SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich pinned a second star on the shoulder of State Adjutant General Randal E. Thomas today, promoting him to the rank of Major General.
“As the commander in chief of the Illinois National Guard, it is my honor to promote Maj. Gen. Thomas,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “His honorable and outstanding service to the Illinois National Guard, our state and nation represents the finest example to the Soldiers and Airmen under his command. His leadership has carried the Illinois National Guard through the difficult times of the ongoing global war on terror and will take the Illinois Army National Guard through its largest transformation since World War II.”
Under the transformation, both Active and Reserve components of the United States Army will work to build a more agile, rapidly deployable force to meet the more diverse threat environment the nation faces today. Illinois is among the first Guard States to begin the transformation with the first of units set to begin the process later this calendar year at the start of FY 2006.
"It means a great deal to me for Governor Blagojevich to bestow this honor on me,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas. “As our Commander in Chief, promoting me today exemplifies the trust and faith you place in your Illinois National Guard. Together we are unwavering in our confidence in the Illinois National Guard and we give unqualified support to these great citizen soldiers of Illinois, who have given so much to protect our homeland and engage fully in the Global War on Terror."
A Vietnam combat veteran, Thomas brings nearly 30 years of military experience to his position as Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. He received his commission as an infantry officer through Ft. Benning, Ga., in 1967 and served three years on active duty, including a tour in Vietnam, where he earned the Bronze Star with Valor device and the Purple Heart.
Thomas returned to military service in 1983, when he joined the Illinois Army National Guard. During his career as a part-time drilling Guardsman, he has commanded Company C, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry in Litchfield; 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry, Urbana; the 129th Regional Training Institute, Springfield; and the 66th Infantry Brigade, Decatur. Prior to being appointed Adjutant General in June 2003, Thomas completed 30 years as a public school teacher in Illinois.
As the 36th Adjutant General of Illinois, Thomas acts as the governor’s principal advisor on military matters. He serves as the senior officer in both the Illinois Army and Air National Guard chain of command and is responsible for daily operations of the Illinois National Guard and the Illinois Department of Military Affairs.