Friday, January 27, 2012

IED claims Wisconsin Army officer just weeks after deployment to Afghanistan

An Army officer from Mayville was killed by an IED on Wednesday while on foot patrol in Kandahar Province. 1st Lt. David Johnson had told friends and relatives he felt lucky to command a platoon-sized firebase in a "very active" part of Afghanistan. Johnson shipped out just before Christmas, family members said.

From the soldier's base public affairs office:
1st Lt. Johnson was a platoon leader assigned to 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
According to unit records, Johnson was commissioned in 2010 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), and he is a graduate of Evangel University, Springfield, Mo. In 2011 he attended the Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Benning, Ga. He arrived at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in August 2011, and was assigned to 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The unit deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in December. This was 1st Lt. Johnson’s first deployment.
Johnson’s civilian and military education includes a Bachelor of Science degree from Evangel University (2010), Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course (2011), Combatives level 1 and 2 (2011), and the Stryker Brigade Combat Team Leaders Course (2011).
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge and the Overseas Service Bar.

Oahu trip planned for Wisconsin's survivors of Pearl Harbor

An Appleton-based volunteer group that has been flying area World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to see war memorials is launching a statewide effort to take Wisconsin survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack to Hawaii on June 14-18.
Old Glory Honor Flights is looking for veterans who were stationed on Oahu or within 3 nautical miles at the time of the attack. Call 1-888-635-9838 and leave a message by Feb. 6 for more information. Many Wisconsin survivors of the attack still have vivid memories, which propelled the U.S. into WWII. Dec. 7 was the 70th anniversary.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Flying Tigers ace from Wisconsin featured in new exhibit

Flying Tigers ace Fritz Wolf of Shawano, Wisconsin, is the focus of an exhibit opening  Jan. 31 at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison. 
Wolf was a naval aviator who flew in Burma and China in 1941-42, and from  the decks of the USS Hornet and USS Yorktown in 1944-45. According to a museum description of the exhibit:
During World War II, Wolf shot down five enemy aircraft, including two Japanese bombers on December 20, 1941. This new exhibit features numerous artifacts, including a scarf given to him and his fellow “Flying Tigers” by Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, photographs and mementos from his service, and a short film detailing Wolf’s homecoming parade in July 1942.
The museum is  located at 30 W. Mifflin St., across the street from the State Capitol. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wiscsonsin may waive professional license fees for vets

The State Assembly Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs unanimously passed Assembly Bills 429 and 438 on Thursday. AB 429 grants a one-time occupational or professional license fee waiver for qualified veterans. SB 338, passed the state Senate on Tuesday. AB 438 recognizes military training, education or experience as meeting some requirements for certain state professional credentials, according to Gov. Scott Walker's office:
“We owe it to our veterans to assist them in obtaining jobs,” Walker said in a press release. “I thank Representative Wynn for authoring this legislation and the Assembly committee for its strong bipartisan support of the bills.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Another WDVA member resigns

Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs board member Marv Freedman resigned today.  In a letter to Gov. Scott Walker, Freedman said:
"When you signed AB 96 into law last summer, you relegated the board into irrelevance and ensured the politicalization of the position of Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs ... a position that could now change with the election of each new governor. ... Then you made your subsequent appointment of a Department Secretary ... despite compelling reasons to appoint someone else, including, but not limited to, the findings of the Legislative Audit Bureau ... which detailed substantive management failures of your appointee during his original tenure....I have decided that I cannot in good conscience continue to serve on the Board when my presence could well be construed as my tacit approval of your ill-advised decision(s)."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Closed Mondays

Wisconsin Veterans Museum galleries in Madison will close Mondays beginning Jan. 30 to allow employees to safely move and maintain exhibits, the state Department of Veterans Affairs announced today.

The press release says it's a common practice for museums to close Mondays. I have a call in to find out how much money is saved.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Two more Badger Honor flights scheduled

 Badger Honor Flights has schedule two trips for next spring, on April 21 and May 21, volunteer Steve Bartlett tells me. They have 200 World War II veterans on their waiting list, so at 100 per flight, the math is easy.

The urgency of the flights never stops being apparent.

The latest evidence: Ken Hur passed away this week after going on the Nov. 12 flight.
"Ken had Alzheimers and still thoroughly enjoyed the trip, even though he was in a wheel chair the entire time.  His daughter Janine flew back from Paris to escort him as a Guardian," Steve said.

For more information about the programs go to or call (608) 616-0243.