October 4, 2015

Walker executive order allows National Guard members to carry weapons

Governor Scott Walker PHOTO: WRN

Governor Scott Walker PHOTO: WRN

Governor Scott Walker has issued an executive order allowing Wisconsin National Guard members to carry weapons while on duty. It’s a response to the shooting deaths of five service members by a gunman who had links to Islamic extremism, at a pair of military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee last week. One of those killed was Sergeant Carson Holmquist, a Marine from Polk County, Wisconsin.

“Safety must be our top priority, especially in light of the horrific attack in Chattanooga,” Governor Walker said. “Allowing our National Guard members to carry weapons while on duty gives them the tools they need to serve and protect our citizens, as well as themselves. I am also directing Adjutant General Donald Dunbar to evaluate longer-term plans to ensure the safety of our service members.”

Walker also commented on the Chattanooga shootings during a stop in Iowa last week, as part of his presidential campaign.

“I think the federal law that prohibits our heroes, our men and women in uniform, from being armed at places like this recruiting center needs to be changed, so that they can protect themselves,” Walker said Friday in Cedar Rapids.

Walker: Arm staff at military recruitment offices

Gov. Scott Walker in Iowa (Photo: Asya Akca)

Gov. Scott Walker in Iowa (Photo: Asya Akca)

Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker spoke to a crowd of more than 300 this afternoon in Cedar Rapids, his first “town-hall” style event in the state this year and just one stop on his first to Iowa since formally launching his campaign on Monday.

Walker began the event in Cedar Rapids by asking the crowd to join him in prayer for the four Marines who were killed in Tennessee Thursday — one of whom is a Wisconsin native. Later, when a member of the crowd asked Walker about gun rights, he returned to the event.

“I think the federal law that prohibits our heroes, our men and women in uniform, from being armed at places like this recruiting center needs to be changed, so that they can protect themselves,” Walker said, to cheers, whistles and applause.

Walker said he understands why the law “may have seemed appropriate” two decades ago.

“Back in the ’90s remember we’d just come off end of the Cold War. Containment had been our focus. Our enemy…at that point had been beaten,” Walker said. “Today’s it’s a whole different world. I’m mean ISIS is like a virus. Radical Islamic terrorism is like a virus, not only over there, but sadly, increasingly, we’re seeing it here.”

Walker says he “will not speak ill” of his competitors for the GOP’s presidential nomination, but Walker said there are “two kinds” of candidates: fighters and winners.

“There are fighters, people who’ve been in Washington fighting. They’re fighters who’ve fought but have yet to win those battles and there are winners, people who have won elections and reelected and things of that nature, but largely have not taken on the big fights over the last couple of years,” Walker said. “What I believe makes us unique is we’ve done both. We have fought the good fight and we have won those fights.”


Walker spoke briefly, but spent most of his time answering questions from the crowd that ranged from education standards called “Common Core” to tax policy.

Republican candidate Lindsey Graham spoke earlier today in Cedar Rapids, at a foreign policy forum. Tonight, five competitors for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination will gather in Cedar Rapids to speak at a fundraiser for the state party. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are holding events around the city this afternoon.

Contributed by O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa

Wisconsin native among Marines killed in Tennessee attack

Sgt. Carson Holmquist and his wife (Photo: Facebook)

Sgt. Carson Holmquist and his wife (Photo: Facebook)

A Marine from Polk, Wisconsin was among four people killed this week in a shooting in Tennessee.

The U.S. Marine Corps identified Sgt. Carson Holmquist as among those killed Thursday morning, when a gunman opened fire on a pair of military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Others killed in the attack were Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan of Hampden, MA, Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells of Cobb, GA, and Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt of Burke, NC.

The gunman, 24-year-old Mohammod Yousuff Abdulazeez, who shot and killed by police. Three other people were wounded in the attacks.

Baldwin unveils ‘Jason Simcakoski’ opiates bill

Tomah VA

Tomah VA

Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin has introduced a bill to help prevent abuse of pain medication by veterans. It’s a response to the problems uncovered at the Tomah Veterans Administration medical center, including the death of Marine veteran Jason Simcakoski last year.

“This legislation would provide the VA with the tools that it needs to prevent this type of tragedy from occurring to other veterans and their families,” Baldwin said.

According to a release from her office, Baldwin’s legislation was written in  consultation with medical professionals, veterans service organizations, and the Simcakoski family.

It focuses on strengthening the VA’s  opioid prescribing guidelines and improving pain management services by putting the following reforms in place:

·         Requiring stronger opioid prescribing guidelines and education for VA providers including stricter standards against prescribing dangerous combinations of opioids with other drugs and for prescribing opioids to patients struggling with mental health issues;

·         Increased coordination and communication throughout the VA with medical facilities, providers, patients and their families surrounding pain management, alternative treatments for chronic pain, and appropriate opioid therapy; and

·         Holding the VA system accountable for appropriate care and quality standards through consistent internal audits as well as GAO reviews and reports to Congress.

In addition to improving opioid therapy and pain management, the Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act helps strengthen patient advocacy, expand access to complementary and integrative health and wellness, and enhance VA hiring and internal audits.

Search resumes for Globemaster remains — 63 years after crash

The wreckage site of the C-124 Globemaster is only accessible by helicopter. (PHOTO: courtesy U.S. Air Force photos/Tech. Sgt.)

The wreckage site of the C-124 Globemaster is only accessible by helicopter. (PHOTO: U.S. Air Force photos/Tech. Sgt.)

The search has resumed for the remains of servicemen killed in a military plane crash in Alaska in 1952. Three of those still missing are from Wisconsin.

Last year remains recovered from wreckage embedded in the Colony Glacier were identified as belonging to 17 of the 52 men that died when a C-124 Globemaster cargo plane nicknamed “Old Shaky” crashed into Mount Gannett on November 22, 1952. Those remains were returned to the families of those men.

The men from Wisconsin that were on that flight were Airman 2nd Class Thomas Condon of Waukesha, Airman 2nd Class Dan McMann of Marinette, and Airman 2nd Class Edward Miller of Evansville.

The wreckage has been carried by the glacier to a site roughly 15 miles from where the crash occurred. It was spotted in 2012 and each summer since then, a joint military team has gone to the site to recover wreckage and any human remains that can be found. Due to the terrain and weather it is only accessible about two weeks out of the year, and only by helicopter.

Air Force Tech Sergeant John Gordinier was with the team that landed at the site Monday. He said it’s a treacherous site, with crevices in the ice that stretch down “as far as the eye can see,” on a glacier that is always moving, but he said there is good reason that in spite of the danger, teams keep returning.

“We’re always taught from day one, being in boot camp, you never leave a man behind,” Gordinier said. “Even though it’s been 60 years, to be able to provide closure to the families, to be able to give them that sense, to give them the ability to bury and do a full honors funeral that they deserve, that’s why we do it.

“(Bringing these servicemen home is) an honor to do,” Gordinier added.

He said time is of the essence, however, as the glacier empties into Lake George. Any remains and wreckage that are not recovered could be lost if they reach the lake.

“It really, ultimately is what the glacier is allowing us to see and allowing us to collect,” said Gordinier. “There’s plenty underneath the ice still, so ultimately it comes down to what we’re able to see, because it’s not like we can go out there and just dig through the ice and look for other remains or debris.”

If the team finds any human remains, the military will begin the process of attempting to identify them.

The recovery mission is a joint effort of the Alaskan Command, Alaska National Guard, active-duty military members and civilians.

Mike Lear, MissouriNet