CHICAGO – Dixon native Henry S. Dixon has a new rank and a new home after being promoted in a ceremony Friday in Chicago.
Dixon, son of former Lee County State’s Attorney Henry S. Dixon Sr. and Linda Giesen, also an attorney, was promoted to brigadier general.
His next assignment is to serve as deputy director of operations, J3, U.S. Northern Command, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, according to a news release from the Illinois National Guard.
As a result of the promotion, Dixon is returning to the U.S. after a year in Elblag, Poland, where he was deputy chief of staff operations, NATO Multinational Division Northeast.
The career move is just the latest for Dixon, who has been serving in the military since he enlisted in the Illinois National Guard in July 1987. He was commissioned as an infantry officer through the University of Illinois Reserve Officer Training Corps in May 1989.
During the promotion ceremony, Maj. Gen. Michael Zerbonia praised Dixon for his efforts and accomplishments in his long career.
“You’re probably wondering how to make a general. You don’t stay in one job too long,” Zerbonia said. “You go to broadening assignments. You make sure you have a diverse background, and you’re not afraid to go to Poland.”
At the ceremony, Dixon said he could not have imagined being part of such an event when he first enlisted.
“This is an amazing moment. Thirty years ago, cadet and almost lieutenant Dixon would have been happy to achieve the rank of major and be satisfied with a little career to be able to serve his country,” he said.
He thanked his wife, MaryPat, and his family and friends for their continued support and sacrifice in his career, which included being away from home for extended periods of time.
A few role models also had a heavy influence on him, such as Patrick Blanchard, inspector general of Cook County and Brig. Gen. Mark Jackson, who Dixon said has been mentoring him throughout his career.