Andrea Domaskin, Published September 15 2007
Event set to mark soldiers’ returnFriends and family will gather in Minneapolis Sunday to celebrate the return of more than 1,000 soldiers, including soldiers from Moorhead, following a 22-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The returning soldiers are part of the 1st of the 34th Brigade Troops Battalion.
The ceremony is scheduled for 6-7 p.m. in the Ballroom of the Bloomington Sheraton Hotel at 7800 Normandale Blvd. in Minneapolis.
While serving in Iraq, the unit was responsible for security, military intelligence, communications, re-supply and reconstruction missions throughout Iraq. The Soldiers arrived home in July and August.
Dorgan: members of military deserve raise
A bill that Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., helped draft would provide a 3.5 percent raise in military personnel salaries.
The Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Appropriations Bill cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday.
“They deserve a raise, and I’m proud to support it,” Dorgan said.
In addition to the raise, the bill would provide $914 million to purchase five Global Hawk, 24 Predator, and five Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles.
“This funding should keep plans to base UAVs at Grand Forks Air Force Base on track,” stated a release from Dorgan’s office.
The Bill includes a provision authored by Minnesota Sens. Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar that would provide $4.4 million to the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program.
Minnesota service members get grants
Minnesota’s Military Appreciation Fund gave seven Minnesota Purple Heart recipients grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 on Sept. 11.
Grant recipients included Sgt. Robert Hamilton, Sgt. 1st Class Gerald Page, Army Staff Sgt. Timothy Nelson, Army Sgt. Brett Pappa, Army Sgt. Robert Beninger, Marine Corps Master Sgt. Michael Cave and Army Master Sgt. Craig Lia.
“Today we honor a handful of our brave men and women and thank them for their service to our country,” said Eugene Sit, MMAF chairman.
Conrad to support reintegration bill
U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., announced Tuesday that he will support the Hire a Hero Act, which is designed to help military personnel find employment while transitioning to civilian life.
The legislation would provide $25 million annually to nonprofit organizations that provide employment assistance to former members of the military. The program would be administered by the National Guard Bureau.
“The national unemployment rate for young veterans, many of whom have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is three times the national average,” states a press release from Conrad’s office. “At the same time, many industries are facing skilled labor shortages that could be offset by the influx of military personnel transitioning back to the workforce.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556