Illinois man receives National Guard promotion in underwater ceremony

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — A member of Illinois Army National Guard’s 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD) based in Springfield underwent an unusual promotion Sunday.

Ian Withrow, a native of Galesburg, Illinois, assigned to the Illinois Army National Guard’s 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD) based in Springfield, Illinois was promoted to the rank of sergeant during an underwater ceremony at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on Dec. 6.

Withrow, a 2009 graduate of Springfield Southeast High School in Springfield, Illinois has been part of the Illinois National Guard for more than five years. In June, Withrow and the 139th MPAD were mobilized for a nine-month deployment to Cuba.

Withrow said making sergeant is one of the biggest accomplishments of his military career and it validates his hard work. Some of the most unique opportunities he has experienced have come while wearing a uniform, he said.

“From flying in a helicopter, to traveling the world, to meeting interesting and unusual people, I owe the Army a great debt of gratitude for allowing me to do things I might never have done before,” Withrow said. “Being promoted underwater is one of those wild, amazing opportunities.”

Withrow lives with his wife Letisha in Springfield, Illinois.

The 139th MPAD is expected to return home in the spring of 2016.