SPRINGFIELD — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has named an Air Force officer to lead the Illinois National Guard.
The Democratic governor announced Wednesday that Illinois Air National Guard Col. Richard R. Neely of Springfield will be the state's 40th adjutant general.
Neely will be promoted to brigadier general soon after assuming leadership duties Feb. 15.
The 33-year military veteran replaces Maj. Gen. Richard Hayes. Hayes has been adjutant general since 2015. He is retiring after more than 33 years of service.
Neely is just the second Air Force officer to lead the Illinois guard. The first was Maj. Gen. Harold Holesinger. He retired in 1991.
Most recently Neely was Air National Guard principal deputy director for operations and deputy director for cyber and space operations at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.