Chicago woman promoted to general first in Illinois National Guard history

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Alicia A. Tate-Nadeau | Illinois National Guard

A Chicago woman recently made history when she was promoted to brigadier general, making her the first female to earn the general rank in the Illinois National Guard.

Alicia A. Tate-Nadeau earned her first star Saturday, according to a statement from the National Guard.

Yet for Nadeau – formerly a colonel in the National Guard – earning her first star has nothing to do with gender.

“Being a leader transcends gender and everything else,” Nadeau said. “I never wanted to be the best female officer. I wanted to be the best officer.”

Generals can typically earn up to four stars, with brigadier being a one-star general. However, it is possible for an officer to earn five-stars, but the last time that happened was in 1950 when Gen. Omar Bradley was promoted.

Maj. Gen. Daniel Krumrei promoted Nadeau – a Delavan native – during a ceremony at Camp Lincoln’s Illinois Military Academy in Springfield. Nadeau was joined by her family, friends and approximately 200 Illinois National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during the service, the statement said.

Nadeau has served in the guard for more than 30 years. She first joined in 1984 after taking a Reserve Officer Training Corps course at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

“After one course I found out I loved it and I was pretty good at it,” she said.

Throughout her career, Nadeau held multiple positions, including various command and director-level positions such as Chief of the Joint Staff; Director of Plans, Operations and Training; 404th Chemical Brigade Deputy Commander; 44th Chemical Battalion Commander and 5th Civil Support Team Commander, the statement said.

She also deployed to Iraq with Multi-National Division as the Chief of Operations, Plans and Public Information.

Yet despite the historic promotion, Nadeau said her greatest accomplishment is not her career, but her children.

“The men and women I’ve served have been amazing, but the two people who have taken the brunt every time duty calls are those two kids,” she said. “They’re my biggest supporters and I could not have done it without them.”

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