An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | March 4, 2024

Springfield Soldier celebrates 30-year-career

Illinois Army National Guard Maj. Christine Hurley, of Springfield, used the backdrop of Women’s History Month to retire following 30 years of military service during a ceremony March 1 at the Illinois Military Academy on Camp Lincoln in Springfield. 

“Thirty years ago, I embarked on a journey which would shape the very core of my being,” said Hurley, the Illinois Army National Guard’s collective training branch chief. “It has been a journey filled with challenges, triumphs, and unforgettable memories, many of which were built with you in this room.” 

Hurley enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1994 as a parachute rigger. 

“When I joined in 1994, I wanted to be a firefighter, but women were not allowed in that military occupational specialty,” she said. “So I became the next best thing, a parachute rigger, because I wanted to something exciting. They guaranteed I would be able to jump out of airplanes as a parachute rigger.” 

Col. Randy Edwards, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Training and Operations and incoming Illinois Army National Guard Chief of Staff, said when he first met Hurley, he knew she would make an impact on the ILARNG. 

“Christine, you are an extraordinary leader and truly the best of the best,” he said. “She is a training subject matter expert and passionate about training Soldiers.” 

Edwards said that as the collective training branch chief, Hurley has had a positive impact on training plans in every unit throughout Illinois. 

“She has worked tirelessly to ensure Soldiers were prepared to answer our nation’s call if needed,” he said. 

Edwards said Hurley will be missed but will always be a part of the operations family and part of the Illinois Army National Guard. 

“I’m super excited for both you and Kim for this next chapter and whatever you have in store,” he said. “I have no doubt you will continue to knock it out of the park just like you have done in every assignment in the Illinois Army National Guard.” 

After leaving active duty in 1999, Hurley attended Southern Illinois University. She re-enlisted in the U.S. Army as a motor transport operator in 2003 to support the needs of the U.S. Army during the Global War on Terrorism. She left active duty in 2010 after completing three deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the First Cavalry Division. She attended East Carolina University, earning a degree in nutrition science. While attending college, she graduated from Officer Candidate School and was commissioned in 2011 as a second lieutenant in the Army National Guard. 

In 2013, Hurley transitioned to the Illinois Army National Guard, serving briefly as a platoon leader with 1st Detachment, 1644th Transportation Company in Springfield. In September 2013, Hurley served as a motor rail transportation officer with the 1144th Transportation Battalion.  

In 2015, Hurley entered the Active Guard and Reserve program as the training officer for the 634th Brigade Support Battalion. Over the next few years, Hurley would serve as an Illinois Army National Guard Officer Candidate School instructor and Commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment while assigned to the 129th Regiment (Regional Training Institute), before being selected as the 108th Sustainment Brigade’s training officer. In 2021, she was selected as the 232nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion’s officer-in-charge in Springfield. 

“I have been privileged to serve alongside some of the bravest men and women the nation has to offer,” Hurley said. “We have faced adversity with courage, overcome obstacles with determination and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in defense of our nation or while responding to COVID-19.” 

Hurley said it was by design she selected today to retire from the ILARNG. 

“As a woman in uniform, I’ve had the distinct privilege of witnessing first-hand the incredible progress that we’ve made in breaking down barriers and paving the way for future generations of female Soldiers,” she said. “From the front lines to the highest echelons of command, women have proven time and time again they are capable of achieving anything they set their minds to.” 

Hurley said as she stood on the precipice of retirement, she is profoundly grateful for the countless individuals who have supported her in this journey. 

“To my fellow Soldiers, thank you for your unwavering camaraderie, selfless sacrifice, and steadfast dedication to duty,” she said. “I have never met anyone who works as hard as you do or accomplish the things you do.” 

Hurley took a moment to reflect on her legacy in the military. 

“I’m reminded of the countless lives I’ve had the privilege of touching throughout my career,” she said. “From mentoring young Soldiers or leading by example on the battlefield, each interaction has left an indelible mark on my heart. As I bid farewell to the Army today, I do so with a sense of pride of the things we’ve accomplished together.” 

Hurley also thanked her mentors and leaders for their guidance. 

“Thank you for your guidance, wisdom and your belief in my abilities,” she said. “You truly gave me the courage to be the person I needed to be.” 

Hurley offered advice to her fellow female Soldiers. 

“Never underestimate the power of your voice, the strengths of your convictions or the impact of your actions,” she said. “Together we have the power to shape the future for the next generation of female leaders.” 

Hurley also had a message for all the Soldiers she has served alongside. 

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve alongside each of you. I am forever grateful for the memories we have shared,” she said. “As I embark on a new chapter, I do so with a heart full of gratitude, and a spirit of adventure. Thank you for the privilege to serve with you.”