Rodney Boyd becomes highest-ranking Black officer of color in Illinois National Guard history

Brig. Gen. Rodney Boyd was promoted to Maj. Gen. after receiving his second star in his...
Brig. Gen. Rodney Boyd was promoted to Maj. Gen. after receiving his second star in his hometown of Chicago. (Source: KEYC)(KEYC News Now)
Published: Feb. 4, 2023 at 12:30 PM CST
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CHICAGO, Ill. (KFVS) - Rodney Boyd was promoted to Major General after receiving his second star.

On February 4, Governor JB Pritzker promoted Brigadier General Rodney Boyd, from Chicago, Ill., to Maj. Gen., making him the highest-ranking Black and officer of color in the 300-year history of the Illinois National Guard.

The governor thanked Maj. Gen. Boyd for his service to the State of Illinois.

“I’m honored to congratulate Maj. Gen. Rodney Boyd on his promotion--becoming the highest-ranking Black and officer of color in the Illinois National Guard’s history,” said Gov. Pritzker. “This promotion speaks to the progress the Illinois National Guard has made in ensuring historically underrepresented communities are fairly represented within its ranks and given the same opportunities to excel as everyone else. Major General, congratulations on this extraordinary achievement—and on behalf of the State of Illinois, thank you for your service.”

Maj. Gen. Boyd received his second star promotion in his hometown of Chicago at the Carver Military Academy.

Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton officiated the ceremony and said this promotion is a milestone.

“The promotion of Rodney Boyd to major general is a tremendous milestone for the Illinois National Guard and a major step forward for our state,” said Lt. Gov. Stratton. “As we turn to the voices of leaders and trailblazers this Black History Month, I’m proud to raise up Gen. Boyd for making his mark and contributing to this chapter of American History. His leadership and dedication to service has built a legacy that will inspire future generations to reach new heights.”

According to a release from the Office of Governor JB Pritzker, Maj. Gen. Boyd expressed feeling humbled and honored to be promoted to this position.

Maj. Gen. Boyd named officers Brig. Gen. Alicia Tate-Nadeau, Lieutenant. Colonel Tammy Duckworth, Brig. Gen. Walt Whitfield and Brig. Gen. Richard Jones as those who helped pave the way for him and future Illinois National Guard leaders. Maj. Gen. Boyd said he stands on the shoulders of giants to achieve this second star.

“There are many minority leaders who have made their mark on the proud history of the Illinois National Guard,” Maj. Gen. Boyd said. “Seeing someone that looks like you in the upper echelons can serve as an inspiration.”

Maj. Gen. Boyd said a historic achievement like this never belongs to one person. He thanked his family, his wife Darlene and his boss Maj. Gen. Neely.

Maj. Gen. Boyd has many military achievements, including his service as a U.S. Marine and Assistant Adjutant General--Army of the Illinois National Guard and Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard. He worked in law enforcement for decades and was vice president of JP Morgan Bank and a supervisory criminal investigator for the Northwestern University Police Department.