Illinois Army National Guard Soldier Anthony McClain, of Springfield, took a “major” step forward in his 27-year military career when he was promoted to major in a ceremony March 17 at the Illinois Military Academy on Camp Lincoln in Springfield.
“You want Soldiers like Tony to achieve these ranks because they work so hard,” said Maj. Gen. Rodney Boyd, Assistant Adjutant General - Army and Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard. “Tony is ready to live up to the new challenges which come with the new rank.”
Boyd thanked McClain’s family for supporting him throughout his career, especially his wife, Tarah, who also serves in the Illinois National Guard.
“Being a husband-and-wife team with both serving in the military cannot be easy and thank you to the support system which allows them both to serve,” he said.
Boyd said he and McClain have known each other for several years, and, with both serving as logisticians, their paths have crossed along the way.
“When I met Tony I liked him immediately, and not just because he’s from the South Side of Chicago and a White Sox fan,” Boyd said. “When you give Tony an assignment, and he presents it back to you after completion, he is very thorough.”
Boyd said he has worked with McClain closely the last 18 months on diversity, equity and inclusivity issues within the Illinois National Guard, since becoming the Assistant Adjutant General – Army.
“On occasion due to scheduling conflicts, Tony has stepped up and briefed some of my meetings oftentimes to general officers,” Boyd said. “He doesn’t let rank affect him, he just goes out and does it.”
McClain enlisted in the military in 1996, spending the next 14 years as an enlisted Soldier before receiving his commission through the Illinois National Guard Officer Candidate School in 2010. He has served in a variety of leadership and staff positions in the Illinois National Guard. He was appointed as the Security Cooperations Officer in March 2021. As the Security Cooperations Officer, McClain is responsible for the overall planning, coordination, and execution of the State Partnership Program with Poland and the Homeland Defense Cooperation with the Israeli Homefront Command.
He was also appointed the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the ILNG in October 2021. As the DEI director, he provides strategic leadership and administrative oversight for maintaining a range of successful practices and initiatives for supporting an organizational climate that values and prioritizes equality, diversity and inclusiveness within the Illinois National Guard and Department of Military Affairs.
“This has been a long road. I know this promotion comes with increased responsibility and I appreciate the opportunity to serve this great organization,” McClain said. “I appreciate the opportunity to be instrumental in strengthening our relationship both at home and abroad.”
McClain thanked the leaders who he has worked alongside and those who challenged him throughout his career.
“You are all great contributors to my motivation and success,” he said.
McClain thanked his wife, Tarah, for her support.
“I appreciate your love and support,” he said. “Words cannot express how much I appreciate you as a wife, mother, and friend.”
He also thanked his family, calling his children, Amelia, Olivia, Joshua, and Stephon, his motivation.
McClain said even though he’s moving from company-level leadership to becoming a field-grade officer, his reasons for serving won’t change.
“I will continue to take care of people and do my part to take care of this organization,” he said. “I will work to move the organization forward and represent the Illinois National Guard honorably.”