Shepherd to be first Black commander of Arkansas Army National Guard

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 5,373 views 

Col. Leland Shepherd, incoming brigadier general of the Arkansas Army National Guard

Col. Leland Shepherd, a native of Guyana, South America, will be promoted Sunday (June 12) to the rank of Brigadier General and assume command of the Arkansas Army National Guard. Shepherd will be the first Black general officer to command the Arkansas Guard.

The command ceremony will be 10 a.m. Sunday at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock.

Shepherd will assume overall command of the 6,500 Army Guardsmen from Brig. Gen. Bradley J. Cox, who will become the Arkansas National Guard director of the joint staff. The Arkansas Army National Guard consists of four brigades: 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 77th Theater Aviation Brigade, 87th Troop Command, and the 142nd Field Artillery Brigade.

Shepherd will be the first Black general officer to command the Arkansas Army National Guard and just the second Black general officer in the Arkansas Army National Guard. The first Black general officer was Brig. Gen. William Johnson who pinned on the rank on Oct. 16, 2007. Johnson retired in 2012.

Shepherd has a doctoral degree in executive leadership from the University of Charleston in West Virginia. He has a master’s degree in information technology management from Webster University, Mo., and a master’s degree in stratmgic studies from the Army War College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Philander Smith College in Little Rock.

He served two combat tours in Iraq. One in 2004 and one in 2008 as a signal officer on each deployment. He’s been awarded the following medals: Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Iraqi Freedom Service Medal.

He’s also been awarded the Combat Action Badge, and the prestigious Order of Mercury, Bronze; for the highest standards of integrity, moral character, professional competence and selflessness, for those who have contributed significantly to the Army Signal Corps.