Metro-East News

Scott Air Force Base to rename building in honor of late U.S. Sen. Alan J. Dixon

Mike Fitzgerald
Mike Fitzgerald

The life and career of the late Alan J. Dixon — a former two-term U.S. senator from Belleville and a big booster of Scott Air Force Base — are set to be honored on July 8 with the renaming of the Scott visitor control center in Dixon’s honor.

Dixon’s family, as well as U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., are scheduled to be on hand for the ceremony, which will also include the unveiling of a plaque in Dixon’s honor.

The ceremony plaque will be viewed by the more than 40,000 people who pass through the visitor control center annually.

The ceremony is set to begin at 2 p.m. July 8. The VCC is located just west of the base’s Shiloh gate.

Dixon died July 6, 2014, just one day shy of his 87th birthday. He served in the Illinois General Assembly from 1951 to 1971, as Illinois treasurer from 1971 to 1977 and Illinois secretary of state from 1977 to 1981. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1993.

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Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. is scheduled to host a youth football camp at Scott Air Force Base on July 6-7 at the James Sports Center Turf Football Field. The camp will host 150 military children in first through 8th grade from the Scott AFB community. The event will run from 1 to 4 p.m. on day 1, and 9 a.m. to noon on day 2.

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The Pentagon said Thursday it was ending the ban on transgender people being able to serve openly in the U.S. military, according to CNN.

The announcement — which removes one of the last barriers to military service by any individual — was made by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who had been studying the issue for almost a year.

    The decision comes as the military has witnessed major changes in the role of women and the inclusion of gays, lesbians and bisexual service members in recent years.

    It drew some criticism from Republicans and conservatives, including Rep. Mac Thornberry, Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, who charged the White House was “prioritizing politics over policy.”

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    The Obama administration has proposed a new agreement on Syria to the Russian government that would deepen military cooperation between the two countries against some terrorists in exchange for Russia getting the Assad regime to stop bombing U.S.-supported rebels, according to the Washington Post.

    The United States transmitted the text of the proposed agreement to the Russian government on Monday after weeks of negotiations and internal Obama administration deliberations, an administration official told me. The crux of the deal is a U.S. promise to join forces with the Russian air force to share targeting and coordinate an expanded bombing campaign against Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, which is primarily fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Under the proposal, which was personally approved by President Obama and heavily supported by Secretary of State John F. Kerry, the American and Russian militaries would cooperate at an unprecedented level, something the Russians have sought for a long time.

    Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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