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Redbird Battalion alum inducted into ROTC Hall of Fame

Col. Mark Jackson '87

Illinois State University alum Col. Mark Jackson ’87, of Frankfort, Illinois, was selected May 12 as an inductee into the 2016 inaugural class of the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC) Hall of Fame. Jackson was invited to the induction ceremony that will be held June 10 at the United States Army Cadet Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

The Hall of Fame induction is awarded to alumni whose character and distinguished service epitomizes the qualities the Army ROTC embodies. A permanent record of Jackson’s service and accomplishments will be added to the Hall of Fame, and Illinois State University’s ROTC program, from which he received his commission, will receive a duplicate certificate to display.

Jackson said he knew he was nominated in the fall of 2015 by Illinois State University but he was completely shocked to have made it this far.

“This has meant so much to me and I am deeply honored and blessed to be an honoree,” Jackson said. “I could not have gotten this far in my military career without God, my family, great non-commissioned officers who believed enough in me to train me, wonderful commanders who saw something in me to mentor me, and the soldiers who followed me.”

Jackson’s induction coincides with the Army ROTC’s Centennial Commemoration Ceremony, where the program will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

During his time at Illinois State University, Jackson graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, majoring in finance with a minor in military science. Illinois State’s Army ROTC program commissioned him as an Infantry Second Lieutenant. Jackson also holds a Master of Business Administration from Governor’s State University, and is a 2009 graduate of the United States Army War College, with a Master of Strategic Studies.  He is a two-time recipient of the National Guard Association of Illinois’s Outstanding Guardsman Award.

Recently, Jackson was recognized on February 27 when he earned the Legion of Merit, the fourth highest honor for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, for exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service and achievements.

Jackson previously commanded the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Urbana, Illinois, and the 65th Troop Command Brigade in Springfield, Illinois.

He currently serves on the Illinois National Guard’s joint staff as the Director of Operations and Training. He also continues to develop relations with the Illinois National Guard’s Polish counterparts as part of the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program.