Metro-East News

Bost accepting applications for veterans outreach coordinator job

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced Tuesday that he is accepting applications through the Wounded Warrior Program for a veterans outreach coordinator in his Belleville district office. Applicants must have served on active duty since September 11, 2001, have at least a 30 percent service-connected disability rating and fewer than 20 years of service.

“So many Southern Illinois veterans have risked life and limb for their country, and the firsthand experience of one of these heroes will be invaluable for our office,” Bost said. “As a Marine, I am excited to help put one of our veterans to work in continuing their selfless service to their community.”

The Wounded Warrior Program was established to create fellowships that provide employment opportunities within the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition to a current resume, applicants must submit a copy of their DD214 and a VA letter confirming that they have at least a 30 percent service-connected disability rating.

For more information on the position, click here.

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Military bands would see their tour dates slashed under a plan added to the House’s annual defense spending bill last week, according to Military Times.

The move, pushed by Arizona Republican Rep. Martha McSally, would limit all military ensemble performances at social functions outside official military duties. That would include dances, parties and dinners held mainly for entertainment purposes.

McSally, a retired Air Force colonel, called the move a way to “help us guide reprioritization of defense spending” at a time of fiscal constraints.

“I believe the bands play an important role,” she said during a House floor speech Thursday. “But in my 26 years in the military, I used to be at Christmas parties with wing commanders and generals, and we would have active-duty military entertaining us. It bothered me.

“For every dollar that is spent on our bands to entertain at social functions, that's a dollar we're not spending on national security and our troops and families.”

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As the war against the Islamic State in Iraq shows signs of fragile progress, U.S. military leaders there are preparing to ask President Obama for the one thing he is resisting above all else in his final months — the deployment of hundreds more U.S. troops, according to the Washington Post.

Military leaders directing operations against the terrorists in Iraq are readying requests for more troops and equipment they feel are needed to solidify and quicken progress toward defeating the Islamic State. These proposals have not yet been formally submitted to the White House for approval, and would first be vetted by the Pentagon leadership, but key generals have already told many in Washington they need hundreds more U.S. personnel to do the job right.

According to several senior military, congressional and administration officials, the generals on the ground, including Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, commander of coalition forces in Iraq, have been frustrated by what they see as arbitrary caps on troop levels set by the White House and a process that discourages them from directly asking for what they need. That may affect the numbers in the requests that are sent to Washington.

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A powerful USA Today story is packed with details of the heroism that will see Charles Kettles awarded the Medal of Honor at the White House come back clearly and quickly even five decades later.

The White House announced Tuesday afternoon that Kettles would receive the award from President Obama on July 18.

Kettles, 86, recalls the events of May 15, 1967: flying his UH-1 helicopter time after time after time into dizzying, withering fire to save the lives of dozens of soldiers ambushed by North Vietnamese troops in the Song Tau Cau river valley; nursing the shot-up, overloaded bird out of harm’s way with the final eight soldiers who’d been mistakenly left behind.

“With complete disregard for his own safety …” the official narrative of that day reads. “Without gunship, artillery, or tactical aircraft support, the enemy concentrated all firepower on his lone aircraft … Without his courageous actions and superior flying skills, the last group of soldiers and his crew would never have made it off the battlefield.”

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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