Vets & Soldiers

News and information about Veterans and Soldiers.

MAY 14, 2020

Chicago-Based Battalion Returns

Approximately 400 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers who served in the U.S. Central Command Area of responsibility returned home recently.

The 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment, headquartered in Chicago, with companies in Chicago, Bartonville, Elgin, Kankakee, and Woodstock, mobilized in July in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. 

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker welcomed the battalion home in his press conference. The Governor praised the “fundamental strength” of the battalion’s Soldiers and expressed his “deepest reverence and gratitude” to the 13,000 women and men of Illinois National Guard. He said the battalion added to a proud history that included the famous all African-American “Fighting” 8th Illinois Infantry Regiment.

Full story available in all 14 Southwest Messenger Press Newspapers


Polish Military Medical Personnel Join Illinois’ COVID-19 Response Efforts

Nine members of the Polish military’s Medical Corps recently left Chicago, where they supported the state’s response to COVID-19 from April 23 to May 2.

The Polish doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians recently treated COVID-19 patients in Italy and Poland. They visited Illinois as part of the Illinois National Guard’s State Partnership Program with the Polish military, one of the longest standing and the most successful such program in the United States.

Full story available in all 14 Messenger Newspapers


March 12, 2020

Veterans Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Vietnam War With ‘Alive Day’ Stories

(NAPS)—Army veteran Ron Hope was piloting a helicopter in Vietnam to extract a company of soldiers, when he was shot down. His left brachial plexus—the network of nerves that sends signals from the spinal cord to the arm and hand—was crushed. He also broke both legs, suffered compound fractures in six vertebrae and had third-degree burns covering 55 percent of his body.

The Texas native was honorably discharged from the Army and turned his focus to recovery. He went on to enroll at Tarleton State University and dedicated 40 years to serving his fellow veterans. Each year on July 15, Hope hosts what he calls a “celebration of life” gathering to mark his Alive Day and remember the battle buddies he lost. “I met a lot of good people in Vietnam. Unfortunately, I don’t have many of them left, but I still remember them and those we left behind.”

Alive Days are now common among veterans who have survived catastrophic wartime injuries, whether visible or invisible. These special days mark the anniversary when they almost died serving their country. Many Vietnam-era veterans have reached 50 years’ worth of Alive Days. DAV (Disabled American Veterans), a nonprofit charity that helps veterans get their benefits and services, honors those milestones through a new online series of articles and podcasts featuring Vietnam heroes.

Full story available in the Midlothian-Bremen Messenger


Veteran Bobby Barrera was severely injured in Vietnam but 50 years later, he celebrates being alive.

March 5, 2020

Chicago Native Patrols the Sea Aboard Warship

Four years ago, Petty Officer 3rd Class Devanté Jones joined the Navy for security and stability. He is now serving aboard USS Boxer.

“I felt like serving in the Navy would be able to put myself in a better position when I am ready to retire,” said Jones.

Jones is an aviation boatswain’s mate (handling) who is responsible for serving as a first responder and putting out fires.

“My favorite part about my job is the constant movement on the flight deck,” said Jones. “It is fast paced whereas other rates are enclosed between walls.”

Jones is a 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. College Prep graduate and native of Chicago.

According to Jones, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Chicago.

“Chicago taught me toughness,” said Jones. “Being on the flight deck you have to have tough skin.”

Full story available in all 14 Southwest Messenger Press Newspapers


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