NEWS | March 8, 2021

Central Illinois Soldier Promoted to Colonel in Illinois Army National Guard

By Barbara Wilson, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office

Illinois Army National Guard Soldier Ronald W. Bonesz, of Normal, Illinois, was promoted to colonel in a ceremony at the Illinois Military Academy, Camp Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois, Feb. 26.

“This is a big day for Ron and the entire Bonesz family,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Zerbonia, Assistant Adjutant General – Army, Illinois National Guard, and Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard. “This promotion to colonel is well deserved and we look for big things from the G-1 (Personnel) directorate.”

Zerbonia thanked Bonesz’s family for their sacrifice throughout his career.

“You pushed him to be what he is today,” Zerbonia said. “Thank you for your sacrifice and for letting Ron do what he loves to do. We appreciate everything his family and friends have done.”

Bonesz commissioned as a second lieutenant through the ROTC program and completed branch qualification as an engineer officer in 1995. Following his active duty service, he transferred to the Illinois Army National Guard.

Bonesz has served in a variety of leadership positions, including Chemical Officer, 1st Battalion, 106th Aviation Regiment, based in Peoria, Illinois; platoon leader and Company Commander, 333rd Military Police Company, based in Freeport, Illinois.

Bonesz also served as Battalion Commander of the 33rd Military Police Battalion, based in Machesney Park, Illinois; and Brigade Plans, Training and Operations officer in the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, headquartered in Normal, Illinois.

In addition, Bonesz has served as the Deputy Director, Operations and Security Cooperation Officer of the Joint Staff, Illinois National Guard; and Deputy Director, Personnel, Illinois Army National Guard. Bonesz is the Military Personnel Officer, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Illinois Army National Guard.

Bonesz deployed to Iraq in 2003 as the Company Commander, 333rd Military Police Company; again in 2006 as Plans, Training and Operations Officer, 33rd Military Police Battalion; and to Afghanistan as the Commander of the Bilateral Embedded Staff Team 20 in 2017, serving alongside the Polish Armed Forces.

“This is a very exciting day for my family and I,” Bonesz said. “It’s been a long time coming. I’m very excited for this promotion.”

The newly-promoted colonel said senior leaders, mentors and others have had a vital impact on his life.

“Without your leadership and mentorship handed down to me I couldn’t be where I am at today,” Bonesz said. “Thank you for working with me year after year, helping me to grow as an officer.”

Bonesz also offered appreciation to Soldiers who have worked for him in the past as well as his current team at the G-1 directorate.

“Without a doubt it is because of the men and women who wear the uniform, their hard work and dedication has gotten me here and has made me successful,” he said. “We have one of the best teams out there. I am constantly amazed at what my current team does each day. It is nothing short of amazing.”

Bonesz pledged his continued dedication to the personnel staff.

“You know my work ethic,” he said. “You know I will continue to dedicate myself to our team, our Soldiers and to our mission.”

Bonesz thanked his family for their support.

“You have been with me each step of the way,” he said. “I am extremely grateful. You’ve dealt with my late nights and my busy schedule. I am so appreciative of your understanding. You are my rock and I love you to death.”

Bonesz rounded out his remarks by offering advice to fellow Soldiers.

“You can do everything right in your career and still not make it to this position,” he said. “I believe we are the product of the opportunities given to us. I appreciate the opportunity to prove myself as a competent staff officer and I believe it ultimately led me to where I am today.”

Bonesz urged his fellow officers to not become attached to a certain career path.

“Maximize your opportunities,” he said. “Take a chance on the jobs you may not be good at, step out of your comfort zone and apply yourself to the new position.”

Bonesz said he is appreciative of the opportunity to serve as the Military Personnel Officer and Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to lead this team,” Bonesz said. “I have learned a lot in the past year and I have so much more to learn. I have a great team to lean on.”