LCol/Lcol P.J. Kelly, CD
After more than 26 years of loyal and dedicated service to the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Military Engineers Branch, LCol Peter Kelly, CD, retired on 26 March 2022. LCol Kelly will have a Depart with Dignity celebration at the Major E.J.G. Holland VC Armoury, Senior Ranks Mess, 2100 Walkley Rd, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K2 on Saturday 22 October 2022 between 1500 hrs and 1700 hrs, with presentations at 1530 hrs. Dress is civilian attire. Anecdotes and retirement wishes may be sent Cpl P.C. Goemans at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pete e grew up in Arnolds Cove NL, joined army cadets, travelled the world (UK, Wales on exchanges) met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip when he received the Duke of Edinburgh's award. He learned early on that he did not want to stay in Arnolds Cove NL.
In September 1995, he started university at Memorial University - St John's NL, majoring in Computer Science. In February 1996, Pete enrolled Feb 96 - 56 Field Engineer Sqn, St John's NL and was awarded top candidate on his Phase 2 officer course in 1998.
In 1999 as Troop Commander at 56 FES, he won the Gzowski Cup for best Troop Level Task ARCON 99. Shortly afterwards, he got his first full time programming job (working with the DCO at 56) who he “blames” for requiring an extra 2 terms to graduate due to a reduced course load to manage both jobs.
In December 1999, Pete graduated from university. A month later, he transferred to 3 FES in Ottawa where he became a troop commander again, what he passionately refers to as “the best damned job in the army”.
In 2001, he was awarded top candidate for the Reserve Engineer Tp Commander Course. Back at 3 FES, he performed a number of roles including Troop Commander, Course Officer for numerous Driver Wheeled courses, Adjutant, Ops O, and more in addition to a number of career courses and summer concentrations.
Around the time when 3 FES became 33 CER, Pete was considering releasing from Pres as he “started to lose the joy as it was becoming repetitive”. Then he met Brian Laughton, who reinvigorated his desire to continue with his reserve service. Everything that followed, was “Brian’s fault”.
Pete was the first OC of 5 SQN at LFA in the Orleans, with Carl Kletke as his SSM, where together they build 5 SQN and the armouries from the ground up.
In 2010 he attended the Army Operations Course (AOC), then was OC 3 Squadron where he and Carl Kletke worked together again. He participated in the NATO Engineer Operational Planning Course in Germany.
Starting in 2011, Pete was DCO 33 CER for Peter Cianfaglione. During that time, he did the Eng OC role with the TBG for a couple of training cycles and learned lots as he had lots of opportunities to lead. He participated in Exercise Javelin Thrust with the USMC in Camp Pendleton where he had the Engineer CO role. In 2014-2015, he worked with JCSP 41 - Advanced Joint Warfare Stream.
In September 2015, Pete was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and assumed Command 33 CER, with Carl Kletke once again as his fire team partner for the 1st 1/2 of his term. During this time, he was also the TBG CO for a while. Garnet Hunter was his fire-team partner for the back half of his term as CO. He handed over command to Frank Maloney in September 2019, then moved to Director Reserves and Employer Support as the Liaison Officer for the NCR.
When COVID, his children asked him to spend more time with them, at which point he realized he spent way too much time doing reserve stuff and needed to enjoy time with them while they are still around. He decided to Transfer to the sup res, and spend his final day in uniform in March 22.
In August 2022, he was asked to come back into Bde HQ, to which he said "no" as “my decision was made with my family earlier this year”.
Big thing for Pete since relinquishing command is that he got my head sorted out, The COVID break was a good eye opener for him. He was too busy for too long doing things that were not necessarily important, although at the time he thought they were. He has put ~25k on his 5 bikes (Road, Gravel, Mtb, Fat and Trainer) since the pandemic started and even though he considers himself to be “chunky with the aerodynamic profile of a sheet of plywood”, his resting heart rate is now in the mid 40's. He remains just as busy, but now it is by coaching both his children’s teams as head coach and refereeing about 10 ringette games a week, sometimes with his daughter.
In Pete’s words: “I enjoyed every second of my reserve service, I learned a hell of a lot about myself through the process and most importantly met some outstanding people and made some lifelong friends.”