Arkansas Military

Dr. Alex Biris, director and chief scientist at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Services.
UA Little Rock

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has been awarded a $5.6 million grant to advance technology with the potential to regenerate bones. The funding from the U.S. Department of Defense goes toward work on an implantable medical device known as NuCress scaffold, which has been in development since 2006.

It holds the promise of helping people with what have been considered untreatable injuries experience bone regeneration in places where parts of a bone are missing. In particular, researchers say it could help people avoid having limbs amputated because of injuries.

French Hill
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An impasse remains between President Trump and congressional Democrats that could lead to a partial government shutdown next Friday. Arkansas’s 2nd district U.S. Rep. Republican French Hill, a Republican of Little Rock, says he’s disappointed that no resolution seems to be in sight and is considering the impact a shutdown would have in Arkansas.

You can hear his interview with KUAR above.

Hoga
David Monteith / KUAR News

Three years ago, the World War II tugboat Hoga arrived at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. Friday, at an event commemorating the attack on Pearl Harbor, the public will be allowed to tour the boat for the first time.

Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO Eileen Drake with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson at Wednesday's announcement that the company will be expanding its south Arkansas facility.
Governor's Office

Arkansas’s ongoing efforts to grow the state’s aerospace and defense sector got a big boost Wednesday after Sacramento, Calif.-based Aerojet Rocketdyne unveiled plans to expand the company’s solar-powered rocket motor manufacturing facility in East Camden.

In a press event at the Governor’s Conference room at the State Capitol, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Aerojet CEO and President Eileen Drake announced that the California defense contractor would invest more than $50 million to expand its sprawling south Arkansas armaments factory and hire 140 new workers over the next three years.

Members of the Arkansas National Guard preparing to deploy for Texas relief efforts.
Arkansas National Guard

Members of the Arkansas Army National Guard will be the latest military personnel sent to the U.S./Mexico border as part of President Donald Trump’s push to curb illegal immigration.

Around ten National Guard soldiers and two UH-72 Lakota helicopters will be heading to an unspecified area on the border likely within the next two days, according to Arkansas National Guard Spokesman Maj. Will Phillips.

Vietnam veteran James Kaelin stands on a dirt road staring into an empty scrub forest once part of Fort Chaffee, a U.S. Army Training camp east of Fort Smith, Arkansas. 

“They won’t even admit to this being a test site to anybody,” Kaelin says. “But I have information showing the Army tested Agent Orange, Agent White and Agent Blue on seven different locations on Fort Chaffee in 1966 and 1967 without knowledge to the general public. It was top secret.”

World War I Sabin Howard
Sabin Howard

Work is progressing ahead of a ceremonial groundbreaking on Nov. 9 for a National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC commemorating the service of Americans in the military. The memorial likely won’t be completed as initially hoped in time for 100th anniversary of the end of the war, but substantial work should be visible by then.

Arkansas National Guardsmen unloading supplies from a helicopter in Texas.
KATV

1,500 members of the Arkansas National Guard are preparing to head to Texas to help Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Governor Asa Hutchinson authorized the deployment today, after receiving a request from the state of Texas.

In a statement Hutchinson said the contingent is expected to leave on Saturday and that the deployment could extend up to 30 days.

Members of the Arkansas National Guard preparing to deploy for Texas relief efforts.
Arkansas National Guard

A band of Arkansas National Guardsman is set to arrive in Houston this afternoon to assist in recovery efforts related to Tropical Storm Harvey. 14 guardsmen set out for Texas early Monday morning for about a week-long hazmat stint. Governor Asa Hutchinson deployed the team.

Public Affairs Officer Major William Phillips says the Arkansas contingent is focused on next-stage recovery and not immediate water rescue efforts.

Michael Hibblen
Governor's Office

Gov. Asa Hutchinson shared his thoughts with a national audience on President Trump's response to violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. In an interview Friday on NPR's All Things Considered, the Arkansas Republican said the president needs to send a clear message that "white supremacy, neo-Nazism has no place in American values."

But Hutchinson also spoke against the removal of Confederate statues and monuments, saying it would be dismantling history.  

On a blistering Monday afternoon in July, retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. George Hollingsworth sat down with Hot Springs Village Voice managing editor Jeff Meek to talk about the Vietnam War.

"I hope this," Hollingsworth said, meaning Ken Burns' The Vietnam War, and perhaps his own small part here on this set, "could start a national dialogue again about America, not only its tendency to war, but its tendency to govern in a dishonest fashion."

Veterans Affairs Hope
Governor's Office / You Tube

To make it easier for military veterans to file claims or get other assistance, nine regional state offices have opened in Arkansas over the last two years. Governor Asa Hutchinson took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday for the final Veterans Service Office which is located in Hope.

The offices were opened in an effort by the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs and the state Department of Workforce Services. The other offices are located in Fayetteville, Forrest City, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Monticello, Mountain Home and Russellville.

File photo: US Sen. Tom Cotton touring military vehicle prototypes in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Arkansas’s all-Republican congressional delegation is showing support for President Trump’s air strikes in Syria. 

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, in a statement released late Thursday night, said he commends the president for “taking swift, decisive action” against an “outlaw regime.”

The state's senior U.S. Senator John Boozman said "Limited, swift and decisive action was required to deter further brutality."

Boozman also cautioned against further military action from the executive branch.

Copyright 2019 KUAR. To see more, visit KUAR.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he's concerned about a draft proposal to use National Guard troops from Arkansas to round up unauthorized immigrants.

The Republican governor said Friday he hasn't had any contact from the Trump administration about a draft Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by The Associated Press calling for mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops from Arkansas and 10 other states.

A DHS official has described the document as a very early draft that was not seriously considered and never brought to the secretary for approval.

Arkansas lawmakers have given their final approval for a monument at the state Capitol in honor of families who have lost loved ones serving in the armed forces.

The House on Monday voted 96-0 for what's called the Gold Star Family Memorial Monument on the state Capitol grounds. The bill has passed the Senate and now heads to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk.

The design and placement of the proposed monument is pending before the state Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission.

Governor Asa Hutchinson sign into law Military retirees tax break
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed a bill giving a tax break to retired military veterans and imposing additional taxes on digital downloads, treats and unemployment benefits.

The $13 million exemption is intended to boost economic development. Its supporters hope veterans retire in Arkansas to begin second careers and say shifting the tax burden to others was necessary to make it happen.

Hoga
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum is highlighting a week of events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

North Little Rock may seem an unlikely site of naval significance but those with the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum say it’s the only place in the U.S., other than Hawaii, where visitors can tour U.S. Navy ships present at the beginning and end of U.S. involvement in World War II. The museum claimed this distinction when it became home to the U.S. Navy Tugboat Hoga one year ago.

Command And Control
PBS

Screenings are planned around the state this coming weekend for the new documentary thriller Command & Control. It looks at the September 1980 accident at a Titan II Missile silo involving a nuclear weapon in the north Arkansas town of Damascus.

A worker doing routine maintenance on the missile dropped a socket from a wrench which fell, puncturing the rocket's fuel tank, causing it to leak. The film’s director, Robert Kenner, says the military was unprepared for the accident or how to respond, with those involved doing the best they could in the situation.

The U.S. Senate has approved a bill to name the post office in Perryville after an Arkansas native who was killed while he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

The post office would be named the Harold George Bennett Post Office under the proposal by U.S. Rep. French Hill and Sen. John Boozman.

The proposal now goes to the president for his signature.

Bennett was a native of the Thornburg community about 7 miles south of Perryville and was the first American prisoner of war killed in Vietnam when he was executed on June 25, 1965, after three escape attempts.

World War I Memorial Joseph Weishaar
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A native Arkansan is leading the design of a World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. On Thursday, 25-year-old Joseph Weishaar was honored for his role in the project during a ceremony at the Arkansas State Capitol that formally established a centennial commemoration committee for the state.

Weishaar is a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture who today lives in Chicago, but is preparing to move to Washington to oversee the project.

Lockheed Martin Corp.’s was recently awarded a $198.7 million boost to a previous multimillion dollar contract that will enhance production on an anti-ballistic system that President Obama recently touted as a deterrent to North Korea’s nuclear threat.

Hot Springs will soon have a new Civil War museum that will focus on the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the 1861-1865 American conflict.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports (bit.ly/1n4xqgu) that The Civil War Museum West is expected to open later this year and will feature a collection of artifacts, flags, photos and other items.

The museum will offer tours through 10 areas of various subjects about the war. Visitors will see collections of swords, guns, bullets, flags, and various other artifacts and Civil War relics.

Lockheed Martin’s Camden-based operations, which is awaiting final word on a bid protest for the $30 billion Joint Light Armored Vehicle contract that went to Oshkosh Defense, will take part in another multi-billion award that will deliver Patriot missiles to U.S. military forces and close allies, company officials said Tuesday.

The federal government is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority over a 2011 fire that destroyed 111 buildings at a World War II-era hospital complex in western Arkansas.

Gov. Radio Address: Military Matters

Sep 26, 2015
Governor asa hutchinson military
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio address for the weekend of Sept. 25, 2015:

One of the great honors for me as Governor is working with our military community. This past Monday, I visited our men and women in uniform at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock.

While there, I announced the formation of the Governor’s Military Affairs Steering Committee, a private-public partnership that will be housed within the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

Governor asa hutchinson military
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A month after an Arkansas factory lost a bid for a $6.75 billion contract to assemble military tactical vehicles, the governor has formed a group to help grow the state's military economy.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the Governor's Military Affairs Committee on Monday. The organization of public and private leaders will advocate for the state's military installations and their economic development interests.

Hutchinson is spending $400,000 from discretionary funds to start the group and for an economic impact study.

Air force base rammed
U.S. Air Force

The Little Rock Air Force Base has honored two airmen who fatally shot an armed man who intentionally crashed his vehicle into the base's gate.

Larry D. McElroy died a day after the June 15 incident at the Jacksonville base. Authorities say McElroy was driving at least 80 mph when he rammed into the gate. Officials say Sgt. Zachary Freese and Airman 1st Class Codee Smith first tried to help McElroy until the man got out of his SUV with a rifle.

The guards then shot McElroy and he died at a hospital. No one else was injured.

rocket lockheed martin
Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin announced that it had received a $227 million contract from the U.S. Army for the first order of the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System alternative warhead, which will be produced at the defense contractor’s missile production facility in Camden.

“GMLRS is a combat proven precision-strike system,” said Ken Musculus, vice president of Tactical Missiles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “We are confident that the new GMLRS Alternative Warhead will also provide reliable, highly accurate capability for our domestic and international customers.”

The Confederate soldiers monument at the state Capitol.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

In recent weeks, the battle over Confederate imagery has focused mainly on a flag, but for some the debate naturally extends to other symbols they see as offensive. As Arkansas, like many Southern states, continues to grapple with emblems of its past, the question arises: To what extent are monuments in public places an issue?

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