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Director of the Joint Staff, Illinois National Guard

Brigadier General Mark G. Alessia was appointed Director of the Illinois National Guard Joint Staff, on 6 October 2021. As the Director of the Joint Staff, he is responsible for the integration and coordination of Illinois National Guard capabilities in support of Homeland Defense and Defense Support to Civil Authority Operations.

General Alessia enlisted into the Illinois Army National Guard in January 1992 as an 11B Infantryman in Combat Support Company, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment. In August 1996, he received a commission as a second lieutenant infantry officer through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. 

Prior to entering the Active Guard and Reserve Program in 2002, General Alessia taught middle school mathematics and history while serving as a traditional Guardsman. BG Alessia earned a Master of Science degree in Adult and Continuing Education from Kansas State University in 2007 and he is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Army War College, where he earned a Master of Arts in Strategic Studies in 2016. BG Alessia is a qualified Infantry Officer, Chemical Officer, and Adjutant General Corps Officer and has successfully completed assignments in each of these three branches.

Prior to assuming his current position, General Alessia was assigned as the Illinois National Guard Chief of the Joint Staff.  His other key assignments include Rifle Platoon Leader, Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment; Mortar Platoon Leader, HHC, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment; Company Executive Officer, Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment; Company Commander, Delta Company 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment; Battalion Operations Officer (S-3), HHC 44th Chemical Battalion; Recruiting and Retention Battalion Commander; Squadron Commander, 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry Regiment; Deputy Director of Plans, Operations and Training (Deputy G-3); State Military Personnel Officer (G-1); Brigade Commander, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team; and Illinois Army National Guard Chief of Staff.

His overseas deployment assignments include Executive Officer, Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, Kuwait, Operation Desert Spring (September 2000 to February 2001); Liaison Officer, HHC, 66th Infantry Brigade, Germany, Operation Enduring Freedom (January 2002 to August 2002); S3 Liaison Officer/Assistant Brigade Operations Officer, JFHQ-IL, supporting Polish Task Force White Eagle, Ghazni, Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom (March 2009 to December 2009).

General Alessia’ s military education includes Infantry Officer Basic Course, Infantry Officer Captain Career Course, Chemical Officer Advanced Course, Human Resource Officer Qualification Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Command and General Staff Officer Course, Dual Status Commanders Course, and U.S. Army War College.

His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (8th Award), Army Commendation Medal (6th Award), Army Achievement Medal (5th Award), Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (3rd Award), National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award), Armed Forces Expeditionary Forces Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2 Campaign Stars), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with Silver Hour Glass, Mobilization Device, and Numeral 3), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd award), Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon (2nd award), NATO Medal (International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan), Polish Army Medal (Silver), Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Basic Badge, Basic Parachutist Badge, and Combat Infantry Badge.

General Alessia resides in Sherman, Illinois, with his wife Jennifer and their three children Max, Nate, and Jasper.

As of November 2021