Illinois Army National Guard Soldier Shawn Nokes, of Springfield, Illinois, was promoted to colonel during a promotion ceremony Aug. 1 at the Illinois Military Academy, Camp Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois.
“It is important for me to share this day with the Soldiers I’ve had the privilege to serve with and the leaders from whom I’ve gained so much,” Nokes told friends, family and colleagues. “I am beyond humbled by this selection.”
Nokes, the Director of Domestic Operations for the Illinois National Guard, enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard in 1998 and received his commission through the Illinois National Guard’s accelerated Officer Candidate School in March 2004. Nokes also serves as a Title 32 federal technician as the Deputy Logistics Management Officer for the Illinois National Guard.
“It is truly an honor to be here to recognize Colonel Nokes and promote him,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Alessia, of Sherman, Illinois, Director of the Joint Staff, Illinois National Guard. “This is a significant achievement. His biography doesn’t do justice to his accomplishments in the Illinois National Guard the past two years.”
Alessia said Nokes stepped up and accomplished everything that has been asked of him, including the officer-in-charge of the COVID-19 test site operations, liaison officer to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s office of preparedness and response supporting COVID-19 response operations, the capitol response mission in Washington, D.C., and his other military duties as the battalion commander of the 198th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, based in Chicago.
“Shawn has done all we’ve asked of him and more,” Alessia said. “During the COVID-19 vaccination response operations, he served in the critical role with the IDPH and helped coordinate vaccination efforts with the IDPH and Illinois Emergency Management Agency.”
Alessia said Nokes would then go on to serve as the 108th Sustainment Brigade’s Support Operations Officer and participate in a warfighter exercise and upon return, led a mission to train the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade in Poland.
“Shawn has completed one mission after another and everything we’ve asked him to do, he has done it,” Alessia said. “It’s an honor to promote you today. The organization is better because of everything you do.”
Nokes thanked the Soldiers who he has served with and who mentored him throughout his military service.
“Thank you for your mentorship and guidance. You have pushed me to be a better officer and person,” Nokes said. “Thanks to many of you, I got better as a leader because you pushed me everyday to become better. If not for the ones who shaped me as a leader, I wouldn’t be here today, so thank you.”
Nokes thanked his family for their support, including his wife, Amanda.
“My wife, Amanda, is my rock,” he said. “I thank God everyday she came into my life.”