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Tuesday, June 16, 2015: Navy League Dinner Meeting: Dear Aurora Navy League members: Another great speaker this month. The head of the five state region of the DEA, to speak on ways to combat the growing illicit drug trade in America. You'll remember a couple of years ago, Mr. Jack Riley, the former head of the Region spoke on heroin. This will not only update, but will pick up where Mr. Riley left off. Don't miss this great presentation. Best, Len Wass


You do not need to be a member of the Navy League, or have a reservation, to attend the meeting--the general public is welcome. The Navy League is a civilian organization started by President Teddy Roosevelt to provide civilian support the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, and Sea Cadets.

The Aurora Navy League Council 247 will hold its monthly dinner meeting on Tuesday, June 16. The meeting will be held in the private dining room at the rear (east side) of: Grandma's Table Restaurant, 1700 Douglas Rd., Montgomery, IL 60538 (just north of Rte 30).

A reception will begin at 5:15PM followed by dinner at 6:00PM. The dinner includes a choice of three entrees (fish, chicken, or beef), soup or salad, dinner rolls, vegetables, dessert, and nonalcoholic drink. The cost is $17 all-inclusive (alcoholic drinks can be purchased separately).

The after dinner speaker will be Mr. Dennis A. Wichern, Special Agent-in-Charge (SAC) of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Chicago Field Division. Mr. Wichern will discuss the strategies needed for combating drug trafficking in Chicago and surrounding communities, like ours. He will follow up on the excellent presentation that his predecessor, Mr. Jack Riley, delivered to the Aurora Navy League a few years ago about the heroin epidemic destroying America.

SAC WIchern entered duty with the US Dept of Justice, DEA in 1987, as a Special Agent assigned to the St. Louis Field Division. After conducting numerous field investigations involving criminal organizations in the St. Louis area, SAC Wichern was promoted to Group Supervisor in 1997, where he supervised investigators, intelligence analysts, and support staff.

In July 2001 he was transferred to the Domestic Operations Division, located in Washington DC, where he coordinated multi-jurisdictional investigations. In August 2002, SAC Wichern was promoted to Assistant SAC of Domestic Operations where he managed Supervisory Special Agents and oversaw multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional investigations. In March 2005, he was reassigned to the Chicago division as the Assistant SAC of the Indianapolis District Office, where he was responsible for all of DEA's operations throughout Indiana. In January 2015, SAC Wichern was appointed Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division. He directs all enforcement and administrative activities for DEA ain the states of Illinois Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota.

The Aurora Council is having a membership drive, and will pay half of the first year's dues for new members. This is an excellent opportunity to attend an interesting event, and determine whether you would like to join permanently.

Call Leonard Wass with any questions about this event at: 630-554-938


Tuesday, October 21, 2014: The after dinner speaker will be Captain Leonard Wass, USN (Ret.). Len is a retired Management Consultant, where for 35 years he consulted with CEOs and Boards of Fortune 500 companies on matters of business strategy, organization, and corporate effectiveness & efficiency. As he puts it "everything that keeps them up at night." Len was a senior partner with Towers Perrin, a giant consulting firm, for 22 years, heading its worldwide Energy Services Practice. The following 13 years he was the Principal Owner and CEO with the Wass Consulting Group, Inc. which served the same client base on the same topics.
Len had a parallel Navy career, spending his first five years on Active Duty on three different submarines. He served in Vietnam about a diesel electric WW II submarine and earned his coveted gold dolphins about that boat. Later, being fully nuclear trained and qualified he served about a missile submarine for almost three years. After Active Duty Len spent an additional 20 years with the Submarine Reserves, commanding the Submarine Reserve Unit out of Chicago in the 1980s. He retired as a Navy Captain. Len graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1964 and earned his MBA from the University of Chicago in 1971, majoring in Finance & International Business. He lives in Oswego with wife Kathy. They have two grown sons and three grandchildren who are the apples of their eyes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014: The after dinner speaker will be Mr. Shane McKenzie, a wildlife biologist from the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation in Dundee, IL. Mr. McKenzie will speak on past and current research projects conducted at McGraw, including the Fawn Mortality Project and the Chicago Urban Coyote Project. McGraw has completed an extensive review of both, and if you have wondered about how coyotes get into the city and how many there are, or another wildlife topic that interests you, make sure you attend.
Mr. McKenzie, a Chicago-area native, earned his BS degree from Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, majoring in Forest Resource Management and a minor in Environmental Studies. He has worked on several wildlife projects across the country focusing on carnivore ecology. Shane started his field career with the Southern Illinois University Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory studying riparian mammal species along the Hudson River in Upstate New York, and then White-tail deer here in Illinois.
Shane's first experience working for the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation was back in 2008-2009. Since that time, he has been a contributing member to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team in Yellowstone National Park, the U.S. Forest Service in the Sierras Nevada Mountains of California, and the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Lynx Recovery Program in the San Juan Mountains. He returned to the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation early in 2011 to continuing working under Dr Stan Gehrt's Urban Carnivore Project. This past January Shane took over as the Associate Research Scientist at the foundation. Over the course of the next few years the Urban Carnivore Project will start focusing on wildlife in the City of Chicago. This new avenue of urban wildlife research will be the first of its kind studying coyotes and raccoons living within the urban matrix of Chicago.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: The Council's annual picnic will take place at Kent & Sharon Catich's home at 2900 Tanner Rd., North Aurora, IL starting at 5:15PM. Plenty of food and drinks will be served, including beer and wine. In the event of pleasant weather, it will be held outside. If too hot or rainy, it will be held in their air conditioned basement, which has an elevator for persons who are unable to navigate stairs. There is no reason to miss this fabulous annual event. Uniform of the Day is "Picnic sDress".

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: The after dinner speaker will be Navy Commander Mary Blankenship, who is the Military Training Director at the Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Illinois. CDR Blankenship will speak on "Converting a Civilian Recruit Into a Fleet Ready Sailor In Eight Weeks".
Commander Blankenship was born in Pensacola, Florida and raised Minneapolis, Minnesota. Following in her father's footsteps, a Machinist Mate who served aboard USS Lexington (CV-16), Commander Blankenship enlisted in 1985 and served as a Personnelman before earning a Navy ROTC scholarship to St. Joseph’s University of Philadelphia. After completing her Bachelor of Science Degree in 1990, she commissioned as an Ensign through the University of Pennsylvania NROTC program. Commander Blankenship has served as a Personnelman at Personnel Support Detachment, Naval Training Center, San Diego, California, as a Division Officer with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Two (VQ-2), Rota, Spain, the Action Officer at Headquarters, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany, Officer in Charge of Personnel Support Detachment, Vaihingen, Germany, Enlisted Programs Officer at Navy Recruiting District, Indianapolis, Indiana, Training Officer USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), home ported in Yokosuka, Japan, Director of Programs at Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, Assistant Officer in Charge of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Forward, Baghdad, Iraq, Executive Officer of Training Support Center, Great Lakes, Illinois. Currently, she is the Military Training Director at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois.
Commander Blankenship is a Human Resources Officer and has deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2000, she was awarded a Master of Science in Management Degree from Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. She has earned her Senior Professional in Human Resources certification and is also a Joint Qualified Officer. Commander Blankenship’s decorations and personal awards include Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Southern Watch), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Battle “E” Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon. Commander Blankenship is married to Joseph Alfieri of Edison, New Jersey and together they have two sons, Andrew and Michael.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014: The after dinner speaker will be the Honorable Chris Lauzen, Kane County Board Chairman who will be speaking on "Piercing the Veil of High Local Taxes & Fees." He will use slides during his talk to demonstrate how this can be done, and how he has done so in his new role at the helm of Kane County.
Chris Lauzen was elected Chairman of the Kane County Board in 2012 on a platform of tax reform. Prior to serving as County Chairman, he served as a Republican member of the Illinois State Senate, being first elected in 1992 and then reelected in 1996, 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2010. He is a fiscal and social conservative. Mr. Lauzen managed Kane County during the second year of a freeze on the property tax levy for the County, Forest Preserve, and the Fox Valley Park District. In March 2013, he also led members of the Kane County Board to an unanimous decision to refinance a large number of County bonds. This bipartisan action saved the taxpayers over $2 million. He has also been involved in the Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Corridor, a proposed project to build a bridge in northern Kane County over the Fox River.
His 22 year State Senate career was distinguished. He served on several committees, including the Property Tax Reform Committee, Appropriations I, II, and III, and the Revenue Committee, where he was the ranking Republican spokesman. In recognition of his work on these committees and his consistent, pro-employment voting record, Mr. Lauzen was honored by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce with the "Champion of Free Enterprise" award and the NFIB with the "Guardian of Small Business" award. Throughout his service, Mr. Lauzen has supported Constitutional gun rights, right-to-life, and traditional marriage. He sponsored a large tax reduction for employers and a property tax assessment freeze for homeowners over 65 years old with income less than $35,000. He worked to reduce property taxes on VFW and American Legion veterans' posts by 85% and placed a cap on future increases. He also started "Illinois Porkbusters," which sought to cut $5,000,000 in wasteful spending each year from the state budget.
As a supporter of effective public education, Chris Lauzen saw state funding for education in his senate district more than double, helped secure over $48,000,000 for school construction grants, sponsored education license plates for futures teachers' scholarships, and was the only Senator to speak against and vote "No" on providing 2/3 tuition discounts to illegal immigrants at public universities. To counter the rising costs of medical care, Mr. Lauzen launched a Prescription Medication Pilot Program that saved participants and an average of 50% on the cost of prescriptions.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014: The after dinner speaker will be Captain Francis X. Martin, USN, Commander, Navy Region Midwest (NRMW) who will be speaking on the "Readiness of the U.S. Navy to Meet Its Commitments." He will use slides during his talk.
NRMW serves as the shore readiness integrator for the 16 states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri. Captain Francis Martin graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps commission in 1984. His advanced degrees are: Masters of Business Administration from National University, Masters of Arts from Naval Postgraduate School, and Masters of Science from Industrial College of the Armed Forces. His sea duty assignments include USS Worden (CG 18), USS Paul F. Foster (DD 964), USS Higgins (DDG 76) and Chief Staff Officer for Destroyer Squadron 23 (the Little Beavers).
Shore duty assignments include Surface Operations staff at Pacific Fleet; Instructor at Surface Warfare Officer’s School in Coronado, California; Tactical Action Officer instructor with the Royal Australian Navy in Canberra, Australia; and OPNAV N70 staff for Integration and Assessments (N70). He served as Commanding Officer at U.S. Fleet Activities Chinhae, South Korea from June 2003 to July 2005.
At Standing Joint Force Headquarters, US Joint Forces Command, he supported Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. In October 2005, he deployed to Islamabad, Pakistan following a major earthquake. In 2007, he led a planning team to develop the Crisis Response Concept Plan in Bahrain. In 2008, he served on flag staff for Commander Naval Surface Force Atlantic. Martin assumed his second Installation Commanding Officer tour at U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan from April 2008 until July 2011. Sasebo was the main U.S Navy supply point for Operation Tomodachi. Prior to becoming Commander, Navy Region Midwest, he served as the Chief of Staff for Commander Navy Installations Command.
In addition to various campaign and service decorations, Martin has been awarded two Legions of Merit, two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014: The after dinner speaker will be Major General John L. Borling, USAF (Ret.), who will speak on "Reflections on Life in the Hanoi Hilton for Over Six Years."
General John Borling is a native Chicagoan and 1963 Air Force Academy graduate. His military career spanned 37 years, and now he is a motivational, political philosophy, and business speaker/ consultant and an experienced MC, in demand across the nation. A highly decorated officer, his many awards include: The Silver Star, Two Bronze Stars with V for Valor and Two Purple Hearts. He was an F-15 Eagle fighter pilot and commander of the famed “Hat in the Ring” squadron. He was an Air Division commander at Minot AFB, ND and Head of Operations for Strategic Air Command (SAC) in Omaha. In that position, he directed SAC’s support of hostilities in the first Gulf War and Panama and was charged with execution responsibilities for the nation’s nuclear war plan.
At the Pentagon, he led CHECKMATE, a highly classified war fighting think tank and was Director of Air Force Operational Requirements helping initiate a new family of guided weapons. In Germany, he commanded the largest fighter and support base outside the United States and later served at NATO’s Supreme Headquarters in Belgium working directly for the Supreme Commander and Chief of Staff. He was central to the creation of HQ North in Norway and served as Chief of Staff of that integrated NATO/National command. He has piloted many aircraft including, the F16 Viper, F4 Phantom, the SR71 Blackbird, the U-2, and B-52 and B-1 bombers. During the Vietnam War, he was shot down by ground fire. Seriously injured and captured while trying to evade, he spent 6½ years as a POW in Hanoi at Hoa Lo Prison (AKA "Hanoi Hilton"), from June 1, 1966 to February 12, 1973).
General Borling is a graduate of The National War College and executive programs at the JFK and Business School at Harvard. He was a White House Fellow and, later, treasurer and director of the governing foundation and for many years a regional selection panel member. He serves on the Boards of several corporations. He also is a poet/author whose recent book ‘Taps on the Walls’ has received national recognition (
General Borling founded and chairs SOS America (Service Over Self), a patriotic organization advocating military service for America’s young men age 18-26. Previously, as CEO of Chicago’s United Way he was credited with a rebound of interest and annual campaign success exceeding 95 million dollars. Current Civic activities include: Life Member, The Commercial Club of Chicago, Trustee, The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, President, Sister Lakes Michigan Land Conservancy, Inductee, Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame, Who’s Who in America and numerous other local and national organizations. A 2010 Chicago Marathon finisher (24th in class), he is married to his high school sweetheart, Myrna, and lives on the Rock River in Rockford Illinois.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014: The after dinner speaker will be Special Agent In Charge (SAC) of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Mr. Jack Riley, who will speak on "DEA Investigations, Operations, Successes, & Challenges."
He began his career in Illinois in 1985 conducting investigations as a case agent, performing undercover work, and directing confidential informants in Chicago. In 1990 he transferred to Quantico, VA to instruct DEA and FBI Special Agent trainees in a myriad of topics, including basic and complex drug investigations, surveillance, and undercover operations. He subsequently was selected as a leader for a multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency investigation coordinated from DEA Headquarters. The success of the investigation and coordination strategy led to the formation of the DEA Special Operations Division.
In 1995, SAC Riley returned to the Chicago Field Division as a Group Supervisor, overseeing an investigative team of 20 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers. In 1997, SAC Riley was assigned as the Resident Agent in Charge of the Milwaukee Field Office, where he expanded DEA’s presence in Madison and Green Bay by overseeing state, local, and federal law enforcement professionals assigned to the DEA Task Force. He was instrumental in procuring additional federal resources with the establishment of a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) designation for the area.
In 1998, SAC Riley was assigned as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Special Operations Division, located in Washington, D.C. He was responsible for managing DEA and FBI Supervisory Special Agents and for directing and coordinating multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional investigations and prosecutions targeting major Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations that were in operation throughout the U.S. and Mexico. From 2000 to 2007, SAC Riley was assigned to the St. Louis Field Division as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge where he oversaw multiple enforcement and task force groups in the St. Louis metro area, as well as in southern Illinois and southern Missouri.
From 2007 to 2008, SAC Riley was assigned to the El Paso Field Division as the Special Agent in Charge, where he directed all enforcement and administrative activities of more than 325 local, state, and federal agents, as well as administrative employees that were deployed along one-third of the U.S. and Mexico border. In 2008, he was selected by the U.S. Attorney General and the DEA Administrator to serve as the first Director/Special Agent in Charge of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Fusion Center. He oversaw the Fusion Center, which was the world’s first of its kind to provide seamless law enforcement strategies and operations aimed at dismantling national and international criminal organizations. The Fusion Center is comprised of representatives from DEA, ICE, ATF, Secret Service, FBI, IRS, DOJ, USMA, USPIS, Department of Labor, USCG, State Department, CBP, Serious Organized Crime Agency- Great Britain, and Interpol.
In July 2010, SAC Riley was appointed as the Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division. He directs all enforcement and administrative activities for DEA operations in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014: The after dinner speaker will be Mr. Joe McMahon, Kane County States Attorney, who will speak on recent cases, operations of the State's Attorney's office, and new laws. He was appointed Kane County State’s Attorney in November 2010.
Joe is a lifelong resident of Kane County, and a 1984 graduate of St. Edward High School. Joe earned his bachelor’s degree in 1988 from the University of Iowa and his juris doctor from the John Marshall Law School in 1992. In 2006 Joe earned his Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame.
He began his legal career in 1992 as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Kane County prosecuting criminal cases, including traffic, misdemeanor, felonies, sexual assault, gang-related crimes, crimes against children and the elderly, and first-degree murder and death-penalty cases. From 1998 to 2000 Joe served as chief of the Criminal Division of the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office and supervised a staff of 28 lawyers and all criminal prosecutions in Kane County. Joe also worked as an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Illinois prosecuting white collar crime, public corruption and healthcare fraud.
Before he was appointed Kane County State’s Attorney, Joe was in the private practice of law, representing small and mid-sized organizations and their principals as their outside general counsel. Mr. McMahon is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, having previously served as chairman of its Corporate Law Department Section Council, chairman of the Sentencing & Corrections Committee and currently is a member of its Judicial Evaluation Outside of Cook County Committee. He is a member of the Kane County Bar Association, and serves on the board of directors of Fox Valley volunteer Hospice, the largest all-volunteer hospice organization in the United States.

Saturday, January 25, 2014: the Lake County Council of the Navy League is holding its Annual Gala and Awards Dinner. Aurora Council members are invited.
It starts at 6 PM with cocktails followed by dinner at 7 PM. It will be held at the Port O'Call Banquet and Convention Center, 2601 A Paul Jones Street, Building 140, Great Lakes, Illinois.
For more information call 847-949-2553 or email Reservations must be received by January 18, 2014. Dinner tickets are $55 per person.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014: LCDR Mike Martin, a ten year Navy Seal presented a spell binding account of Special Operation Forces in general, and specific Navy Seal operations that he participated in, or led, along with full photo and power point slides. This included operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hailing from the Detroit, Michigan area, Michael (Mike) Martin received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 1996. Upon commissioning as an Ensign in the United States Navy, he reported for SEAL training in Coronado, California. Mike’s career in the Navy included assignments at SEAL Team ONE, SEAL Team SEVEN, and SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE. Mike completed several leadership combat deployments to Southeast Asia and the Middle East. After the attacks on 9/11, he deployed to Afghanistan as a SEAL assault commander in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), to the Philippines as a lead advisor to the Philippine SEALs, and twice to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Some of Mike’s awards include Bronze Star and Navy Commendation Medal both with Combat Valor. Since leaving active duty he has been a financial advisor, currently with UBS in Chicago. He lives in Chicago with his wife, daughter, two sons, and a fourth child to be born in the summer of 2014.


Monday, December 9, 2013: The Aurora Council of the Navy League and the Rotary Club of Aurora will host the 44th Annual Pearl Harbor Day Memorial Luncheon and the 27th Annual Ted Brattin Civic Youth Awards. The luncheon will be held at 11:15 AM at the Gaslite Manor, located at 2485 Church Road, in Aurora, IL. The price for admission to the event is $20 per person, which includes a delicious buffet lunch, ceremonies, and a distinguished, high ranking Naval Officer guest speaker from the Great Lakes Naval Station. The Combined event honors our Pearl Harbor and Asiatic Fleet Attack Survivors, recognizes outstanding local area high school students, and enables the Aurora Council to continue to support our sea services. We expect that four Pearl Harbor survivors will attend and be honored at this event. Tickets are available in advance or at the door. For advance ticket orders, contact the Aurora Council through its website,

Tuesday, November 19, 2013: Brigadier General Thomas Draude, USMC (Ret.), the current CEO of the Marine Corps University Foundation in Quantico, VA will discuss the impact financial cutbacks (e.g., Sequester) are and will be having on the Marine Corps, and the role that the Marine Corps University and its Foundation have in helping to address these cutbacks. General Draude served in several combat tours in Vietnam where he was highly decorated, and commanded a Marine Division in Desert Storm. In Vietnam he took part in combat actions near Cha Lai, receiving two awards of the Silver Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry Medal with Palm. In a subsequent Vietnam tour acting as an Advisor to the Vietnamese military he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star, and the Vietnamese Honor Medal, First Class. General Draude has been married to Marysandra Campagna Draude, a former Marine officer, since November 1966. They have three children:, Loree, a former Naval aviator (F/A-18 and Lockheed S-3 Viking), now general manager of Mobile Identity, Inc. and mother of Sam and Julia; Patrick, a Navy Intelligence Commander and Naval Attaché in Panama and husband of Kris, an Embassy employee; and Ryan, a Senior Director for Choice Hotels, husband of Tori and father of Priya and Leena.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013: Major General Robert Heine, USA (Ret.) will discuss the role of the military in the Reconstruction of Iraq. General Heine was in charge of all reconstruction and interfaced with the State Department, the top Army General in Iraq (his boss), and the top Iraqi political structure in carrying out his duties. He will discuss the projects carried out, funding sources and reallocations, and the political problems that had to be overcome. He is a graduate of Auburn University, lives in Grand Rapids, MI, and is a highly decorated Army officer. He has a son who lives in Aurora, IL.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013: Kendall County States Attorney Eric Weis will discuss the duties and responsibilities of the States Attorney office and how they affect all citizens. He will also present actual case studies of criminal cases prosecuted by his office. Mr. Weis was a Deputy States Attorney in Kendall County starting in 1995. In 2006 he was elected to head that office and has successfully stood for reelection several times since. He is a graduate of North Central College and the Law School at Northern Illinois University. He is married with family and resides in Yorkville, IL.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013: The Council's annual picnic will take place at Kent & Sharon Catich's home at 2900 Tanner Rd., North Aurora, IL starting at 5:15PM. Plenty of food and drinks will be served, including beer and wine. In the event of pleasant weather, it will be held outside. If too hot or rainy, it will be held in their air conditioned basement, which has an elevator for persons who are unable to navigate stairs. There is no reason to miss this fabulous annual event. Uniform of the Day is "Picnic Dress".

Tuesday, July 16, 2013: Lieutenant Colonel Tom Wilczak, USA (Ret.) will speak on two topics: 1. War Planning for Contingency Operations in the Pacific Theater & Central Command; and, 2. Supporting Disabled & Homeless Veterans. Colonel Wilczak served as an Army Engineer Officer for 21 years on assignments that included a stint in Vietnam building the main supply road along the South China Sea…starting each day minesweeping the roadway looking for what is now called IED’s (Improvised Explosive Device). He also served as Commandant of HQ Company of one of the largest Engineer Units in the Army Reserve structure. He was the first commander of an Army Reserve Mobile Data Processing Center and finished his career as leading a systems group that developed the Engineer Part of War Plans for both the Middle East and Korea. His awards include a Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. Colonel Wilczak is a graduate of DePaul University.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013: Retired Illinois State Police Captain, Carl Gutierrez, will speak on the topic "Reflections on the Middle East." For ten years immediately prior to his 2012 retirement, Mr. Gutierrez headed the Illinois State Police task force working with the FBI and CIA on counterterrorism. Since retirement he has worked on a contract basis with federal law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies, and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, including Libya and Egypt. His work has also acquainted him with the Boston Marathon terrorist attack. This is a very timely presentation. Plan to arrive early.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 @ 1715 Hours: The Aurora Council of the Navy League will hold its monthly dinner meeting on Tuesday, May 21, in the private room on the east end of Grandma's Table Restaurant, 1700 Douglas Road, Montgomery, IL (just 1 block north of US-30). The public is welcome, and reservations are not required.

The meeting finishes about 8:00 PM. The dinner cost is $17 for soup, salad, choice of three entrees, potato, vegetable, dessert, and drink. Alcoholic drinks are available from a cash bar.

FBI Special Agent Jeff Parsons (who will be introduced by FBI Special Agent Erich Krumrei) will speak on the "Mumbai Terror Attacks", twelve coordinated simultaneous attacks which killed 164 and wounded 308 in November 2008, and a planned attack on two journalists in Denmark. This case was investigated by Mr. Parsons and a terrorist was successfully prosecuted in Chicago due to his work.

In October 2009, two Chicago men were arrested and charged by the FBI for involvement in terrorism abroad, David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana. Headley, a Pakistani-American, was charged in November 2009 with scouting locations for the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Headley is reported to have posed as an American Jew and is believed to have links with militant Islamist groups based in Bangladesh. On 18 March 2010, Headley pled guilty to a dozen charges against him thereby avoiding going to trial.

Mr. Parsons is a 1995 graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy. After graduation, he served over seven years as a Surface Warfare Officer, with tours on the USS Cyclone (PC-1), the USS George Washington (CVN-73) and the OPNAV Staff at the Pentagon where he also earned a Master's Degree from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service in International Security Studies. Following his time in the Navy, he joined the FBI, where he has served for the past ten years, investigating terrorism issues exclusively while at the Bureau.

This will be a very interesting presentation. Plan to arrive early.

The Aurora Council of the Navy League has a membership drive underway and will pay half of your first year's dues to the Navy League. Ask for details at the meeting at check in.

Saturday, May 4, 2013 @ 1030 Hours to 1300 Hours: Open House onboard the USCGC WYACONDA. Get a first hand look at the equipment, talk with the Commanding Officer and crew, and visit with fellow Navy Leaguers. The Wyaconda has responsibility for the upper Mississippi River from Clinton, IA) to Minneapolis, MN and services nearly 1600 buoys and 375 fixed Aids to Navigation, keeping commerce moving efficiently and ensuring the safe navigation of all mariners. The Open House will be followed by lunch at the Point Cafe, 2370 Rhomberg Avenue, Dubuque, IA between 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM. (Private room with capacity of 40 - Order off menu).

Saturday, April 20, 2013 @ 0930 Hours - 1730 Hours: Navy League Great Lakes Region & Northwest Area Annual Conference, 0930 to 1730, Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells, WI.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013: Our guest speaker will be Mr. Bill Marquardt, President of the Naval Air Station Glenview Museum who will discuss the museum's mission and role, its historical artifacts, and plans for the future.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013: This month's after dinner speaker will be the President & CEO of the Oswego Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Steve Hatcher. His topic is "Your Chamber of Commerce: What is it? What does it do? What are its challenges? How do neighboring communities compare with each other?"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013: This month's after dinner speaker will be the Area President, Great Lakes Region, of the Navy League of the U.S., retired Navy Master Chief, Denny Behr. Master Chief Behr will present the effect of budget cuts on the U.S. Navy, including the response the Navy will take in the event of sequestration. He will also provide updates on the organization & activities of the seven Councils in our Area, share best practices from the other Councils, and suggest communications improvements. These Councils include Aurora, Lake County, and Glenview in Illinois, and in Wisconsin they include LaCrosse, Madison, Milwaukee, and Green Bay.

Tuesday January 15, 2013: This month's after dinner speaker will be a Naval Officer assigned to the regional Recruiting Command who will speak on the needs, challenges, and projections for recruiting young Americans into the military. This is a topic of importance to maintaining our national security posture and readiness.

Saturday, January 12, 2013: at Naval Station Great Lakes, Port O’ Call Restaurant. Annual Navy League Chicago Council Dinner. The Guest of Honor and Speaker is Rear Admiral Rick Williamson, Commander, Navy Region Midwest. Arrangements have been made for a limited number of rooms at the Officers Quarters that is right next door to Port O'Call.


Monday, December 10, 2012: the Navy League Aurora Council and the Rotary Club of Aurora will host their 43rd Annual Pearl Harbor Day Memorial Luncheon and the 26th Annual Ted Brattin Civic Youth Awards at the Gaslite Manor, located at 2485 Church Road, in Aurora, IL. The combined event will commemorate the attack on Pearl Harbor, honor several Pearl Harbor Survivors who will be in attendance, and present awards to students from local area high schools for their outstanding civic service. The guest speaker will be Commander Mike Thibodeau, USN, who currently serves as the Executive Officer, Naval Station Great Lakes. The Aurora Division of the U. S. Sea Cadets will present the colors at the event. Representatives from the East Aurora High School NJROTC, which is the largest NJROTC unit in the country, and the Mooseheart School NJROTC will also be in attendance.

****Four Dates in late November and early December: The Great Lakes Navy Band invites you and your families to be their guests at a performance from their upcoming Holiday Concert Series. No tickets are required as all concerts are FREE and open to the public.

  1. Sunday, December 9, 2012 @ 1500 Hours: Ross Auditorium, Naval Station Great Lakes

  2. Saturday, December 8, 2012 @ 1900 Hours: Frances Bedford Concert Hall,
    University of Wisconsin-Parkside,
    900 Wood RD, Kenosha, WI 53141

  3. Sunday, December 2, 2012 @ 1600 Hours: Valparaiso High School Auditorium, Valparaiso, IN 2727 N Campbell ST, Valparaiso, IN 46385

  4. Wednesday, November 28, 2012 @ 1930 Hours: Wentz Concert Hall, North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Avenue Naperville, Illinois 60540 (***Highly recommended to attend this concert!! This is the first time NBGL has performed in this hall and the acoustics are incredible. Chicago Symphony Orchestra records here!)****

Tuesday, November 20, 2012: The after dinner speaker will be Major Mark Emerson, head of the military ROTC unit at Marmion Academy. He will describe the program the cadets undergo, and discuss some of the significant accomplishments of Marmion's program, e.g., sending 4 graduates last year to the U.S. Naval Academy on full scholarships.

Sunday, October 21, 2012 @ 1300 Hours: 2nd Annual Calumet Harbor Chili Cookoff: Where: Coast Guard Station, Calumet Harbor.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012: The after dinner speaker will be Oswego Police Chief Dwight Baird who will speak on the Responsibilities of Modern Municipal Police Departments. This is a great opportunity for Navy Leaguers to learn the extensive responsibilities carried out by local police departments to protect our safety and security.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012: The after dinner speaker will be Ms. Elizabeth (Beth) Polito, the Director of Marketing of the Illinois USO. She will speak on the activities of the USO in support of out service men and women.