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Colonel Rodney Boyd, a combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan and the former police chief of Bellwood, Illinois, has been selected as the next general officer in the Illinois Army National Guard.
Boyd was appointed as the Assistant Chief of Staff, Joint Logistics (Wartime) for U.S. Forces Korea effective immediately and will be promoted to brigadier general. The promotion will make Boyd the second African-American general officer in the Illinois Army National Guard since Brig. Gen. Walt Whitfield retired in 1997. Whitfield commanded the 33rd Separate Infantry Brigade.
“It is an honor and privilege to be selected for promotion to brigadier general,” Boyd said. “I look forward to serving my country as a brigadier general at the national level. I will continue my efforts to mentor and inspire service members of color.”
Brig. Gen. Richard Neely, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard, said that when the opportunity arose to have an Illinois National Guard officer fill this position in U.S. Forces Korea, Boyd was the best-qualified officer. In fact, Boyd had been selected as the Land Component Commander for the Illinois Army National Guard, when this national level opportunity arose. Boyd is well prepared for this significant opportunity to serve at the next level, said Neely.
“Colonel Boyd has an extensive background in logistics and operations including his command of the 108th Sustainment Brigade. His leadership has been tested in combat, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has held all the key development positions and has completed all his professional military education requirements,” Neely said. “He’s an excellent officer who will make an outstanding general.”
Neely, who has re-established the Joint Executive Diversity Councils within the Illinois National Guard, said Boyd’s race is important, but was not the deciding factor in his selection. “It is important in that a good portion of our troops can look at our leadership and see someone that looks like them. It is important in that an African-American officer was given the opportunities to excel and to acquire those key positions that led to becoming a general.”
Maj. Gen. Michael Zerbonia, the Assistant Adjutant General–Army of the Illinois National Guard, has mentored Col. Boyd for several years. “Rodney Boyd has worked hard and has taken on tough assignments. He has deployed on multiple occasions and excelled in leadership positions both at home and abroad,” Zerbonia said. “I couldn’t be more proud.”
Prior to his selection as the Assistant Chief of Staff, Joint Logistics (Wartime) for U.S. Forces Korea, Boyd served as the Strategic Plans Officer for the Illinois National Guard since December 2017. He served as the Commander of the 108th Sustainment Brigade from February 2015 until November 2017.
In his civilian life, Boyd served with the Bellwood Police Department for 23 years, working his way up from a patrolman in 1990 to the Chief of Police from 2011 to 2013. After retiring from the Bellwood Police Department, Boyd worked as a vice president for operations for JP Morgan Bank and as a supervisory criminal investigator for the Northwestern University Police Department. Since April 2018, he has worked for AASKI Technology Inc., which supports the Army National Guard Mission Command Training Support Program.
Boyd began his military career as an enlisted Marine Corps Reservist in 1982. After completing his enlistment with the Marines, he joined the Illinois Army National Guard. From 1989 until 1990, he attended the Illinois Army National Guard Officer Candidate School, receiving his commission as a second lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps in August 1990.
Boyd’s military education includes Quartermaster Officer Basic Course, Quartermaster Officer Advance Course, Transportation Officer Advance Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School (CAS3), Intermediate Leadership Education Course, Theater Sustainment Command Course, Combat Service Support Pre-Command Course, the U.S. Army War College and the Joint Combined Warfighter School-Hybrid.
He has held many leadership and staff positions during his more than 35 years of service to include company, battalion and brigade command and multiple staff positions in operations and logistics at all levels. He was deployed to Afghanistan as an ammunition officer with the 33rd Area Support Group from 2004 to 2005, where he received the Combat Action Badge. In 2007 to 2008 he deployed to Iraq and then deployed to Kuwait in 2014, both with the 108th Sustainment Brigade.
Some of his military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2nd Award), National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with one Campaign Star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
Boyd received a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Northern Illinois University, a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle and a second Master of Arts degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. He is married to Darlene Boyd and they have two children (Rodney Jr. and Randy) and one grandson.