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Meet Your Military: Guardsman Retires After 56 Years

[caption id="attachment_3811" align="alignleft" width="300"]GuardsmanRetiresAFter07142010 Chief Warrant Officer 4 Nelson "Gene" Blakey of Moweaqua, Ill., retired in June 2010 after 56 years of service with the Illinois Army National Guard. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Michael Camacho[/caption] SPRINGFIELD, Ill.,– A young man working on a farm in Illinois decided to enlist in the National Guard in March 1953 after he received a challenge from his friend and employer.
The Korean War’s cease-fire was near, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower had just started his first term in office.Many things have changed since then, but one thing didn’t change: the young man’s commitment to serve his country. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Nelson "Gene" Blakey of Moweaqua, Ill., retired June 1 after 56 years in the Illinois National Guard. "I don't think we will ever find anyone to replace him," said Army Sgt. Maj. Donnie R. Parker of Lincoln, Ill. "I think we can find someone who can do the job -- we have personnel in the office who are covering down on the things that he was responsible for and are getting things done -- but as far as the person, I do not think you will ever find anyone who will compare with the person that Mr. Blakey is." Blakey started his military career working in a U.S. Property and Fiscal Office warehouse here. He progressed through the ranks to sergeant major, and then from chief warrant officer 2 to chief warrant officer 4. Blakey hung up his boots and retired as a traditional Illinois National Guardsman in 1994, but he continued to work for the military as a state employee for 16 more years. Although he has experienced many things throughout his career, Blakey said, his last position was his most enjoyable. "My most rewarding position was the last job I had working in the personnel department, because I was able to help enlisted people," he said. "If they had a problem and could not get it solved within their unit, I would try to help get it solved. I worked there from 1975 until I retired." Others attest to Blakey's passion and ability to help soldiers solve problems. "Mr. Blakey, in the time that I worked with him, was a person that was very interested and concerned with taking care of soldiers," Parker said. "He would go out of his way to do whatever needed to be done to see that the soldiers were being taken care of in a way they should be. He was a very humble, outgoing person who was willing to assist in any way possible, whether it was part of his job description or not." While Blakey's career nearly spanned the length of three 20-year military careers, he said he continued to serve in the Illinois National Guard because of his friends and family. His wife, Bonnie Blakey, also is retired from the Illinois National Guard."My family has been supportive of me," Blakey said. "My wife retired in 1999, and her support and involvement has been very important. If your family knows what you are doing, they stay with you and help you through everything." Most people working at Camp Lincoln here knew Blakey, and many others throughout the state connected with him during their careers as well. "He definitely had the ability to mix his professional career with friendships," said Ray Perry of Springfield, personnel support officer for the Illinois National Guard and a retired colonel with the Illinois Army National Guard. "I always enjoyed making my morning rounds and getting the latest news or thought for the day from him,â€Â Perry said. “He always had the ability to put a smile on your face." Although Blakey has retired, he does not look to take it easy. Instead, he is focusing his attention on things that need to be improved around his house. "I will have horses to take care of, along with house and barn work to do," he said. "I will not slow down. I will keep going as long as I can." July 14, 2010: By Army Sgt. Jesse Houk- 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment ***SOT***

Meet Your Military: Third-Generation Officer Takes Oath

[caption id="attachment_3807" align="alignleft" width="300"]ThirdGenerationOfficer07132010 Navy Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, Joint Task Force 435 commander, administers the oath of commissioning to his nephew, Navy Ensign Ian Kriegish, via video teleconference in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 9, 2010. Kriegish is a third-generation sailor in the family to serve as an officer. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman William A. O’Brien[/caption] KABUL, Afghanistan– One of the Navy’s newest officers joined the ranks in a unique way July 9 when he received his commissioning oath via video teleconference from his uncle, a Navy vice admiral who commands a joint task force in Afghanistan.
The commissioning of Ensign Ian Kriegish by Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, Joint Task Force 435 commander, marked the beginning of the third generation of his family to serve as an officer in the Navy. “We are all very proud of you -- proud of you for what you’re doing,â€Â Harward told his nephew. “You’re taking on this obligation when we’re at war, and you’ll serve while we’re at war. There’s no greater purpose that you could have in life, so go out and serve the fleet well.â€Â Harward introduced Kriegish to the Navy. As a recent honors graduate from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., Kriegish was undecided about his future. But a visit to his uncle’s home in Norfolk, Va., changed that. “When he was visiting me in Norfolk, he didn’t know what he wanted to do,â€Â Harward said. “I live near the [aircraft] carrier, so we just walked over and walked on some of the ships. We talked to some young kids who were just junior officers. He decided that joining seemed interesting, so he applied.â€Â After finding out that he had aced the entry test and had been accepted to become an intelligence officer, Kriegish began Officer Candidate School. “When he applied, he wanted intel, so he was excited to be accepted by them and to have that be what he’s going to do for the next few years,â€Â Harward said. After receiving his commission, Kriegish was congratulated by his attending family and his video-teleconferencing uncle. “Congratulations, Ensign Kriegish,â€Â the admiral said. “I just wish I could be there to be your first salute.â€Â After a small talk with the family, Harward offered a parting, “Go get ’em, Ensign Kriegish,â€Â as he sent his nephew to join the fleet. Joint Task Force 435 assumed responsibility for U.S. detention operations -- including the care and custody of detainees at the detention facility in Parwan -- oversight of detainee review processes, programs for the peaceful reintegration of detainees into society, and coordination with other agencies and partners for the promotion of the rule of law in Afghanistan. July 13, 2010: By Air Force Senior Airman William A. O’Brien- Joint Task Force 435


Meet Your Military: Air Guard Instructor Uses Marine Experience

[caption id="attachment_3821" align="alignleft" width="300"]AirGuardInstructor07092010 Air Force Tech. Sgt. David Butler served 12 years in the Marine Corps before becoming an instructor for the Texas Air National Guard's Desert Defender Air Force Regional Training Center in El Paso, Texas. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith[/caption] EL PASO, Texas – Air Force Tech. Sgt. David Butler is a former Marine who’s now serving here as an instructor with the Texas Air National Guard.
"I absolutely love my job down here and the guys I work with," Butler said about serving with the 204th Security Forces Squadron, which operates the Desert Defender Air Force Regional Training Center.Butler is putting the combat knowledge he gained through his Marine Corps service to use by preparing active duty, Air Guard, and Air Force Reserve Command security forces airmen for area security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their training includes mounted operations on armored vehicles, dismounted patrols, counterinsurgency operations, and sniper and countersniper operations. Butler provides his students with some Marine Corps-style confidence-building during their nearly 50 days of intense training. "I tell them up front, 'I'm going to push you to your limits, as far as I can possibly push you,' and that's what we do," he said. "Coming out of here, they learn a valuable lesson, whether it's how much they can stand, or who can stand the heat and who needs to be trained a little bit more." The Guard is well known for its soldiers and airmen who bring civilian expertise as well as prior service knowledge to a mission. Butler said the real-life experiences of all the Guard instructors help in developing scenarios that show students what they will encounter when they’re deployed. Butler joined the Air Guard after serving 12 years in the Marine Corps and two years with Air Force Reserve Command, which brought him to the Texas Guard on a temporary duty assignment. "I had no intentions when I came to this unit of joining the Guard until I came down here," he said. Since he joined, the schoolhouse has grown to become an Air Force-certified, regional facility with new buildings, classrooms and the latest military equipment. "We put our heads together and based off of that and what the [Air Force] Security Forces Center requires us to teach, [we] roll that all into one training package," he said. Butler works with 39 other instructors, including other Marine Corps and Army combat veterans, former police officers and other experienced Guardsmen. "The drive, the desire to do good and teach these deploying defenders is in every single one of the cadre,â€Â said Air Force Lt. Col. Carl Alvarez, the squadron and training center commander. “We all give a 110 percent every day to these students." Alverez said experience "outside the wire" in the combat theater is an important element the instructors bring to the table. "The cadre has fired their weapons in theater,â€Â he said. “They have seen it, they have done it, and that is what we are best suited to [teach]." July 9, 2010: By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith-National Guard Bureau

Family Matters Blog: Blogger Notes Appreciation for Troops

[caption id="attachment_3816" align="alignleft" width="300"]BloggerNotesAppreciation07082010 Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, receives a tour of a Stryker combat vehicle from Army Sgt. Jed Glover while visiting with troops from the 2nd Infantry Division's, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team on Camp Victory, Iraq, July 4, 2010. DoD photo by Elaine Wilson[/caption] WASHINGTON I spent a good bit of time in the U.S. Embassy while in Iraq last weekend with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, which I wrote about earlier this week in "My Independence Day Weekend in Iraq With Dr. Biden."
In a rare moment of downtime, I joined Dr. Biden and her staff in the Embassy gift shop.In a quest for souvenirs for my children, I purchased one of the only items for kids:  a stuffed duck with a T-shirt that said "Duck and Cover." And that's exactly what I had done the night before, three times, while in my room at the embassy. I was typing a story on my computer when the call came over the loudspeaker: "duck and cover." There was a threat of indirect fire, the voice said, and people were supposed to either rush to a room without windows or, if walking outside, duck into one of several bunkers along the sidewalk. At the first warning, I ran into a windowless room, slightly panicked, and waited it out until the all clear sounded. Although I didn't hear anything, mortar explosions had been heard, according to later news reports. I took a slower pace at the second warning and by the third, at 4:45 a.m., I was so exhausted I ducked under a blanket rather than back into the windowless room. That day, elsewhere in Iraq, there was a deadly suicide bomber attack and another that wounded two Iraqi police officers. These incidents served as another reminder of the fact that our troops, and many civilians, are under the threat of attack each day in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whether in combat or not, all put themselves in harm's way just by serving there. Upon my return, my kids were thrilled to get the stuffed ducks that had traveled all the way from Iraq, but are still too young to catch the tongue-in-cheek humor of the "Duck and Cover" on those little black T-shirts. I went to sleep last night in my own bed, without the concern of incoming attacks or a "duck and cover" sounding over a loudspeaker. But I'll never be able to look at those stuffed ducks, perched now on my children's desks, without remembering that night and the sacrifice our military members and civilian employees make each day on behalf of all Americans. July 8, 2010: By Elaine Wilson-American Forces Press Service

Own a piece of NASCAR history! Bid on your Daytona raced Goodyear tires today!

goodyear-homeGoodyear is showing its continued support for the men and women of the United Stated Armed Forces by auctioning "Support Our Troops®" co-branded tires raced by NASCAR leading drivers in the Last Daytona Sprint Cup race. Join Goodyear and Support Our Troops in showing our gratitude and recognizing our troops service to our country by raising funds to benefit them and their families through the Support Our Troops® chritable organization. Bid now through July 17th on authentic race-used, special-edition Goodyear Support Our Troops® tires from the July 3 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway signed by your favorite drivers! Click on the banner below to choose your favorite driver's tires and place your bid on this piece of history. BidNow250px

Transcript of Press Conference for Formal Announcement Goodyear® and Nascar® Running Support Our Troops® Tires in July 4th Weekend Races

MartinBoire_RyanNewman (1)Thursday, July 1, 12:00 Noon EST, Press Conference Room in the Media Center, Daytona International Speedway, 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd.,  Daytona Beach, FL 32114  Stu Grant, Goodyear® General Manager, Global Race Tires Thank you Kris.  A little bit of history I think is worthwhile, we originally started this whole program, this whole concept of  logo-ing a Goodyear tire with Support Our Troops® as our way of saying thank you to the men and women in the military that are fighting for our freedom around the world. It would seem to be very appropriate for us to use this as a platform to say thank you. And obviously we have that in place, but as we looked at it and thought about it and discussed it in more detail we decided, you know, it's a great opportunity to use this as a platform to raise money for the Support Our Troops® organization. As Kris mentioned, it's a great organization, provides a lot of support for military families in the form of care packages, support to the families at home, as well as those on the front line. So what were going to do this were going to take one of these tire, have it autographed by each of the 43 drivers in Saturday's Sprint Cup event here and were gonna' make those tires available to the Nascar community and the larger community in general as an auction item for a to get a autographed Goodyear Nascar eagle with a Support Our Troops logo on it and autographed by a racecar driver. StuGrant_MikeHelton_MartinBoire_RyanNewman (1)It'll be an online auction, you can go to there'll be an icon that'll take you to that site. A 100% of the money that is raised in that program is going to go to the Support Our Troops organization. That online auction kicks of  Saturday July 3rd. It'll last through the17th of July. We hope that it provides some additional support for the organization. We are going to see the initial auctioning with a $20,000 dollar donation to the company. So were excited about our involvement, were pleased to support the Support Our Troops organization, and happy to be parted up with Nascar at this race here in Daytona. I'll turn it over to Mike. Mike Helton, President of Nascar®. 3_Special_Edition_Goodyear_Support_Our_Troops_TireThanks, Stew and this is one we have several of , but this is one of the really, really fun moments that we get to participate in this sport, and it's a bit humbling as well. When Stew first came to Nascar and said ya know, Goodyear'd like to take a look in doin' this, it started off maybe a little slower, but as it sunk in it became one of those elements that made us very proud of our relationships that we had in this sport.  Goodyear's relationships with Nascar goes back to day one, but ya know, here an Akron Ohio based manufacturer that's using its relationship  in Nascar to support an incredibly great cause, and I don't think anybody and any age level or any part of this country has not been touched by the military element, whether it's a father, a grandfather, a son, or a daughter, we all are directly have been effected by military troops members, but we all generally as citizens of this country are, I think obligated to be respectful and mindful of the men and women, who, for generations through today don that military uniform and fight for causes that gave us the opportunity to do things that we do. And this is a neat opportunity for Nascar via Goodyear and this program to echo support. I think one of the things that Nascar certainly hopes is part of its legacy and heritage is the incredible respect and pride that we have for the military. It goes back to Bill Senior. It played a roll in there bein' a fourth of July event here in Daytona, and we work very diligently to maintain that respect and promote that respect quite frankly among all of our ranks.  So thanks to Goodyear and to your organization for coming up to this.  It makes us very proud, and thank you very much. Martin C. Boire, Chairman, Support Our Troops® MartinBoire_RyanNewman (1)The troops tell me everyday how much it means to them when the folks here at home stand up for them the way they stand up for all of us. And I want to thank Goodyear and NASCAR for stepping up for the troops in a major way.   Like most of you I've never been in the military.  But I've been in some pretty tough spots in this world, and I can tell you that what the troops do for us each day,,, is an awesome miracle. In fact, the red in the flag stands for them and they're giving their all to America, not asking what she'll do for them.  So I ask you,,,  isn't it time to show how much we care? And Goodyear and NASCAR have stepped up to help you and I do just that with a really fun and great program at   You wanna do something simple and fun to help the troops?   This is easy.   Just go to, click on the SOT icon and get in on the action.  And keep checking back because new things are being added every day. So I say let's all get together and make the troops as proud of us as we are of them.  And now here is Ryan Newman one of the great men who is going to help you and I do the troops proud by actually driving the launch of this great program on these Goodyear Support Our Troops tires this weekend. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver, Ryan Newman 2-Ryan-Newman-Autographs-Special-Edition-Goodyear-Support-Our-Troops-TireThank you, Martin, I've always said people have asked me, and it comes every week, what does it mean to you to represent what the army, and the one word that always comes to mind is honor, and its an honor to represent the men and women that, past present and future, fight, that have fought and always will fight for our freedom, to have Goodyear work together with Support Our Troops®, and to drive a race car that has red, white, and blue on the tires, is really cool, so put our hands over our hearts and enjoy the great weekend.  There will be a lot of fireworks and some great racing but ultimately we need to sit down and think for a minute about the people that give us what we've got here and I really look forward to it.  I'm a little partial and hoping that the soldiers are pushing down on my tires and gripping my car a little more.  I'm kind of representing the US Army and what Support Our Troops and Goodyear have done in conjunction with Nascar to be able to put together a cool program like this is the first time I have been able to be a part of something that is this special with respect to what the soldiers and the great country that we live in is a part of so thank you very much. Questions Stu is this the first time that Goodyear has done labeling of this sort on a race tire? I can tell you for sure that this is the first time.  Your question is that this is the first time that Goodyear EVER loaded a tire with something other than Goodyear or Eagle? Yeah. It is the first time we've ever done that and I was telling Mike and Martin earlier how difficult it was to get the approval to do something like this. It was a great concept and a great idea we ended up going to the Chairman of the company to get authorization to put the name of another organization on the sidewall of our product.  So, yeah it s a big deal as Chris mentioned earlier and it's a first. Stu, will this be the only weekend that you have these branded tires or will they be at some other races at some other point? This is the only race that we are going to do this, it seemed appropriate that it be the 4th of July weekend to do something like this, it just all fit together. Yes, its just a one race effort.  The program online to raise funds and so on will go on for the next several weeks but as far as the racing operation and the look of the tires its just this event only. Stu is there any history or any way to gauge how much this tire set will bring and has anyone done anything similar to this to give you an idea of how much money will be generated at this auction? 1_Special_Edition_Goodyear_Support_Our_Troops_TiresYou wan to bid? We can start bidding now if you like.  You know what,  I don't know, maybe Martin could answer that.  We have no clue how much money we could raise.  We're just going to throw this out and see what happens and like I mentioned Goodyear is going to put an initial seed of $20,000.00 but I'm not sure how big this is going to get, I don't really know how much money we can raise.  I hope we can raise a lot. Obviously you brought enough tires to last the weekend, if your not going to do this program anymore what is going to happen to the extra tires that are branded. Are you going to sell them off or. People are fighting over the used tires and the new tires that are not mounted.  Honestly the Goodyear marketing program Nascar Marketing have a lot of outlets for these.  There's no shortage of people saying that I can do "x" with this tire and so and so.  There's a lot of programs that are providing outlets for these tires.  Kris (Goodyear marketing) if you want to expand   Yeah, as Stu was talking about we have some other uses for the tires.  As you go back and visit the site you'll see some other uses.  Also we are sending tires out to Military Bases and uses like that.  We are going to be spreading them far and wide and I think Martin is even working on sending some to Troops overseas.  Sowe are working on a lot of different  uses for the tires. Martin Boire.  I can tell you that one has already been spoken for by an eight year old boy that we passed on our way in.  Who informed his farther that he expects that tire to be purchased.   If an eight year old kid gets it I'm sure that real Americans that you find behind Nascar and Goodyear tire find out about this we're going to do well. ***SOT***

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