ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, ILL.  - First Army will uncase its organizational colors Thursday, July 21 at 9 a.m. at First Army headquarters (Bldg. 68) signifying the official arrival of the unit here.

First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek and Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse L. Andrews Jr., will uncase the unit's colors in a time-honored ceremony attended by invited VIPs and guests from the Arsenal and the Quad-Cities community.


*************EDITORS/NEWS DIRECTORS*****************

There will be a brief media availability with Lt. Gen. Bednarek after the uncasing ceremony.

Arsenal Access instructions:

-- Thu, Jul 21, Uncasing ceremony:  meet at Moline Gate vehicle registration area (fenced area to the right of gate)  NOT  LATER  THAN 8:30 a.m.

-- Fri, Jul 22, Organization Run:  meet at Moline Gate vehicle registration area (fenced area to the right of gate)  NOT  LATER  THAN 6:15 a.m.

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - Victory on the battlefield depends principally
on swift and coordinated troop movement. In the past, Soldiers followed the
cadence and instruction of the color guard, led by the color sergeant.

With hundreds or thousands of men involved in the heat of battle, the
significance of the color sergeant and his ability to carry the flag, rally
the troops and fearlessly face death cannot be exaggerated.

This was especially true during the Civil War. Because of their strategic
value (and their visibility), the color sergeant was a ready target.
Although normally protected by six corporals, it remained a very dangerous
assignment. Yet the position and title held special significance amongst the
troops, and it was considered a high honor usually reserved for the bravest
and strongest soldiers. The flags they carried represented the reputation of
the unit, and were not to be surrendered.

During the Battle of the Wilderness (fought between Ulysses S. Grant and
Robert E. Lee) in Virginia, both sides suffered heavy casualties, including
a Union color sergeant during the close, intense fighting. Sgt. Charles E.
Morse saw his color sergeant perish, virtually surrounded by the enemy.
Morse rushed to the fallen Soldier, grabbed the colors and raised them into
the air. He continued the rallying cry through the entire battle, earning
him the Medal of Honor. Many other Soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor
for similar action during the Civil War.

Because of the extreme danger and improvements in firearm accuracy, the Army
abolished the rank of color sergeant. However, the need for a color guard
did not diminish, as the drills and ceremonies Soldiers participate in today
share the values of the past. Each regiment had two flags, the U.S. and
organizational colors.  To ensure the men knew the flag of their regiment,
both flags were carried before them during drills and ceremonies.  From this
practice developed the modern color guard.

Now the honor of color sergeant belongs to the unit's senior enlisted
member, the "keeper of the colors." In garrison, the colors are normally
kept at the headquarters. Down range, the colors are normally displayed from
reveille to retreat in front of the commanding officer's tent or command
post. As units deploy their colors are "cased" before they move, and
subsequently "uncased" once in the field, signifying readiness to conduct
combat operations.

The same ceremony takes place when headquarters move. The Pentagon's 2005
Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process directed First Army to close its
headquarters at Fort Gillem, Ga., and move to the Rock Island Arsenal.
"Right now our colors are not flying in front of First Army headquarters;
they are not on display in the building." said Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse L.
Andrews, Jr. "When we uncase the colors and put them on display, that means
the move is complete and First Army is officially conducting business on
Rock Island."

Andrews is First Army's keeper of the colors, a responsibility he takes very
seriously. "Our colors serve as a rallying point for all of the soldiers of
the unit; it is the heart and soul of our soldiers. I make sure that
wherever the commander is, the colors are always carried, presented and
displayed properly."

Andrews will uncase the organizational colors with the commander, Lt. Gen.
Mick Bednarek, July 21. The ceremony will highlight almost 100 years of rich
history, including

General John J. Pershing leading First Army troops into France in World War
I, to General Omar N. Bradley commanding First Army Soldiers on Normandy
Beach in WWII. That historical lineage continues today, training reserve and
active duty Soldiers for worldwide deployment.

During the uncasing ceremony the organizational color is unfurled, revealing
its battle streamers. The concept of battle streamers came to prominence
during the Civil War, when individual units embroidered the names of battles
in which they fought on their flag. An official system was adopted by the
Army in 1921.

"The battle streamers signify a historical representation of a unit's
participation in the battles and campaigns of American history and represent
the blood, sweat and tears of those who fought alongside the flag; it is
emblematic of the Esprit de Corps in the unit," Andrews said.

The ceremony itself is rather quick, but the historical importance is
evident. "As the commander and myself uncase the colors," Andrews continued,
"the message is of First Army Headquarters acknowledging responsibility as
the senior command team here, and we're ready to go to work, not only on
Rock Island, but to do our nation's will, which is continuing to train all
of our guard and reserve forces throughout the Army."

The "keeper of the colors" looks forward to working for First Army in a new

"I am very impressed with the level of community support our Soldiers, their
families and the headquarters has received," said Andrews. "I have seen
nothing but the potential for greatness in building a strong, positive
relationship between the communities in the Quad Cities and the First Army
team, and the warm reception our Soldiers and families received from the
Quad Cities has been unbelievable. We all look forward to working with them
in the future to make it even better."


GLEN CARBON, IL (07/19/2011)(readMedia)-- WHO:

• Illinois Army National Guard Military Funeral and Honors Team

• SPC Randall D. Dalton, killed in action July 24, 1971 in Cambodia during Vietnam War. Dalton has been deemed missing in action for the past 40 years.


• Return of Dalton's remains to his hometown, Glen Carbon

• Funeral with Full Military Honors featuring Military Honors from the Illinois National Guard, Illinois Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Patriot Guard Riders. There will also be a flyover with three Illinois Army National Guard helicopters


• Dalton's return: July 22, 12 p.m. at St. Louis Lambert Airport

• Dalton's funeral: July 24, 2 p.m. at Sunset Hill Cemetery in Glen Carbon

**Both events are open to the public**


• After Dalton was shot down in an OH-6A Cayuse helicopter in 1971, the search and rescue team was only able to extract the pilot due to enemy fire. When the team came back the next day, the helicopter had be stripped and two crew members, one being Dalton, were missing.

• On Sept. 11, 1989 the Socialist Republic of Vietnam repatriated three boxes of human remains to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) laboratory at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.

• On Jan. 18, 2011, DNA testing positively identified those remains were Dalton's.

• Dalton will be the first Illinois Soldier killed in action during the Vietnam War to receive a funeral with full military honors by the Illinois Army National Guard Funeral and Honors team.

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Members questioncost savings as Army awaits task force recommendations

Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) and the bipartisan delegation that represents the Rock Island Arsenal made clear to General Ann Dunwoody, the Commanding General of the Army Materiel Command, that any proposal to close or relocate Rock Island Arsenal's Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (JMTC) would be met with strong resistance in Congress. In a meeting in Washington, Dunwoody reassured the Iowa and Illinois delegation that the Army currently has no plans to close the JMTC, but could not disclose the work of an internal task force that was rumored to have been considering JMTC closure as a cost-savings measure.

Members of Congress in today's meeting - U.S. Representatives Bruce Braley (D-IA-01), Bobby Schilling (R-IL-17), and Dave Loebsack (D-IA-02), U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and representatives from Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)'s office - vowed to continue working with General Dunwoody and the Army to secure the long-term future of JMTC at Rock Island Arsenal.

"The Rock Island Arsenal is crucial to the Quad City economy," said Braley. "There are 1,700 jobs on the line at this facility and none of us are willing to jeopardize them. I'm confident that we made that clear to General Dunwoody, and I was reassured by her praise for the Arsenal and its workers. I will continue to monitor this process and work to make sure that we find ways to save and cut back in places where it makes sense ? but not at this crucial facility."

"General Dunwoody understands this delegation's commitment to defending the livelihood of the highly skilled men and women who make up the Rock Island Arsenal," said Durbin.  "It is important that every level of government work to find savings and efficiencies within system, but I firmly believe that closing or relocating the JMTC would be the wrong way to do it.  I am glad we were alerted to this task force early in the process so that we can continue to keep a close eye on it as it moves forward."

"As the Defense Department's only integrated metal manufacturer, the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center at the Rock Island Arsenal is essential to American troops abroad and to the Quad Cities community," Senator Kirk said.  "Given the importance of the JMTC to arms and armor production, as well as to veteran employment, I firmly believe in defending its position and purpose."

"We made clear to General Dunwoody that any proposal to move the work that is currently so expertly done at the Rock Island Arsenal JMTC to other facilities would contribute nothing to the Army's savings target, but would undermine the unique skills and capabilities that have served our war fighters.  We'll have to keep an eye on this task force, but I was pleased to hear the General affirm that the Rock Island Arsenal is a national treasure and express support for our delegation's efforts to ensure more stable workload in the future," Grassley said.

"Though today's meeting was productive, it is of utmost important that we as a delegation remain vigilant as the task force continues its work," Schilling said. "The Rock Island Arsenal is a national treasure and is of huge economic importance to the Quad Cities. I will continue working to ensure that work or functions at the JMTC and the Rock Island Arsenal are neither reduced nor eliminated as thisprocess continues."

"This was an important opportunity to sit down with General Dunwoody and the Arsenal delegation todiscuss the Army Material Command's review and reiterate that we will fight any efforts to close or reduce work at the JMTC or RIA to ensure jobs stay in the Quad Cities," said Loebsack. "I also believe it was critical that we discussed the need to develop a proactive strategy to keep work at the Arsenal as thedrawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan continue.  The good jobs, economic development and contributions to our national security provided by the Arsenal and its workforce must be protected."

General Dunwoody wastasked by Army Secretary John McHugh to find savings and efficiencies within the Army Materiel Command as part of an Army-wide review to find $3 billion in savings.  A task force within the Army Materiel Command was asked to perform a review and report its findings to General Dunwoody, likely by the end of the summer.

According to the members in today's meeting, it would be difficult to find savings by closing JMTC as the facility is funded through the Army's Working Capital Fund which derives most of its funding from sales revenue on its contracts, and not through regular congressional appropriations.  The members argued that the cost of moving or replicating the many unique capabilities at Rock Island Arsenal would be extensive.

The Rock Island Arsenal JMTC is a one-of-a-kind U.S. Army facility which manufactures critical equipment for our troops around the world. The more than 1,700 highly-skilled individuals - at least half of whom are veterans - employed at JMTC specialize in manufacturing artillery, armor, small arms, and mobile maintenance kits for use on the front lines. The JMTC, perhaps best known for howitzer production, operates the Army's only foundry and since 2003 has produced half of all armor for Army tactical wheeled vehicles. Rock Island Arsenal, the region's largest employer with a 8,600-person workforce anchored by the JMTC, injects $1.3 billion dollars directly into the local economy each year.

In May, after learning that an internal task force at the Army Materiel Command was considering relocating Rock Island Arsenal's JMTC, the bipartisan group of seven lawmakers from both the Illinois and Iowa Congressional Delegations called for a meeting with McHugh, as soon as possible to discuss their concerns about the cost associated with conducting such a move as well as the impact it would have on the Rock Island Arsenal.  A few weeks later, the members received assurances from McHugh that the Army currently has no plans to close the JMTC.  Today's meeting was in response to a similar request sent to General Dunwoody in May.


ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, ILL. - First Army will uncase its organizational colors Thursday, July 21 at 9 a.m. at First Army headquarters (Bldg. 68) signifying the official arrival of the unit here.

First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek and Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse L. Andrews Jr., will uncase the unit's colors in a time-honored ceremony attended by invited VIPs and guests from the Arsenal and the Quad-Cities community.

First Army's long-line of "firsts" includes the first Americans into Paris, the first to cross the Siegfried Line and first to reach the Rhine River in Germany during World War II.

Another "first" will take place on Friday, July 22, at 6:30 a.m., when Lt. Gen. Bednarek and Command Sgt. Maj. Andrews lead First Army Soldiers and Civilian employees on a 2.5 mile organizational run through the Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center. No other unit at the Arsenal has ever conducted a run of this type.

The run will start and end at Memorial Field, near the southeast corner of Rodman Ave. and East Street.

Media wishing to attend should contact First Army Public Affairs Media Relations, Rob Saxon at 309.782.9647 or ; or FA Director, Public Affairs, Lt. Col. Mike Kenfield 309.782.9200 or


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Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released a statement after participating in a joint-chamber forum with Holly Petraeus on alleged mortgage-related violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Holly Petraeus serves as the Director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Following the forum, Rep. Braley said:

"More and more, it seems our veterans are returning from combat only to face new challenges here at home. Whether it's an injury or a financial crisis caused by long deployments and time off from their civilian jobs, our veterans deserve to know that we're standing up for them. This forum identified serious problems and issues with the way banks and lending institutions currently treat our soldiers and their families - and we need to take action to protect them from this abuse. That's why I introduced the Protecting Veterans' Homes Act earlier this year. My bill will give our soldiers enough time to get back on their feet and get their finances in order before being kicked out of their homes. This is the least we can do for the brave men and women who serve this country."

In May, Rep. Braley introduced the Protecting Veterans' Homes Act to protect veterans from being foreclosed upon by big banks. The bill would give returning soldiers time to get their finances in order after long deployments. Currently, similar protections for veterans are set to expire in December of 2012. Rep. Braley's bill would make these protections permanent and would extend the grace period from nine months to a full year for veterans returning from deployments.


Washington, DC -- Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement after officials reported the death of Iowa National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Terryl L. Pasker of Cedar Rapids:

"My heart goes out to Terryl's family and friends. This is a tragedy and a difficult time for all Iowans and the entire National Guard family. Terryl, and all the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation, are in my thoughts and prayers at this time."


Thursday, July 14th at 6:00 p.m.

2500 Grant Street, Bettendorf, Iowa

Iowa Masonic Health Facilities

Community Center

(at top of the hill)

Are you a war-time veteran or widow of a war-time veteran? You may be eligible to receive a monthly Veteran's benefit.

David Woods, from the Office of Veteran's Affairs in Davenport, has graciously offered to lead this FREE, public meeting to inform Veterans of benefits that may be currently available to them, which may include rental assistance. Veterans may qualify for various benefit programs such as Aid & Attendance Benefits, Housebound Status Benefits, and others. David is also available to meet on an individual basis (via appointment) to assist veterans and their spouses in applying for veterans benefits. Attend this seminar to gather information that may assist you in obtaining the benefits that all Veterans deserve.

Public welcome. Refreshments will be served.

RSVP to Amy Wiyrick at 359-9171, Monday-Friday 8-4.


Sponsored by Masonic Village & Iowa Masonic Health Facilities

Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement on President Obama's change to the condolence letter policy for soldiers who commit suicide:

"I strongly support the President's change of the condolence letter policy, and I share his commitment to removing the stigma associated with the unseen wounds of war. I'll continue to fight for expanded access to mental health care for all current members of our armed services and the brave veterans who served this country."


In May, Hardee's launched its Stars for Troops in-store fundraiser benefiting Homes for Our Troops and USA Cares. Thanks to your readers' generous donations, we're happy to announce more than $1 million raised (by CKE Restaurants - Carl's Jr. and Hardee's) to assist military families and veterans.

To participate, restaurant guests donated $1 in support of military charities. For each $1 donation, guests received a commemorative "Stars for Troops" cut out to personalize and place on display in the restaurant; in addition, they received restaurant coupons valued at more than $10 to use toward future purchases.

More information about Stars for Troops is available here: Thanks again to you and your readers for the support - and for making this fundraiser a success. I look forward to sharing additional news with you about Hardee's future military fundraising efforts.