QC Veterans’ Roll Call Radio Show, January 22, 2017 Show Notes
Our first guest on today's show was Ms. Jackie Inman, The Rock Island Center Director for the USO of Illinois. The United Service Organization, or USO as it is commonly known, is one of the premiere service organizations supporting our military and families. Founded in 1941, the USO brought comfort and a bit of home to our service members fighting during World War II. Here's a link to the organization and its history.
Jackie shared with us the unique mission of the USO at the Rock Island Arsenal. For example, she hosts a "geographical-bachelor" dinner for those service members at the RIA who are separated from their families due to their military service. She shared with us how the USO helps out our military and families. To learn more about the USO or to volunteer, please visit their website.
Our second guest was Major General, MG, (Retired) Gary Wattnem. MG Wattnem served our nation in uniform for thirty-five years on both active duty and in the Army Reserve. He served in Vietnam and after completing his active duty service, joined the Army Reserve. He concluded his career holding the rank of Major General and commanding the 3rd Corps Support Command (COSCOM). We also discussed his work as an Ambassador for the Secretary of the Army as an Army Reserve Ambassador.
The Ambassador Program is an important aspect of how the Army assists and supports the Reserve Forces. Here is some information on the ambassador program: "Established in April 1988, for private citizens to promote awareness of the Army Reserve and the identified goals and objectives of the Chief of Army Reserve (CAR). ARAs develop awareness and advocacy with community leaders and are vitally important bridges to communities across the Nation. They function at the state and local level and voluntarily represent the Chief of Army Reserve without salary, wages or other benefits. Most beneficial is that they provide “continuity” over the long term; while local Army Reserve team leaders come and go, Ambassadors are vested in the community."
Our third guest was retired Command Sergeant Major, CSM, Rick Ernst. Rick serves as the Director of the University of Dubuque Veterans' Center and an officer with the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, ESGR. Rick served our nation for over 26 years, obtaining the rank of Command Sergeant Major, the highest Non-commissioned officer rank in the military. In addition to his leadership with the Iowa Army National Guard, he also deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
At the University of Dubuque, Rick discussed the great things going on to support both the student Veterans and their families. Rick also works with assisting Veterans in enrolling at the University.
The ESGR provides resources to both employers and employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. Since 2001, the ESGR assists employers in understanding the unique requirements of citizen-soldiers/military. In addition, the ESGR advocates for military personnel while also stressing the obligations service members have to provide their employers adequate notice of upcoming military service. We also discussed the "Patriot Award" available to outstanding employers. Here is the link to the ESGR website that discusses this award.
In other news, we've made significant progress on our podcast! Please stand by for that upcoming announcement and information on how you can access the show in this medium.
Thank you for supporting QC Veterans' Roll Call radio show!
Jeno Berta, Host, QC Veterans' Roll Call Radio Show