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NEWS | Feb. 21, 2024

Two Illinois Army National Guard Officers to be Inducted into University of Illinois ROTC Hall of Fame

The University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign’s Army ROTC program will induct two Illinois National Guard officers into its Hall of Fame in May: Maj. Gen. Henry Dixon of Dixon, Illinois, and Col. (retired) Clayton Kuetemeyer of Champaign, Illinois.

Although the university’s Army ROTC program is more than 150 years old, its Hall of Fame was started about a decade ago. After this year’s inductees, the Hall of Fame will still have under 40 inductees honored. Illinois National Guard Soldiers previously honored in the university’s ROTC Hall of Fame include Illinois National Guard Director of the Joint Staff Brig. Gen. Mark Alessia, former Illinois Army National Guard Chief of Staff Col. (ret.) Fred Allen, and former Adjutant General of Illinois and Commander of the Illinois National Guard Maj. Gen. John R. Phipps. Phipps, who died in 2009, spent 42 years in the military, served in the Philippines in World War II and earned a Silver Star for gallantry in Korea. The University’s ROTC Hall of Fame also includes former Illinois National Guardsman Maj Gen. Charles Kemper, who serves with the Minnesota National Guard as the Commander of the 34th Infantry Division as well as Ambassador Phillips Talbot and former White House Chief of Staff and U.S. Transportation Secretary Samuel K. Skinner, both of whom spent a short time in the Illinois Army National Guard.

To be inducted into the Fighting Illini Army ROTC Hall of Fame, a UIUC graduate must have earned a commission into the U.S. Military from the Army ROTC program and served honorably in society, whether it was through their military, business and/or in the local community.  Then the individual must by nominated by someone who knows of the achievements and accomplishments of the candidate.  Finally, all nominations are reviewed every two years by a board of current Hall of Fame members and some of the military faculty at UIUC.  Only those candidates that are recommended by a large majority of the board members are inducted into the Hall of Fame.    

Maj. Gen. Dixon is serving as the Deputy Commanding General of U.S. Army Central Command based on Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.

“It is an honor, and I am sincerely appreciative of being selected to the University of Illinois ROTC Battalion Hall of Fame. The U of I ROTC program was the starting point of my military career. I did not anticipate where my career was going to take me, nor did I expect to attain the general officer grade,” Dixon said.  

“Nevertheless, it was the education and training at the U of I ROTC that set the foundation of my subsequent military career. U of I ROTC instilled the Army values and ethos that will be with me forever. What the Fighting Illini ROTC experience has done for myself and others does not go unnoticed,” he added.

Dixon was assigned to U.S. Army Central in June 2021 as Director of Operations. His previous assignments include U.S. Northern Command Deputy Director of Operations, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations for NATO Multinational Division Northeast, Commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team; Director of Strategic Plans and Policy of the Illinois National Guard; and Commander of the 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment.

He deployed to Iraq from May 2005 to April 2006 as the Executive Officer of the Illinois National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, and to Afghanistan from November 2008 to August 2009 as the Chief of Staff of Afghanistan Regional Security Integration Command – West. 

He holds a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Illinois, a masters in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, and a juris doctorate from John Marshall Law School. His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (Oak Leaf Cluster), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster),

Col. (ret.) Kuetemeyer now serves as the Deputy Director of Emergency Management for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security. He retired from the Army last May with 35 years of service.

“I feel incredibly honored to be recognized by the University of Illinois ROTC Battalion. The UIUC ROTC program was a foundational element of my military education and experience. I valued the opportunity to participate in the Simultaneous Membership Program, which enables ROTC cadets to also serve in Army National Guard units as junior leaders, often shadowing commissioned officers and learning by their example,” Kuetemeyer said.

 “The many hours spent in class and training at the UIUC Armory made it feel like another home to me throughout my college years. The deep relationships built with fellow cadets and cadre made them feel like family. To be inducted in the Fighting Illini Cadet Battalion Hall of Fame is an occasion to return home and reconnect with family,” he added.

Kuetemeyer, an Infantry officer, served as the Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard’s 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), the state’s largest brigade with more than 3,000 Soldiers. As 33rd IBCT Commander, he led the brigade’s mission as the Joint Multinational Training Group – Ukraine in 2020 to 2021 with approximately 165 Soldiers of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team forming the command element of the training group in Ukraine. The unit was responsible for training, advising and mentoring the Ukrainian cadre at Combat Training Center-Yavoriv, Ukraine to improve Ukraine’s training capacity and defense capabilities. As part of U.S. European Command operations, the unit worked hand-in-hand with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, providing training and doctrinal assistance to the Ukrainian military personnel. For its meritorious performance of service, the unit received the Army Superior Unit Award.

After returning from Ukraine, Kuetemeyer led the National Guard Bureau Joint Staff’s Future Operations Division planning for disaster response, developing policies, ensuring future National Guard readiness within the global force management structure and advising senior National Guard leaders including Gen. Daniel Hokanson, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau.

Kuetemeyer has served as the Chief of the Illinois National Guard’s Joint Staff, the Illinois Army National Guard’s Plans, Operations and Training Officer (G-3), and the Deputy Command Inspector General for the Illinois National Guard. He also served as Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment and the Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in human resource education from the university in addition to a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. He is a 2015 distinguished graduate of the War College.

He has deployed to Ukraine, Afghanistan and Kuwait and has also served in Poland and Bulgaria. Previous deployments include Afghanistan in 2011 with Task Force White Eagle and the 17th Mechanized Brigade of the Polish Land Forces, and Kuwait in 2000 as Commander of A Company, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment.

Upon retirement he was awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. Kuetemeyer’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with six oak leaf clusters, and the 2002 National General Douglas MacArthur leadership award.

The induction ceremony will be held May 3 at the university. Also being inducted into the Hall of Fame are Tuskegee Airman Brig. Gen. Charles McGee along with fellow World War II veteran and longtime University of Illinois College of Fine and Applied Arts Professor (Emeritus) Daniel Perrino, a first lieutenant in the Pacific theater during the war. Both McGee and Perrino will be posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame.