Barry McNamara  |   Published November 04, 2019

Honoring Veterans

Brig. Gen. Chris Lawson ’88 to deliver keynote address at Nov. 11 Veterans Day event.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – An alumnus who used his ROTC experience at Monmouth College as a springboard to become a brigadier general in the Army will be the featured speaker at a Veterans Day ceremony on campus on Nov. 11.

CHRIS LAWSON: Participated in ROTC when he was a Monmouth student. CHRIS LAWSON: Participated in ROTC when he was a Monmouth student.Brig. Gen. Chris Lawson ’88 of Chatham, Ill., will return to his alma mater for the ceremony, which will be held at 4 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Great Room on the main floor of the Center for Science and Business. It is free and open to the public.

The Veterans Day event was organized by Monmouth staff member Nicole Trego, who is also a veteran.

“Veterans Day is the perfect time to remember those who served our country and I think it is important that we show those who are connected to the military on our campus that we see them, we recognize their service and we appreciate their sacrifice,” she said.

Trego credited another veteran on the Monmouth staff, Andy Davis, for being “instrumental” to the planning of the event.

“Andy’s connection to Gen. Lawson and his willingness to offer his expertise made the event possible,” she said. “Having Gen. Lawson speak at the ceremony will probably be the highlight of my entire day.”

Lawson and his brothers, fellow Monmouth alumni John Lawson ’87 and Alex Lawson ’89, have all had military careers. They were profiled in a Monmouth College Magazine article titled “Band of Brothers.”

“The writing, speaking and analytical abilities I learned at Monmouth have really helped me in the military,” Lawson said in the article. “I’m a better officer, a better man and better leader for having that component at Monmouth. … Discovery learning is required (in the military), and my experiences in that area are firmly rooted in Monmouth.”

Lawson began his military service in 1985 while a Monmouth student, enlisting in the field artillery in the Illinois Army National Guard. After completing Monmouth’s ROTC program, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. The year he graduated, Lawson was commissioned as a medical service corps officer and later branch transferred as a quartermaster officer in the Illinois National Guard.

Lawson has served as a company commander; as commander of the 634th Forward Support Battalion, 66th Infantry Brigade Logistics Integration Support Team, Illinois Army National Guard Recruiting Command, 108th Sustainment Brigade; and as deputy task force commander of Task Force White Eagle of the Polish Land Forces. He served as the 1st joint chief of staff for the Illinois Joint Force Headquarters of the Illinois National Guard and the 6th chief of staff of the National Guard Joint Staff for the National Guard Bureau. Lawson also served as the Chief of Sustainment for the storied 3rd Army, U.S. Army Central.

Lawson supported military operations in Bolivia, Germany and Poland. He deployed to Germany in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002. He also deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008 and to Afghanistan in 2013 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Lawson has also traveled to the Middle East multiple times in support of Operations Inherent Resolve, Freedom Sentinel and Spartan Shield from 2015-17.

The former vice director J5 for the National Guard Bureau, Lawson is now the principal adviser to the National Guard Bureau J5 director on matters of national military strategy, joint strategic plans and international affairs. He advises and coordinates with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Combatant Commanders, Service Chiefs and State Joint Force Headquarters. Lawson also provides planning guidance and coordination to states in the development of national and regional plans in support of National Guard response to domestic emergencies and interagency/international affairs and partnering.

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