top of page

Springfield Soldier Promoted to Major

Tarah McClain of Springfield, the Executive Officer for the Illinois Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion was promoted to major during a ceremony at the Illinois Military Academy, Camp Lincoln.

"I didn’t do this alone,” McClain said. “There’s a lot of people in this room who helped me along the way.”

 McClain enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard in 2001. She deployed to Iraq in 2004 with the Illinois Army National Guard’s 1644th Transportation Company based in Rock Falls as a motor transportation specialist and conducted long distance transportation of equipment and supplies through Iraq and Kuwait.

 From 2006 to 2012, McClain served as a recruiter in the Chicago area and earned the Master Recruiter Badge.

In 2013, McClain received her commission through the Illinois Army National Guard Officer Candidate School and has served in key multiple developmental positions as a training officer, personnel officer, and administrative officer.

“This is an exciting day for Tarah,” said Col. Randy Edwards, Chief of Staff, Illinois Army National Guard. “This is a well-deserved promotion.”

Edwards said he knew the first time he met her; McClain was a leader.

“She cares deeply for Soldiers,” Edwards said. “She’s a team player. No matter the tasking, she was all-in to ensure Soldiers were ready to mobilize for whatever operations came up.”

McClain also served as the commander of Company C, 766th Brigade Engineer Battalion.

“The command of Company C came open about 30 days before our annual training, and we were wondering who we were going to put in that position,” Edwards said. “Tarah volunteered and did a phenomenal job. From that point, we knew who the commander was going to be.”

Edwards also described McClain as a mentor and coach.

“She has led and made things happen,” he said. “Not ruling with an iron fist, but by being a coach and mentor, challenging Soldiers and the unit collectively to complete the mission.”

Edwards thanked McClain’s family for their support.

“Tarah is the rock of your family,” Edwards said. “She is very proud of each of you and praises you every chance she gets. Tarah, I’m excited to see what your future holds.”

McClain thanked her husband Tony, who is also a major in the Illinois Army National Guard, for his support of her career.

“Thank you for your understanding and support of the late nights and time away from home,” she said. “You are my number one cheerleader.”

She also thanked her children, daughters, Amelia and Olivia, and sons, Stephon and Josh.

“Your unwavering faith in me is my greatest source of motivation,” she said. “When I’m gone and return home, I appreciate you welcoming me home with open arms. You are resilient and forgiving and you inspire me every day.”

McClain encouraged her fellow Soldiers to be mentors to their Soldiers.

“In my earlier years, as a recruiter, I began to understand how mentorship works and why it’s so important. My mentors offered guidance and encouragement to move forward and believe in my own potential. In my later years, I try to use everything I learned to give back. My mentors taught me that with the right support you can transform anyone’s career.”

McClain said positive experiences have outweighed the negatives she experienced in her own career.

“I have experienced being undervalued by superficial leadership,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier to be part of this generation of Soldiers. Always strive to improve yourself and be open to different things, different people, and different styles. Challenge yourself by serving with people who are your opposites. It will help you grow as a person, a mentor, and as a Soldier.”


bottom of page