CHICAGO- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today appointed Chicago native and Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, Sergeant Major (Ret) Sergio Estrada Jr. as the new Acting Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA). Mr. Estrada’s appointment requires State Senate confirmation.
“Not only has Sergio Estrada Jr. honorably served his country for many years as a Marine, but he has continued to go above and beyond the call duty, assisting veterans throughout Illinois as our Division Supervisor. I know that as the Acting Assistant Director of Veterans’ Affairs, he will work hard with Tammy Duckworth to help make sure we’re doing the best we can so that every Illinois veteran is getting the assistance and services they’ve earned,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
Mr. Estrada Jr. will work closely with Director Duckworth, to step up IDVA’s efforts to reach out to veterans across Illinois and will focus on streamlining and modernizing the tracking and delivery of services the Department provides to nearly one million Illinois veterans.
“I am so pleased that Sergio has accepted the position as Acting Assistant Director. He comes to us with first hand experience as Division Supervisor of our Veteran Service Officers. He also has 27 years of service in the United States Marine Corps. The veterans of Illinois and I are very lucky to have him join the leadership team for the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs,” added IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth.
A Chicago native and current resident of soutwest suburban Shorewood, Mr. Estrada Jr. brings years of service and crucial one-on-one experience with service members and veterans to his new post as IDVA Assistant Director.
Mr. Estrada Jr. will transfer to Acting Assistant Director from his current position as Northern Division Supervisor for IDVA. Since January of 2006, Mr. Estrada Jr. has managed and directly supervised 33 of the state’s Veteran Service Officers in 27 offices throughout Northern Illinois as the Northern Division Supervisor. Among his duties were to enhance community outreach; speak to groups and organizations on behalf of the Department about the services available to veterans; coordinate open-houses for new field offices; and to provide administrative services to the Veteran Service Officers serving Illinois’ veterans.
“I am honored to be appointed by Governor Blagojevich as Acting Assistant Director for the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. I look forward in assisting Director Duckworth in making our agency one of the leaders in our nation in helping those veterans and their families who sacrificed so much. I look forward to the challenges ahead to make this agency one of the best in the State of Illinois,” Estrada said.
Enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in January of 1979, Mr. Estrada Jr. served in a number of locations and various positions throughout his 27 years of service including Machine Gunner Team Leader, Section Leader, Drill Instructor with Medical Rehabilitation Platoon and Physical Conditioning Platoon, Company Gunnery Sergeant and Operation Chief. He also served as the Squadron Sergeant Major aboard the USS Roosevelt in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In 2003, Mr. Estrada Jr. served in Kuwait in support of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon returning from overseas, Mr. Estrada Jr. reported for duty with the Inspector-Instructor Staff, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines in Chicago. He retired from the United States Marine Corps in 2005, completing 27 years of active duty.
As a United States Marine, Mr. Estrada Jr. received the Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star in lieu of second award, Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star in lieu of second award, and a Navy Achievement Medal with Gold Star in lieu of second award.
Mr. Estrada, is bilingual, married, has two children, and enjoys spending time with his family, attending church, and exercising.