Gov. Pritzker Appoints Brig. Gen. Rodney Boyd New Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard
Brig. Gen. Rodney Boyd to Become First African American to Command the State’s Army National Guard
SPRINGFIELD, IL (STL.News) Governor JB Pritzker and Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the Adjutant General of Illinois, and Commander of the Illinois National Guard, have selected Brig. Gen. Rodney Boyd as the next Assistant Adjutant General – Army.
As the Assistant Adjutant General, Boyd will become the first African American officer to command the 10,000 Soldiers of the Illinois Army National Guard. Boyd will replace Maj. Gen. Michael Zerbonia, who retires at the end of July after more than 38 years of military service.
“I am honored to appoint General Rodney Boyd Assistant Adjutant General -Army of the Illinois National Guard, making him the first Black soldier to hold the position in the state. This historic moment, while long overdue, is proof not only of Boyd’s excellent qualifications but also a testament to the Guard’s commitment to advancing service members and ensuring senior leadership reflects the diversity of our great state,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “On behalf of all Illinois residents, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Maj. Gen. Michael Zerbonia for his decades of exemplary service and wish him well in his retirement.”
Brig. Gen. Boyd’s career accomplishments make him exceptionally qualified for the position.
“We considered many qualified candidates however none could match General Boyd’s unique military and civilian experience and professional qualifications. Boyd represents a success story for the Illinois National Guard. We hope it also inspires all Soldiers and Airmen to see a path to senior leadership, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. The strength of the Illinois National Guard requires that we include the viewpoints and award the talents and hard work of many different leaders from diverse backgrounds,” Maj. Gen. Neely said. “Major General Zerbonia deserves our gratitude for almost four decades of exceptional service to the US Army, the National Guard and to the Illinois State Police. His legacy is the many service members he has helped excel in the military and in life, including General Boyd.”
Brig. Gen. Boyd said he is honored to be selected for command of the Illinois Army National Guard.
“There is a tremendous amount of talent in the Illinois National Guard of all different backgrounds. General Neely is making diversity and inclusion a priority to ensure we are developing and tapping into all that talent. I hope that young Soldiers look at this appointment and realize the Illinois National Guard is an organization that strives for equal opportunity for all,” Brig. Gen. Boyd said.
Brig. Gen. Boyd is a decorated combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, where he earned the combat action badge. He is a proven leader who commanded the 108th Sustainment Brigade and has held key command and staff positions throughout his career, including experience in strategic planning. He has had a successful civilian career in law enforcement and as a consultant for military training.
In his civilian life, Brig. Gen. Boyd served with the Bellwood Police Department for 23 years, working his way up from a patrolman in 1990 to the Chief of Police in 2011. After retiring from the Bellwood Police Department in 2013, Brig. Gen. Boyd worked as a vice president for operations for JP Morgan Chase Bank and as a supervisory criminal investigator for the Northwestern University Police Department. Since April 2018, he has worked for MAG Aerospace, which supports the Army National Guard Mission Command Training Support Program.
Brig. Gen. Boyd began his military career as an enlisted Marine Corps Reservist in 1982. After completing his enlistment with the Marines, he joined the Illinois Army National Guard. From 1989 until 1990, he attended the Illinois Army National Guard Officer Candidate School, receiving his commission as a second lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps in August 1990.
Brig. Gen. Boyd’s military education includes Quartermaster Officer Basic Course, Quartermaster Officer Advance Course, Transportation Officer Advance Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School (CAS3), Intermediate Leadership Education Course, Theater Sustainment Command Course, Combat Service Support Pre-Command Course, the U.S. Army War College, and the Joint Combined Warfighter School-Hybrid.
He has held many leadership and staff positions during his more than 35 years of service to include company, battalion and brigade command and multiple staff positions in operations and logistics at all levels. He was deployed to Afghanistan as an ammunition officer with the 33rd Area Support Group from 2004 to 2005, where he received the Combat Action Badge. In 2007 to 2008 he deployed to Iraq and then deployed to Kuwait in 2014, both with the 108th Sustainment Brigade.
Some of his military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2nd Award), National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with one Campaign Star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
Brig. Gen. Boyd received a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Northern Illinois University, a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, and a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College. Brig. Gen. Boyd has been married to Darlene Boyd for over 30 years and they have two sons (Rodney Jr. and Randy) and one grandson.