First African American Judge Advocate General

Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Claudell Woods:

LTC Woods is a native of McNeil, Arkansas. In 1979, he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics and Political Science from Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia. He later attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville where he received a Juris Doctorate Degree in 1982.

LTC Woods practiced as staff attorney with East Arkansas Legal Services in West Memphis, Arkansas from 1982 to 1984. He began his military career in February 1975, as a member of Combat Support Company, 3rd Battalion, 153rd Infantry, 39th Infantry Brigade. LTC Woods later attended the Arkansas Military Department Officer Candidate School Class #20. Upon completion, he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 153rd Infantry as a Rifle Platoon Leader, Redeye Section Leader, Chemical Officer/Assistant S3 and S1.

In 1984, LTC Woods was the first African American Full-Time Judge Advocate General (JAG) Officer for the Arkansas National Guard. His primary duty was to advise the Adjutant General on all legal matters. Additionally, he aided the National Guard Bureau with litigation pertaining to Arkansas. He reviewed contracts and rendered legal opinions on other military matters.

In 1990, LTC Woods left the Judge Advocate General position to reenter private practice. He also served as chairman of the Department of History, Political Science and Geography at Southern Arkansas University.

LTC Woods retired from the Arkansas Army National Guard in 1990 with over 25 years of military service.