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NEWS | June 9, 2023

Sherman Soldier Retires from Illinois Army National Guard

           Command Sgt. Maj. Johnny O’Brien, of Sherman, Illinois, who most recently served as the Illinois Army National Guard (ILARNG) Recruiting and Retention Battalion’s senior enlisted leader, retired from the ILARNG after a 28-year career in a ceremony June 9 at the armory in Dixon, Illinois.

            “Command Sergeant Major O'Brien played a critical role in leading the Recruiting and Retention Battalion through COVID and the toughest recruiting environment in the 50 years of the all-volunteer force,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Harris, of Springfield, Commander, Illinois Army National Guard Recruit and Retention Battalion. “His commitment to Soldier care and the development of our Recruiting and Retention noncommissioned officers was the driving force for Illinois to achieve the number one Recruit Sustainment Program in the nation.” 

            O’Brien enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard in 1995 as an Army Man Portable Air Defense Systems (Stinger Missile) crewmember, serving with the 202nd Air Defense Artillery in Dixon. He served with the 202nd ADA until 2001 including units in Kewanee, Milan, Machesney Park and Northern Illinois University.

            In 2001, he transferred to the Recruiting and Retention Battalion where he served as a recruiting and retention noncommissioned officer, team leader, first sergeant, operations sergeant major and was promoted to Command Sergeant Major in January 2020.

            O’Brien graduated from Amboy High School in 1994 and earned a bachelor of science degree in Human Resource Management from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois.

            O’Brien deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 as part of Task Force White Eagle, Polish Land Forces, where he served as the Force Protection Noncommissioned Officer in Charge for the task force, and was inducted into the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade, Polish Land Forces.

            “Command Sergeant Major O’Brien was a mentor to hundreds of noncommissioned officers and thousands of junior enlisted Soldiers throughout the Recruiting and Retention Battalion,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Chad McDannald, the RRB’s senior enlisted leader. “He will be remembered for his passion and love for recruiting. He was an instrumental leader who greatly contributed to the overall success of the Illinois Army National Guard.”