Brig. Gen. Mark C. Jackson is the U.S. Army Africa deputy commanding general. He also serves as the Illinois National Guard joint staff director and is responsible for developing and coordinating all policies, programs and plans in joint matters that affect Illinois' 13,000 Army and Air National Guard personnel, as well as integration and coordination of National Guard capabilities in support of homeland defense and defense support to civil authorities operations.
Jackson has over 35 years of military service. He joined the Illinois Army National Guard in June 1984. He commissioned as a second lieutenant in May 1987 after completing the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Illinois State University.
He has served in every leadership position from platoon leader to brigade commander, and in many staff officer assignments culminating with his selection to serve as the Illinois National Guard assistant adjutant general – Army following his successful completion as the J3 for the Illinois National Guard.
Jackson has supported military operations in Poland, Ecuador, Kuwait, Germany, Belgium and Italy. He deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from January 2005 to May 2006 as the Task Force Blackhawk commander with the 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment. He served as a force protection liaison officer under Task Force Santa Fe with U.S. Army Europe from January 2002 to August 2002 for Operation Enduring Freedom. He also deployed to Kuwait from August 2000 to February 2001 as the security force commander with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment for Operation Desert Spring.
Jackson holds an associate’s degree in business administration from Parkland College, a bachelor’s degree in finance from Illinois State University, a Master of Business Administration from Governor’s State University, and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. He also holds a diploma as a sound engineer and music producer.
His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit; the Bronze Star Medal; Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Commendation Medal with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster; Army Achievement Medal with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with 1 Silver Oak Leaf Cluster and 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters; National Defense Service Medal with 1 Bronze Service Star; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Iraqi Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Mobilization Device, Gold Hourglass Device, and Numeral 3; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon with Numeral 3; Combat Infantryman’s Badge and Parachutist Badge.
Jackson retired from the Illinois State Police in June 2015, after 25 years serving as a motorcycle patrol officer and commercial vehicle enforcement officer.Download full-resolution image of Brigadier General Mark C. Jackson