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By Barbara Wilson, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office
Newly appointed Illinois Air National Guard Chief of Staff James G. Silvasy was promoted to Brigadier General during a ceremony March 8, at the Illinois Military Academy, Camp Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois.
“This is a great day in the tradition of the Illinois Air National Guard. It couldn’t have happened to a more qualified Airman,” Brig. Gen. Peter Nezamis, Assistant Adjutant General – Air, and Commander, Illinois Air National Guard, said of Silvasy’s promotion. “I appreciate all you have done and will continue to do for the more than 3,000 Airmen in the Illinois Air National Guard.”
Silvasy, from Gurnee, Illinois, began his career in the active Army as a helicopter pilot after commissioning through the University of New Hampshire’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1985. He transitioned into the Illinois Air National Guard in 1990 where he served as a KC-135 pilot with the 126th Air Refueling Wing.
Silvasy said he was inspired to join the military because of his desire to serve others.
“Most people who join the military want to serve something larger than themselves,” Silvasy said. “It’s a privilege to protect our country, and take care of our state. It’s an honor to serve our families and our friends.”
Throughout his 35 years of military service, Silvasy has served in a variety of leadership positions, including commander of the 183rd’s Air Operations Group in Springfield, Illinois.
He has more than 4,900 flight hours, which includes more than 150 combat hours. He is a veteran of multiple contingency operations including Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.
“Jim has a deep and thorough understanding of the Illinois Air National Guard," said Brig. Gen. Rich Neely, The Adjutant General and Commander of the Illinois National Guard. "He is an excellent officer and will continue to do great things in the Illinois Air National Guard. He has earned the promotion to Brigadier General.”
“I’m proud of the contributions the Illinois National Guard has made towards the freedoms we enjoy in this country. We have a long and distinguished record of service to our nation and we regularly answer the call to duty in our state,” Silvasy said. “You’ll find the Illinois National Guard at the center of any effort to achieve national security objectives, to include increasing regional security through our State Partnership Program with Poland and, if waters are rising along our rivers in the state, you’ll find the men and women of the Illinois National Guard on duty. They are exceptional servants of our nation and state.”
He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Care Administration from the University of New Hampshire. Silvasy has attended a variety of professional military education courses, including, Airborne school, Officer Rotary Wing Aviator Course, Air War College, Air National Guard Commander Development Course and Joint Air and Space Operations Senior Staff Course.
Included among Silvasy’s many military awards and decorations are the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and Parachutist badge.
During the ceremony, Silvasy thanked his family for their support throughout his military career.
“Without my family, none of this would be possible,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve missed many events on the homefront, but my family is a typical National Guard family – they also rise up and answer the call when needed and I’m grateful for all they’ve sacrificed.”
Silvasy, who serves as a traditional Guardsman, is a pilot with United Airlines with more than 10,000 hours of flight time in various aircraft.