SPRINGFIELD — A task force aimed at preventing suicide deaths among veterans will begin meeting next month in Illinois, according to the Associated Press.
Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego and Democratic state Sen. Tom Cullerton of Villa Park say the group will address suicide prevention, mental health and unemployment.
The federal veteran's affairs department reports an average of 22 veterans commit suicide every day nationwide. Veterans say programs are needed to create a greater sense of community following their active duty.
The task force is scheduled to meet five times in different locations across the state starting in Springfield on May 2. The group plans to submit a report to the Illinois General Assembly at the end of the year.
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To better honor the families and loved ones of the servicemen and women who gave their lives in service of their country, state Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, has co-sponsored legislation to create a Gold Star Family Day
“As an army combat veteran, I’ve seen how profoundly the loss of a service member affects families throughout our state,” Costello said. “Designating a day to honor and observe their loss is the least we can do to offer thanks for the sacrifice their loved one made.”
Costello co-sponsored House Bill 4389, which establishes the day after Gold Star Mothers’ Day as Gold Star Family Day in Illinois. Currently, Gold Star Mothers’ Day, which honors the loss endured by mothers of servicemen and women killed in combat, is observed the last Sunday in September. Costello notes that while the mothers who raised our veterans deserve to be honored in their own right, family members of the men and women who gave their lives also deserve to be recognized.
“When a loved one makes the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms, the lives of every family member is changed forever,” Costello said. “By creating a Gold Star Family Day, we’re able to recognize the sacrifices made by all family members left behind by our military heroes.”
Today the U.S. Department of Defense honors 1.82 million children who belong to a military family by encouraging people to wear purple on what is being proclaimed Purple Up Day #PurpleUp. To obtain a free downloadable poster, click on this website. To find out more, go to the Twitter site: #KidsServeToo#MonthoftheMilitaryChild
The Air Force calls it the Counter-Electronics Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP, intended to cripple enemy air defenses with directed-energy beams coming off a low-flying cruise missile, according to DefenseTech.
While traditional counter-electronics warfare weapons such as the Navy’s EA-18G Growler, a version of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, seek to jam enemy radar, the CHAMP is meant to destroy them. The Air Force talked up the program at the “Directed Energy to D.C. Exhibition” in the Pentagon courtyard Tuesday.
At Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, the Air Force Research Laboratory has taken a Boeing AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missile and rigged it to have the motor feed a high-power microwave to pulse directed energy beams through an antenna to carry out a “functional kill of adversaries’ military electronic and communications systems.”
“It only works now off a B-52,” the bomber that currently carries the AGM-86 cruise missile, said Lt. Nicholas Quartermont of the Air Force Research Laboratory, but the service is also working on adapting the CHAMP system for weapons that can be launched by the F/A-18 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.