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Springfield resident and Illinois National Guard Soldier Erin Connelly was promoted to Sergeant First Class in a ceremony Sept. 4 at the Illinois Military Academy, Camp Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois.
Connelly enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard as a paralegal specialist in 2003. She became a mortuary affairs specialist in 2008 and an automated logistical supply specialist in 2017. She currently serves as the 65th Troop Brigade Budget Analyst and as an Officer Candidate School Instructor with the 129th Regional Training Institute. Connelly deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006.
“This is a big day for Erin,” said Lt. Col. Eric Davis, Deputy Director, Operations, Plans and Training for the Illinois National Guard. “Promotions are sometimes taken for granted, but there are 83,000 Senior Non-Commissioned Officers in the entire United States Army, active, guard and reserve. This promotion means that Erin is in the top 10 percent of enlisted Soldiers.”
Davis told Connelly that the promotion to Senior NCO comes with a lot of responsibility.
“You will be more involved with planning as well as the execution of operations,” he said. “The rank doesn’t weigh very heavy on your chest, but the weight on your shoulders will increase significantly.”
Davis said that Connelly, as a Senior NCO, has the ability to impact 500 to 800 Soldiers’ lives, but with her job as an OCS instructor, she has the ability to impact the entire Illinois Army National Guard.
“Each of those cadets will accept a commission and be assigned to units throughout this state. As you mentor and develop these cadets into leaders, you have the ability to impact the entire Illinois National Guard,” Davis said. “But we know you care, you’re loyal and you will be successful.”
Connelly thanked friends and family for attending her promotion ceremony.
“Each of you have helped me grow,” Connelly said. “You are a source of inspiration and motivation. I’m truly honored you are here. You give me the drive to do more.”