Illinois National Guard Chief of Staff retires after over three decades of service

Local News

After over 30 years of service in the Illinois Army National Guard, Col. Joseph Schweickert of Peoria retired Jan. 31.

Schweickert served as the Illinois National Guard Chief of Staff since January 2018. 

“I wasn’t under contract at that time, but at the urging of a friend, I started taking courses through the ROTC program at Knox College in Galesburg,” Schweickert said. “I then joined the Illinois National Guard in 1986, completed basic training and began drilling with my National Guard unit.”

He spent the first half of his career serving as a traditional Illinois National Guard Soldier, drilling one weekend a month and two weeks a year before transitioning to an Active Duty Guard Soldier. During Schweickert’s time as a part-time Soldier, he worked as a Field Office Manager in the market research field with Dimension Research, Inc.

Among his military awards, Schweickert earned a Defense Meritorious Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars; Humanitarian Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; NATO Medal; Illinois Abraham Lincoln Medal of Freedom and the Silver Medal of the Polish Army.

Schweickert and his wife, Debby, have four children.

“The Illinois National Guard provided me with opportunities to travel around the world,” he said. “I probably would never been able to travel around the world, and make friends in foreign countries, if not for the opportunities offered by the Illinois National Guard.”

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