Neely Named Illinois National Guard's Chief of the Joint Staff Print
News Releases - Crime/Courts
Written by Illinois National Guard PAO   
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 10:43

SPRINGFIELD, IL (11/05/2012)(readMedia)-- Illinois Air National Guardsman Col. Rich Neely of Springfield was named the Illinois National Guard's Chief of the Joint Staff today by Maj. Gen. Dennis Celletti of Springfield, Acting Adjutant General at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.

Although an Airman, Neely has led the Illinois Army National Guard's Directorate of Information Management for the last two years as the Chief Information Officer.

"As an Airman who led an Army directorate, Col. Neely is perfect for this position," Celletti said. "His work as the lead planner during the NATO Summit this spring, as well as his past experience in communications, logistics, finance and domestic operations, has prepared him to take the Joint Staff to new heights."

This position oversees the Illinois National Guard's domestic operations as well as various programs such as family programs, counterdrug, International State Partnership Program, civil support and chemical, biological, radiological/nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) enhanced response force package (CERFP).

He will replace Illinois Army National Guardsman Col. Chris Lawson of Springfield who will deploy early next year to Afghanistan with Bilateral Embedded Staff Team 11 as the deputy task force commander for a Polish task force.

"Rich is a brilliant and talented senior officer who will excel as the Chief of the Joint Staff. He understands the environment and players in the joint community at the international, federal, state and local levels," Lawson said. "He knows how to cultivate unity of effort to achieve results for the Illinois Air and Army National Guard."

Neely started his military career as a U.S. Army Reservist in 1984. He transitioned to the Illinois Air National Guard in 1987, then commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1990. His most recent military assignment was commander of 183rd Air Component Operations Squadron (ACOS), 183rd Air Operations Group at the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield.

Other highlights of Neely's career include chief of logistics plans and programs, financial officer, wing executive officer, communications flight commander and Illinois Air National Guard Deputy United States Property and Fiscal officer. He has also deployed overseas twice in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

"Each one of my jobs has prepared me for this position," Neely said. "I am humbled to be selected for this position and look forward to continue to serve the citizens of Illinois in this new capacity. Col. Lawson is an incredible leader and strategic visionary who is regarded nationally as one of the best Chiefs of Staff within the National Guard. I am fortunate to follow such a great officer and Soldier."