Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Facelifts OK'd for 15 Wis Guard armories

From the governor's office: The State of Wisconsin Building Commission today approved several key projects across the state including renovations to the Department of Military Affairs armory locations in
  • Abbotsford
  • Antigo
  • Beloit
  • Clintonville
  • Fond du Lac
  • Fort Atkinson
  • Janesville
  • Merrill
  • Neillsville
  • New Richmond
  • Tomah
  • Watertown
  • Waupaca
  • Kenosha and
  • Sussex

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Guard soldiers named best in Wisconsin

From the 112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment:

After a tiring three-day competition, the Wisconsin Army National Guard announced its 2013 State Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, April 21.

Spc. Brandon Byrne of  Oak Creek, with Company B, 257th Brigade Support Battalion, won State Soldier of the Year and Sgt. Edward Schmitt of Lake Mills, Wis., with the 54th Civil Support Team, 64th Troop Command, won State Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. Both soldiers will move on to represent Wisconsin May 13-16 in Marseilles, Ill., for the regional competition.

"It was an intense competition, and everyone did really well," Schmitt said. "I found it surprising that even though we're competing, everyone still looks out for each other. For example, I didn't have a lamp for one event, but then another soldier gave me an extra one they had, which just shows that even though we're competing, we're still all in this together."

Read more by clicking here.

About the photo: Spc. Brandon Byrne of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry fires at pop-up targets with a M9 pistol during sidearm qualifications of the 2013 State Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year competition at Fort McCoy, April 19. Five soldiers and eight noncommissioned officers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard are competing for the honor to serve as a state representative at the regional competition in May. (112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment photo by Sgt. Megan Burnham)

Friday, April 19, 2013

New Dane CVSO named

From the Dane County Executive's office:

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today that he has named Dan Connery as his new Dane County Veterans Service Officer (VSO). Connery is a veteran of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and has extensive experience working with the veterans community. Connery is currently serving as Interim Veterans Service Officer for Dane County.

“Dan’s extensive experience with the Dane County Veterans Service Office and our veterans community make him an ideal candidate for our new VSO,” said Parisi. “I look forward to working with Dan as we continue to assist and serve those who have given so much for our country.”

A Madison native and East High School graduate, Dan Connery joined the United States Army out of high school and served from July 1988 to July 1991. After basic training and advanced individual training (AIT), he was stationed in South Korea (Camp Ames) for one year before heading to Fort Knox, Kentucky. Working in support of the 1st Calvary Division out of Fort Hood, Texas, Dan spent six months in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Joining the Dane County Veterans Service Office in May 2006, Dan has years of direct experience with advocating for and assisting veterans in obtaining the benefits they have earned by serving our nation. Connery’s roles in the Veterans Service Office have included Assistant Veterans Service Officer, Deputy Veterans Service Director, and Interim Veterans Service Director.

During his time in the Veterans Service Office, Connery has helped increase access to benefits and services to Dane County Veterans population through the innovative use of technology and social media.

“Helping men and women who wore the uniform to support our nation is an absolute honor,” said Connery. “I am extremely proud of the work we do for our veterans and I am grateful for the ongoing support of County Executive Parisi and his staff. Dane County is committed to supporting veterans and veterans issues.”

Connery is a graduate of Upper Iowa University with a BS in Psychology. He lives in Oregon with his wife, Melinda, and their sons, Bailey, Kieran, and Riley.

Pending final approval by the Dane County Board, Connery’s start date as VSO will be June 3rd, and his starting salary $72,820.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Free camping for military on Armed Forces Day

From the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs:

Free camping is being offered to any veteran or service member at selected private campgrounds, in recognition of Armed Forces Day, May 18, 2013, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners (WACO), and participating member campgrounds.

For a list of participating campgrounds go to and look under "promotions."

According to the WDVA press release:

Simply present your military ID or proof of being a Veteran when checking in and the participating campgrounds will allow you & your immediate family to camp at no charge.

“We wanted to recognize the men and women of our Armed Forces who defend our liberties on a daily basis,” said Lori Severson, executive director of WACO. “Offering free camping to active members and veterans of the Armed Forces as a token of our appreciation for everything they do. “We were thrilled to receive recognition from John Scocos of the Department of Veterans Affairs. His presentation inspired even more campground owners to get involved.”

“Camping creates wonderful memories and experiences for families. I still remember how much I enjoyed camping and we are happy to join with you and pass along this opportunity to our military families.” said John Scocos, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, at WACO’s recent 50 year convention, held in Steven’s Point, Wisconsin.

This is the 8th year that the campgrounds have offered veterans and servicemembers free camping. Many of the campground owners in Wisconsin are also excited about offering discounts up to and including free camping to other Wisconsin heroes, such as Firemen, Police officers, and hospital personnel.

For a list of participating campgrounds and more information, visit the WACO campground site at Each campground will also have special activities through out the two days dedicated to Armed Forces Day. These will include fireworks, floating lights memorials, kid’s games & activities, and celebrity visits.

WACO is working through local organizations such as the VFW, Kiwanis, Rotary, and the American Legion to promote this exciting event.

The Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners is a nonprofit organization of private campgrounds in Wisconsin formed to help campers select a private campground in Wisconsin that lives up to the highest standards of quality camping. It has over 208 member campgrounds & distributes over 315,000 directories to campers all over the US. Participating members strive to improve the family camping experience by making it a pleasant, relaxing, and rewarding outdoor experience at all of their campgrounds. Campground Owners who would like more information on joining WACO can call the office at 800-843-1821.