Monday, June 11, 2007

The Iowa Front: Military & Veterans’ Weekly Roundup

Military Front

The Iowa National Guard’s 833rd Engineer Company out of Ottumwa is headed back to Iraq to serve its second tour of duty. Send-off ceremonies will take place at the Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa. Earlier this week, the “Des Moines Register’s” John Carlson wrote a moving column, “Some of Iowa's 'Very Best' Troops to Return to Iraq.” The local paper, the “Ottumwa Courier” had two pieces related to the send-off: “Preparing to Leave,” and “A Brave Send-off for Our Troops.”

Speaking of John Carlson, he had another column in today’s “Register.” The piece, “Mom Planning Benefit Hopes Someone Cares,” is about P.J. Sesker Green of Grimes, aunt of Iowa National Guard Sgt. Daniel Sesker who was killed in Iraq in 2006, and her frustrating attempts to raise money for Operation First Response. Sekser-Green has been planning a golf fund raiser since February, but has received little response and support from the corporate world. All the proceeds are to benefit Operation First Response, a national organization that supports wounded troops and their families.

Veteran Front

Human Rights Campaign to Launch Nation Tour in Iowa to Repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay civil rights organization, will start its "A Legacy of Service" tour against the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in Des Moines. The event will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Iowa Historical Society in downtown Des Moines. The national tour features the voices of a diverse group of veterans who have served under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, including former Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, the first U.S. service member wounded in Iraq. Alva lost his leg on March 21, 2003, when he stepped on a landmine while traveling in Iraq in a convoy.

Political Front

On his way to the send-off ceremony in Ottumwa, Rep. Dave Loebsack made a brief stop at the Progressive Iowa Network conference in Iowa City and made a few brief remarks on behalf of military veterans:
“President Bush keeps sending more troops over to Iraq and Afghanistan, but when they return, his administration is not treating them properly – the way they’re supposed to be treated. There are three appropriations bills coming up soon in Congress, and the Democratic majority will be pushing for more money for our veterans.”

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