First African American General Officer to Command the ARNG

Brigadier General (BG) Leland Tony Shepherd:

BG Shepherd is a graduate of Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania with an Associates in Electronic Engineering, a graduate of Philander Smith College, Little Rock, Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Organizational Management, he holds a Master of Arts in Information Technology (IT) Management from Webster University and a Master of Arts in Strategic Studies from the Army War College. BG Shepherd received his Doctoral degree in Executive Leadership from the University of Charleston. He is currently a Regional Vice President of Operations at PODS.

On June 12, 2022, BG Shepherd assumed overall command of the 6,500 members of the Arkansas Army National Guard. 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. BG Shepherd is 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.

BG Shepherd enlisted into the U.S. Army Reserves in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 23, 1992. He attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. He served two years as an X-Ray Technician at Blanchfield Hospital, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. BG Shepherd enlisted in the Arkansas Army National Guard in October 1995. In 1997, BG Shepherd enrolled into Officer Candidate School Class 41 where he received his commission and was appointed as a Second Lieutenant in August 1998.

BG Shepherd’s previous assignments include: Platoon Leader, Co B 212th Signal BN, Benton, Executive Officer, Co A 212th Signal BN, Hot Springs, S-6 Officer, 1-153rd INF BN, Malvern, Company Commander, HHC 1-153rd INF BN, Malvern, S-6 Officer, 39th IBCT; Executive Officer, 39th BSTB, Conway, Commander – 2nd Battalion, 233rd Regiment (RTI), Regimental Commander, 233rd (RTI) and currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff: G6.

BG Shepherd has served two combat tours in Iraq: with the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. His first deployment was in 2004 where he served as the Signal Officer for the 1-153rd Infantry Battalion. His second deployment was in 2008 as the 39th IBCT Signal Officer. He has received the following awards and decorations: Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Meritorious Service Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Operation Iraqi Freedom Service Medal, and numerous other Federal and State Service ribbons. BG Shepherd was awarded 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. BG Shepherd is also a recipient of the Army Legion of Merit award.