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NEWS | July 10, 2023

St. Joseph Soldier Promoted to Sergeant Major

Illinois Army National Guard Soldier James Ressel, of St. Joseph, Illinois, was promoted to sergeant major at the Illinois Military Academy, Camp Lincoln, Springfield on July 7.

“The past 27 years has been a wild and wonderful ride,” Ressel said. “Looking back at the things and places this organization has afforded me the opportunity to do and see, I never dreamed at the beginning of my career that all of this was possible.”

Ressel enlisted in the Missouri Army National Guard in 1996 serving as a Fire Support Specialist. In 1998, he joined the Illinois Army National Guard with Battery C, 3rd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery Regiment before transitioning to an infantryman, serving with 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, which is based in Marion.

“What began as a means to an end turned into a rewarding and fulfilling career I can look back on with pride,” he said. “The military gave me purpose. As my career progresses throughout the years, it turned into a passion for a profession I love so much.”

Ressel has served in a variety of leadership positions throughout his career. He is a military technician who works in the Mobilization Readiness Office for Joint Force Headquarters in Springfield and serves as the Operations Sergeant Major for the 244th Digital Liaison Detachment, based in Chicago.

“This is an exciting day for the Ressel family,” said Col. Randy Edwards, Director of Plans, Training, and Operations for the Illinois Army National Guard. “All the hard work and dedication over the past 27 years has paid off. You are extremely hard working, humble and the best trainer I’ve worked with.”

Ressel deployed to Afghanistan in 2008-2009 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and to Jordan and Syria in 2020 in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

“Along the way I was mentored by officers and noncommissioned officers who shaped and molded me throughout my career,” he said. “It was during the deployment to Afghanistan in 2008 to 2009 that I understood what all the training was about. We were tasked with a difficult mission and without the group of men I served with, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Ressel thanked his family for their support throughout his career, including his son, Alex, and wife, Amanda.

“I’ve been blessed with a solid foundation of family throughout my career. Alex, I’m proud of the young man you are and the man you will become,” he said. “My wife, Amanda, who has always been there for better or worse, and for the last 19 years of marriage has been my rock at home which allows me to focus on the mission at hand.”

Ressel offered advice to his fellow members of the Illinois National Guard.

“Take the best aspects of those you meet and make them your own,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to fail, accept the opportunities you are given, train your replacement, and leave the organization better than before.”

Ressel is enrolled in the Sergeants Major Course as a distance learning student.