

"In the coming months, I will take additional steps to create job opportunities for returning service members and incentives for employers who hire service members.  Let's get to work, and make sure that these brave Iowans have access to job training, educational opportunities, and good-paying jobs."

Congressman Braley has worked closely with the Iowa National Guard throughout his time in Congress.  Last year, he secured long-overdue back pay for nearly 650 members of the Iowa National Guard and over 22,000 National Guard troops nationwide.  Prior to that, Congressman Braley led an investigation that resulted in nearly 3,500 members of the Iowa National Guard receiving their GI Bill education benefits, after these benefits were initially denied by the Pentagon.

Congressman Braley currently serves on the U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs, and as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.

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SPRINGFIELD, IL (08/10/2011)(readMedia)-- Seven members of the Illinois Air National Guard's 183rd Fighter Wing, 217th Engineering Installation Squadron in Springfield were awarded Bronze Star Medals while serving in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from September 2010 through July 2011. Six of the Airmen received their medals during a ceremony at the 183rd Fighter Wing Aug. 6. The seventh Airmen will receive his medal at a later date. All seven members were key decision makers who had pivotal roles not only for themselves but for all 80 combined unit members who deployed.

"Receiving the Bronze Star is quite an honor," said Lt. Col. James Loux of Springfield, the 217th commander. "It represents the challenges our members faced from a long deployment and a deployment to a combat area."

Loux received a Bronze Star Medal for his service as the deployed commander of 80 Airmen during their first mobilization as Joint Expeditionary Tasked Airmen.

The Joint Expeditionary Tasking supporting the U.S. Army was comprised of Air Force members from three different Air National Guard units from around the United States. The team formed a cohesive group of engineers, cable and electronics teams and management teams based out of Bagram and Kandahar Airfields in Afghanistan. The primary mission while deployed was to install the centralized, strategic fiber optic network at 15 sites in support of the Technical Control Facility program. In addition, the team worked on various communication projects, including both engineering and installations, at more than 27 forward operating bases in Afghanistan.

Capt. Christopher Treff, of Mascoutah, received a Bronze Star Medal for his service as the lead engineer for all northern tier forward operating bases. He designed five technical control projects and more than 20 outside plant projects. He provided engineering expertise to the command staff for all projects within the combined joint operations area.

Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Keyfauver, of McHenry, received a Bronze Star Medal for his service in managing more than 90 communication projects from engineering to installation at more

than 20 separate sites in Afghanistan. The joint effort included teams of two to 10 Army technicians at various sites.

Senior Master Sgt. James Wynn, of Chicago, received a Bronze Star Medal for his service as the team chief for the first technical facility installation. He led a nine-man team who completed an $8 million project at Spin Buldak, a forward operating base in Afghanistan. In addition he installed 14,000 feet of copper and 46,000 feet of fiber, bringing 17 buildings online to the Afghan network.

Master Sgt. William Barnes, of Riverton, received a Bronze Star Medal for his service in deploying all 80 members in to and out of the theater of operations. He moved equipment, personnel and resources to 27 locations within Afghanistan. His efforts required constant communication with the host nation trucking, military and civilian airlift, and heavy equipment units and operators. He successfully shipped more than 2 million pounds of material, tools, equipment, vehicles and personnel within theater of operations.

Master Sgt. Scott Reynolds, of Chatham, received a Bronze Star Medal for his service as the supply material manager. He provided all logistical support for more than 50 members who deployed from Kandahar, Afghanistan. He ensured all members were fully outfitted, equipped and billeted.

Master Sgt. Michael Brennecke of Fenton, Mo., will receive a Bronze Star Medal for his service in support of the logistics management team. He was key in the engineering of 23 C4 infrastructure projects throughout the theater of operations. Brennecke will receive his medal at a later date since he was unable to attend the ceremony.

Under Loux's command, the unit completed more than 90 command and control communications projects at 27 locations throughout Afghanistan.

Individual photos of each Airman are available upon request. Please email ngilstaffpao@ng.army.mil.

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Shaun Kerr, 183rd Fighter Wing/(Left to right) Master Sgt. Scott Reynolds of Chatham, Master Sgt. William Barnes of Riverton, Senior Master Sgt. James Wynn of Chicago and Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Keyfauver of McHenry, stand beside the 183rd Fighter Wing Commander Col. Michael Meyer, just before receiving their Bronze Star Medals during a presentation, Aug. 6 at the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield.

Permalink: http://readme.readmedia.com/Seven-183rd-Fighter-Wing-217th-Engineering-Installation-Airmen-Receive-Bronze-Star-Medals/2934416

QUINCY, IL (08/10/2011)(readMedia)-- WHO:

• Illinois Army National Guardsman 1st Sgt. John DuPont of Quincy, with Company C, 634th Brigade Support Battalion in Springfield.

WHAT:

• Visitation, funeral and gravesite services

WHEN/WHERE:

• Visitation services, Aug. 11, 4 to 7 p.m., Madison Park Christian Church, 4700 Broadway, Quincy.

• Funeral services, Aug. 12, 10 a.m., Madison Park Christian Church, 4700 Broadway, Quincy.

• Gravesite services, Aug. 12, immediately following the funeral service, Illinois Veterans Home, 1707 N. 12th St., Quincy.

WHY:

• As an Illinois Army National Guard medic, DuPont deployed overseas twice and served on several shorter medical missions.

• DuPont deployed to Iraq with Company C, 205th Medical Battalion in North Riverside from 2005 to 2006 and to Kuwait with the 708th Medical Company in North Riverside from 2007 to 2008.

• He also served in Germany, Nicaragua, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Guyana for medical missions that were each approximately a month long.

 

For a high-resolution photo, please contact the Public Affairs Office via email at ngilstaffpao@ng.army.mi

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Permalink: http://readme.readmedia.com/Memorial-Services-for-Illinois-Army-National-Guard-Soldier/2932552

MOLINE, Ill - Lt. Gen. Bednarek, First Army commanding general believes business and Army leaders share some of the same goals and ideals, and this was the focus of his presentation to a group of community leaders at the Quad City chamber's Executive Club meeting at the i Wireless Center Aug 5.

"We are in the same business in developing and shaping our community and the Nation's future leaders, regardless of profession" Bednarek explained. "Grounded in the strength of our core values with dignity and respect; a strong work ethic and a belief in what we stand for. We build coach, train and educate teams to do a job and accomplish a mission."

"You and I know that as we train, build and strengthen the core of our workforce," Bednarek continued. "Whether it's a Soldier in the Army or a worker in a warehouse downtown, we are building stronger citizens, and ultimately a stronger America."

Recently, members of Iowa's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, were demobilized after returning from Afghanistan. "Great Americans, such as the Red Bulls served nine tough months serving the nation and protecting its national interests," said Bednarek. "Hiring vets is a good will act and good business."

Recalling a recent visit to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, Lt. Gen. Bednarek asked a Soldier what he did while he was participating in a training exercise. "Sir, I work at Lowes," he responded.

The First Army welcome event was hosted by the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce to provide the area the opportunity to learn about their mission and how they will tie to their new community.

First Army is a multi-component command that serves as U.S. Forces Command's executive agent for providing training support to reserve component forces. The First Army mission is to mobilize, train, deploy and demobilize Reserve Component units at installations throughout the continental United States. 

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Army Veteran and Former Senior Staff Member for Gen. David H. Petraeus Erica Borggren Appointed Director of the Department of Veterans' Affairs

CHICAGO - August 5, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today appointed Erica Borggren as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. An Illinois native and Army Veteran, Borggren previously served as a senior staff member for Army Gen. David H. Petraeus. She replaces fellow Iraq war Veteran Dan Grant, who is leaving to pursue a post-graduate degree. Today's action is the latest in a series of appointments the Governor is making as he continues to fulfill his commitment to serving Illinois' Veterans.

"Time and again, Erica Borggren has shined in the armed forces," Governor Quinn said. "Her outstanding service makes her an excellent choice to lead the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs as it fulfills its mission to serve the brave men and women who have sacrificed for this country. I thank Dan Grant for his hard work and am confident this department will continue to excel in its achievements. "

Borggren served as a senior staffer and speechwriter for Gen. Petraeus during his time as Commanding General of multi-national forces in Iraq and as head of United States Central Command throughout the Middle East. For her service in these missions, Borggren was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star as well as the Joint Service Achievement and Iraq Campaign Medals. She returned home to Illinois from the Middle East in 2009.

"I am deeply grateful to Governor Quinn for this opportunity to serve those who have served our country in uniform," Borggren said. "As a daughter of Illinois and a veteran who is committed to a life of public service, I am thrilled to have the chance to work with and for Illinois' Veteran community."

Prior to her time in the Middle East, Borggren served in the United States Army Medical Service Corps in Yongsan, South Korea, rising as an officer in the 18th Medical Command to a Company Commander at the 121 Combat Support Hospital, for which she was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

Following her graduation as valedictorian from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, she was designated as a Rhodes Scholar and the recipient of a Truman Scholarship. She later earned a master's degree in comparative social policy from Oxford University. Borggren currently resides with her husband Erik, a West Point graduate and chaplain candidate in the Illinois National Guard, and their son Ethan in Chicago. 

Under Dan Grant's leadership, the Department of Veterans' Affairs spearheaded legislation to improve benefits for Veterans, including the Illinois Higher Education Veterans Act and the Illinois Educational Opportunity for Military Children Act. Grant was successful in significantly increasing census counts at the LaSalle and Manteno Veterans' Homes, and he helped clear the way for the Chicago Veterans' Home. Grant also administered more than $4 million in grants from Veterans Cash lottery ticket and was key to the establishment of Veterans courts across Illinois.

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Annual Observance Will Honor and Remember Illinois Servicemembers Wounded or Killed in Action

CHICAGO - August 5, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation establishing Aug. 7 as Purple Heart Day in Illinois. House Bill 1537 designates Aug. 7 as an annual day to honor and remember those in the military who have been wounded or killed in battle and honored with a Purple Heart. Since the legislation will not take effect until 2012, Governor Quinn also issued a proclamation to ensure that observance of Purple Heart Day will begin in 2011.

"Men and women of the U.S. military, especially those that sacrificed life or limb, deserve the honor and respect of all Americans," Governor Quinn said. "I am proud to remember our Veterans by adding this ceremonial day for those who bravely served and protected the United States."

"The Purple Heart is an honor available to all, but desired by none," Daniel Finn said, State Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration still awarded to members of the United States military. It was established by General George Washington on August 7, 1782. Initially called the Badge of Military Merit, the Purple Heart is a decoration awarded to any member of the Armed Services who has been wounded or killed in action. Since World War I, nearly two million Purple Hearts have been awarded to combat veterans, including at least 42,000 from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

House Bill 1537 was sponsored by Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) and Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). It takes effect Jan 1.

A copy of the proclamation is attached.

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