Hometown Military News: Sept. 23, 2016

Col. Paul Fanning
Col. Paul Fanning of Chestnut, Illinois, passes the 129th Regional Training Institute’s colors to Brig. Gen. Michael Zerbonia of Chatham, Illinois, the Assistant Adjutant General – Army of the Illinois National Guard, signifying his relinquishment of command during a change of command ceremony at the Illinois Military Academy on Camp Lincoln Sept. 17. Fanning, who will retire later in September, passed command to Col. Gregory Ota of Wheaton, Illinois, formerly the commander of 2nd Battalion, 129th Regional Training Institute. (U.S. Army phot by Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Spreitzer, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs)

Hometown Military News for Sept. 23, 2016:

129th Regional Training Institute welcomes new commander

SPRINGFIELD – Col. Gregory Ota of Wheaton took command of the Springfield-based 129th Regional Training Institute during a change of command ceremony held at the Illinois Military Academy on Camp Lincoln Sept. 17.

Ota took command from Col. Paul Fanning of Chestnut who will be retiring later in September.

Before taking command of the 129th, Ota was promoted to the rank of colonel by Brig. Gen. Michael Zerbonia of Chatham, the Assistant Adjutant General – Army for the Illinois National Guard.

Ota said he was proud and humbled to be chosen to lead the 129th following Fanning, thanking Zerbonia for the opportunity to lead the unit.

“I’m back,” said Ota. “It’s good to be back at the regiment after a nine-month absence. I’m excited to build on the unit’s success and am honored to take command from Col. Fanning.”

Fanning thanked his family members in attendance before thanking the soldiers in formation.

“Thank you for the hard work and dedication that made the regiment what it is now,” said Fanning. “I’m confident that you’ll continue with the hard work and dedication to keep the regiment moving in the right direction.”

Fanning told his former Soldiers he was confident that Ota will continue to push the Soldiers to be the best and keep pushing forward.

Click here to see the Hometown Military News archive.


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…