First African American Group Commander188th Fighter Wing

Lieutenant Colonel (Lt. Col.) Anderson Neal, Jr.:

Lt. Col. Neal served as State Diversity Officer for the Arkansas National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters, Camp J.T. Robinson, North Little Rock. He assumed this position in March 2015, with more than 29 years’ service in the Arkansas Air National Guard.

Lt. Col. Neal was born in Fitzhugh, Arkansas on August 2, 1956, and graduated from Augusta High School in 1974. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Plant Science with emphasis on soils from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, in 1978. Upon graduation he began a 37-year career with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Neal has served in numerous positions and offices throughout the state of Arkansas from 1979 to 2009. He retired in 2015 as Deputy Director for the Office of Advocacy and Outreach, USDA, Washington, D.C.

Lt. Col. Neal enlisted in May 1985, with the 188th Fighter Wing, Fort Smith as Airman First Class. Neal completed Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas and subsequently began technical training in aircraft maintenance as a crew chief at Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, Texas. He also served as senior student leader (Red Rope). He received his non-commissioned officer certification in April of 1988.

Lt. Col. Neal attended the Academy of Military Science, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Knoxville, Tennessee and was commissioned on April 4, 1989, as a Transportation Officer. He completed the Reserve Officer Transportation Training Course at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas in 1990. Lt. Col. Neal completed Squadron Officer School by correspondence in 1994. In 1996, he was assigned Officer-in-Charge of the Management and Systems office in supply until January of 2001, when he was assigned as Chief of Supply until April 2001. Lt. Col. Neal assumed Command of the 188th Maintenance Squadron from April 2001 through 2005.

He was activated with the 188th for one year in support of Operation Noble Eagle following the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in New York. Neal served as Inspector General for the 188th Fighter Wing from December 2005 until assigned as Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Commander, 189th Airlift Wing, Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, Arkansas in 2007. On May 14, 2011, he served as Director of Maintenance for the Joint Force Headquarters, Arkansas Air National Guard, located at Camp Robinson. Lt. Col. Anderson Neal Jr. assumed command of the 188th Maintenance Group at a ceremony at the 188th Fighter Wing December 2, 2012. Lt. Col. Neal was the first African American to serve as a Group Commander in the 188th Fighter Wing, Arkansas Air National Guard. He also served on the National Guard Association of Arkansas (NGAA) Board of Directors from 2005 to 2009 and presided as President from April 2008 to April 2009. Lt. Col. Anderson Neal retired from the Arkansas Air National Guard on July 1, 2016.