Tara L. DeJanovich, a resident of Springfield and native of Winchester, Illinois, was recently promoted to colonel in the Illinois Air National Guard.
DeJanovich, the Deputy United States Property and Fiscal Officer (USPFO) for the Illinois National Guard, is now one of only two female colonels serving in the Illinois Air National Guard, the other being Col. Asheleigh Gellner, the Vice Commander of the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria.
“I’ve been told ‘no’ many times throughout my career,” DeJanovich said. “If you have the desire to do something, and you’re told ‘no,’ keep working hard and keep going because that’s persistence – to keep bettering yourself with whatever that goal is.”
DeJanovich enlisted in the Air National Guard in May 1996 and was trained as a Financial Services Apprentice. In December 2000, she deployed in support of Operation Southern Watch to Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia and deployed again in October 2004 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
After serving almost nine years as an enlisted member in a variety of financial management positions, she received her commission in April 2005 from the Academy of Military Science, McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee.
After receiving her commission, DeJanovich was assigned first as a budget officer and then as Commander of the 183rd Wing Comptroller Flight where she led a group of 12 military and civilian members providing financial services to the wing’s more than 900 personnel. She worked with both the Air National Guard’s financial management office and Illinois’ United States Property and Fiscal Officer on fiscal matters and budget actions. She also served on the Air National Guard Comptroller Advisory Board starting in 2014 and held the role of chairperson from 2017-2020.
In March 2020, DeJanovich was assigned to the 183rd Wing Force Support Squadron where she led a group of 40 military and civilian employees providing personnel services to the Wing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in public administration, both from the University of Illinois.
In October 2021 DeJanovich was selected to serve as the Deputy United States Property and Fiscal Officer, serving under Army National Guard Col. Brian Creech. The USPFO receives and accounts for all federal funds and property in possession of the Illinois National Guard and ensures federal funds are legally and properly obligated and expended. The USPFO also provides financial and logistical resources for maintaining federal property provided to the Illinois National Guard.
DeJanovich said that she encourages stepping outside of a person’s comfort zone.
“That’s what I’ve been doing over the past year,” said DeJanovich. “It’s been a whole new environment for me. Even though we’re all one military we have our own different languages to figure out. It’s been a big learning curve, but it’s been a good challenge at the same time.”
This piece is written by Staff Sgt. Gerardo Valdes from the Joint Force Headquarters – Illinois National Guard Public Affairs. Want to feature your story? Send your draft here today.