Iowa State hosts sixth annual Veterans Conference



Alex Connor

Iowa State makes many attempts to give back to the military community and it will do so again this Monday. 

Iowa State will host the sixth annual Iowa Statewide Veterans Conference. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the cost of the conference is $40. Student veterans and military personnel along with their family members can attend the event for free.

The opening ceremony will begin at 9:15 a.m. in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union and will be accompanied by the ISU ROTC Tri-Services.

Jathan Chicoine, veterans services coordinator; Tom Hill, senior vice president for Student Affairs; and Jonathan Wickert, senior vice president and provost, will give the opening remarks.

The opening keynote speaker, Major General Timothy Orr, the adjutant general of Iowa, will give a speech pertaining to this year’s theme: Learning to return services.

Orr first enlisted in the Army National Guard in 1978, and received his officer’s commission in 1985. He was commanded at the company, battalion and brigade levels and has provided command and control of more than 100 Army and Air National Guard units.

Orr’s primary responsibility is to guarantee the mobilization, deployment and sustainment of the Iowa National Guard. He ensures that the state can readily provide forces in support of state and national requirements.

A lunch panel and discussion about World War I and World War II Native-American code talkers will take place after Orr’s speech.

Commander Don Loudner will lead the panel and present a brief historical context for the code talkers’ story. Other family members of the code talkers will also be there to provide a personal perspective of the history.

Loudner, who is a member of the Hunkpati Dakhota, spends time researching, identifying and contacting surviving code talkers and their families for the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs.

Code talkers were Native-American service members from at least 25 tribal nations who helped shift the direction of the war, according to the veterans ISU website.

Native-American code talkers were essential in both world wars because the enemy was unable to break the code. This military program didn’t even become public until the 1990s.

Throughout the day, breakout sessions will be available that attendees can go to, such as, Home Base Iowa, Veterans in Entrepreneurship, Credit for Prior Learning: Trends and Challenges and the Student Veteran and Family Member Panel.

A resource fair will take place in the South Ballroom of the Memorial Union that will be free for student veterans and military personnel. People who attend the fair do not need to register for the conference.

Troops to Teachers, Des Moines Vet Center and the Wounded Warrior Project are a few of the booths that will be in attendance.

Activities will conclude at 4:30 p.m. with closing remarks by Chicoine and a closing ceremony by the ROTC Tri-Services.

A student veterans reception will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

“I am truly optimistic that all of us can really take that time to reflect more deeply on this idea on learning to return services,” Chicone said. “Already we’ve had so many successes in the planning of [the conference].

For more information about the conference, visit the university’s Veterans Center website.