Utah World War II veteran Dean Larson received the French Legion of Honor award Thursday at the Utah State Capitol.
The Legion of Honor is France’s highest distinction and is awarded to civilians and soldiers who risked their lives fighting for France. The award is only given to a few Americans each year, making it all the more special for Dean Larson, who flew 33 combat missions in a B-17 bomber during the war, including two over the coast of Normandy on D-Day.
A piece of concrete wall taken from beneath the World Trade Center site in New York City is now part of Utah’s Fallen Warrior Memorial. Karina Puikkonen reports on the nine-thousand pound sculpture.
Members of the University of Utah’s ROTC unveiled the polished concrete sculpture at the Fort Douglas Museum this morning. Raette Belcher chairs the memorial committee. She first heard about Utah as a possible home for the sculpture at a dinner where she met mothers of fallen Utah military.
Federal workers and furloughed employees are holding a rally Thursday at the Ogden Federal Building to protest the government shutdown. Ogden-Clearfield is one of the top 10 metro areas in the country affected by the furloughs. Hill Air Force Base is Utah's largest employer with some 25,000 federal employees and contractors.
There was a grand opening ceremony Wednesday for Salt Lake City’s new Military Entrance Processing Station, otherwise known as Freedom’s Front Door. The facility is where potential recruits from a 5-state area go to complete their application process for the military, and to take an oath before entering into service.
A state task force is considering expanding special court programs into a new Veteran’s Court. Veteran’s courts across the country offer substance abuse help, mental health treatments and other special programs to offenders who have served in the military. For many vets, it’s a welcome alternative to spending time behind bars. Richard Schwermer is the Utah Problem Solving Courts Coordinator. He says help provided by a proposed state veteran’s court would offer a more long-term solution to offenders who are vets.
While Utahn’s celebrate Memorial Day, a group of undocumented immigrants wants to find a way to serve in the military, and a Utah state senator is planning to run a bill next year to entice a Maryland gun manufacturer to relocate.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch visited state representatives in the House Wednesday to deliver what he called unhappy news. He says the Sequester, the automatic across-the-board spending cuts, will happen and it will be a difficult thing, especially for civilian employees at Hill Air Force Base.
”and it’s certainly going to hit a lot of small contractors and it’s also going to hit our workforce up there, is about two thirds civilian. So if you can imagine we’ve got to be prepared for whatever comes,”says Hatch.