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A high school teacher at Lake Park High School in Roselle has been selected as the Illinois National Guard’s next Chief of the Joint Staff.
Col. Seth Hible of Winfield serves as a traditional National Guard Soldier and will continue teaching full-time. In his military duties, he now plays a key leadership role planning and coordinating Illinois National Guard support for domestic operations, international cooperation, and interagency and intergovernmental coordination. Hible began his duties as Illinois National Guard Chief of the Joint Staff earlier this month.
Hible, who enlisted in 1985, previously served as the Director of Domestic Operations for the ILNG Joint Staff. He spent the first 12 years of his career as an enlisted infantry Soldier before enrolling in the Illinois Army National Guard’s Officer Candidate School in 1995, graduating in 1996 as an honor graduate. As the Director of Domestic Operations for the ILNG for the past two years, Hible planned and supervised the ILNG’s COVID-19 response and six civil disturbance operations.
"Colonel Hible is the quintessential Citizen-Soldier. He’s an English and art teacher as a civilian and a professional planner and leader as a military officer,” said Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the Adjutant General and commander of the Illinois National Guard. “He played a key role in the Illinois National Guard’s domestic operations response these last two years and his calm demeanor will serve him well as the Joint Chief.”
As Chief of the Joint Staff, Hible will supervise the Joint Staff as well as develop and coordinate partnering activities with other military services and other countries and their militaries. Domestically, he will also work with intergovernmental agencies to provide support to civil authorities and augment domestic operations.
“Colonel Hible was selected for his experience as a leader and as a planner,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Alessia, of Sherman, Director of the ILNG Joint Staff. “He will use this experience to work closely with our state partners during emergency operations.”
Hible said he is honored to be selected to serve as the Chief of the Joint Staff.
“I’m honored to be selected for this position,” Hible said. “Transitioning from the Director of Domestic Operations for the Joint Staff to the Chief of the Joint Staff allows for consistency in the Joint Staff. I look forward to developing the Joint Staff.”
He replaces Alessia, who was selected to serve as the Director of the Joint Staff in October.
Hible has deployed three times, including Task Force Santa Fe to Kaiserslautern, Germany in 2002 in support of U.S. Army Europe as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, Operation Cajun Fury to Fort Polk, Louisiana in 2004-2005 when the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion was mobilized and sent to Iraq and Soldiers from the Illinois Army National Guard’s 131st Infantry Regiment were sent to Louisiana to take over the duties of the 509th as Opposing Forces Soldiers under the Joint Readiness Training Center, and to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2008-2009.
In addition to the federal activations, he served on state active duty for flood response operations in 1993.
Hible said his last duty positions have prepared him for the job.
“The past two years with the Joint Staff and experience as an operations officer with the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade has helped me to define and refine the planning process,” he said. “This experience has really prepared me to better work with our state and federal emergency partners and other state agencies.”
Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Gorup, of Raymond, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Illinois National Guard’s Joint Operations Center, has served with Hible on numerous assignments throughout his own nearly 26-year career and said Hible is the right person for the job.
“I’ve worked with Colonel Hible several times in the past 19 years, first deploying together in 2004 and then again in 2008,” Gorup said. “I’ve watched him grow as an officer and as a leader. He’s a great mentor and I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s a great teacher and will explain what the plan is and why it’s executed that way.”
Hible became the Director of Domestic Operations for the Joint Staff in early 2020 and according to Gorup, he had to learn very quick when the ILNG was activated for the COVID-19 response operations.
“As one of his very first duties in the Joint Staff, Colonel Hible had to plan and direct the Illinois National Guard’s COVID-19 response operations,” Gorup said. “It was a very high tempo operation, which was changing almost every day.”
Gorup said from watching Hible over the years, he’s going to go far in the ILNG.
“He’s a great guy and is great for the organization,” he said.
Hible and his wife, Laura, have three sons, Michael, Sean and Adrian.