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The Illinois National Guard bid farewell to its Inspector General in a small ceremony April 9 at Camp Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois.
Col. Thomas Ransom, of Highland Park, Illinois, served as the Illinois National Guard’s Inspector General (ILNG IG) from July 2017 to May 2021. Ransom, an active duty U.S. Army officer, was recently selected as the Deputy Chief of Exercises (G-37) at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.
“It’s a great feeling to know senior leaders in Illinois had confidence in me to be able to do the job as Inspector General,” Ransom said. “Thank you for the opportunity to stay on as the Inspector General after you became the Adjutant General.”
Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the Adjutant General of Illinois and Commander of the Illinois National Guard described Ransom as a “very low key person who didn’t want a lot of fanfare”.
“We wanted to recognize you and most of all your team wanted to recognize you,” Neely said. “You can tell a lot about a leader based on the support of a team and you have some extraordinary support from your team here.”
Neely thanked Ransom for the work he has done as the Inspector General.
“When you have an active duty colonel come into the Guard, it’s a lot of education for them,” Neely said. “But given your background of military service, and then seeking out the opportunity to serve as the Inspector General speaks volumes about you.”
Ransom enlisted in the U.S. Army in May 1988 as an Armor Crewmember. He left active duty and enlisted in the Michigan National Guard in the summer of 1991. He accepted a scholarship through the ROTC program at Central Michigan University in August 1992 and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in May 1995, returning to active duty.
“I wish the active duty component would be able to rotate more people in support of the Guard and Reserve components than we do right now,” Ransom said. “It would open their eyes quite a bit. I feel a little embarrassed that my active duty counterparts don’t value what the Guard and Reserves bring to the military in the roles they perform. You are civilians and on the weekends you are putting on the uniforms, doing very demanding tasks on both levels.”
Ransom said he would continue to advocate on behalf of the Illinois National Guard whenever possible.
“My active duty brothers and sisters sometimes fail to understand the time available to train for Guard and Reservists is critical,” he said. “You can’t just show up and expect to perform well without practice. It’s a lesson lost and a missed opportunity.”
During the low-key and brief ceremony, Ransom thanked his family for their support.
“Any success I have is truly related back to the support my family has given me during the entire time I’ve been in the military,” he said. “My wife, Juana, is the greatest wingman I have ever had. She’s the rock and allows me to focus all my efforts on doing the military side of the house.”
Ransom said he could never thank his wife, and three children, Thomas, Jeffrey and Esmeralda, enough for all they do to allow him to continue to serve in the military.
Ransom said the greatest thing he will miss are the people, especially his team in the IG office.
“Thank you for the tremendous ride. You have taught me a lot and I continue to be amazed at the professionalism you bring to the office each and every day,” he said.
During the ceremony, Ransom received a Meritorious Service Medal for “exceptional service and extraordinary leadership” while assigned to the Illinois National Guard as the Inspector General. The citation read in part that Ransom’s proactive approach to leader development coupled with his unwavering desire to resolve all matters helped the Illinois National Guard meet all state and wartime requirements. He also received the Illinois National Guard Military Medal of Merit for “critical management of the Illinois National Guard Inspector General office during a sustained period of unprecedented domestic turbulence which was critical to senior leader decision making processes.”
“When I came in as the TAG I felt really confident with your abilities,” Neely said. “You have the ability to look at and make a mature and deliberate analysis of those issues and bring back great advice to me as well as other senior leadership within the entire organization.”
Neely commended Ransom on an extraordinary job during a year in which the Illinois National Guard saw duty during a pandemic, civil disturbance and floods.
“I really depend on the IG to get out and be the commander’s eyes and ears and look out for the welfare of the troops, much like the Chaplain Corps,” Neely said.
Ransom has attended several military schools including the Inspector General Basic Course. He earned a Bachelor of Science in History from Central Michigan University and a Master’s in Military Studies with a World War II emphasis from the American Military University.