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Springfield resident and Illinois Army National Guard Soldier Loren J. Easter was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on Aug. 21 at Camp Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois.
Easter, who currently serves as the Employer Support Officer in the Illinois National Guard Joint Staff, enlisted in the U.S. Army in April, 1995 as a Chemical Operations Specialist. Easter transitioned from active duty to the Illinois Army National Guard as the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Non-Commissioned Officer for Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery in Sept. 2007.
“We’ve served around and with each other for 20 plus years, going back to the 123rd Field Artillery days,” said Brig. Gen. Michael J. Glisson, Director, Illinois National Guard Joint Staff, who served as the officiant for the ceremony. “You have made great strides to grow the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve program in your time in the job.”
Easter thanked friends and family for attending the ceremony, particularly Maggie, his wife of 15 years.
“Thank you for your patience, support and understanding,” Easter said, in presenting her with a bouquet of flowers and a Jordanian Colonel rank patch. “It is a tradition in our family that when I get promoted, so does Maggie.”
Easter also thanked the members of the Illinois Army National Guard.
“Thank you for allowing me to continue to serve,” Easter said. “Throughout my 24 years of service, there have been so many opportunities to serve full time, and for that, I am incredibly thankful. To the ESGR leadership, it is a great honor explaining the program to the employers and especially to the members of the Illinois National Guard.”
Easter was commissioned through the Illinois National Guard’s Officer Candidate School in Aug. 1999. Following Chemical Officer Basic Course, he was assigned as the Chemical Officer for 3rd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery.
Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Easter volunteered for Operation Noble Eagle, spending 2003-2004 as the Commander, Battery B, for deployed Noble Eagle Security Forces at the 182nd Airlift Wing, based in Peoria, Illinois.
After Noble Eagle, Easter was assigned as the first Commander of the 444th Chemical Company in Monmouth, Illinois and assumed responsibilities as the full time Officer-in-Charge of the 44th Chemical Battalion. Easter was tasked with developing the Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear and Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) program in Illinois.
Easter deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008 as the Multinational Division Air Operations Officer. In Nov. 2008, Easter transitioned to Operation Enduring Freedom and served in Afghanistan in continued support of the Global War on Terrorism.
Following duty with the Illinois National Guard’s 35th Infantry Division Detachment, Easter served as the Executive Officer of the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade where he completed Engineer Officer branch qualification. Prior to his current assignment, Easter served as the Engineer Plans Officer for the Illinois Army National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters.