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Kelley served in Iraq, Germany and South America

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas C. Kelley III served in Baldan, Iraq. CONTRIBUTED
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas C. Kelley III served in Baldan, Iraq. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Retired Lieutenant Colonel Thomas C. ‘Trey’ Kelley III entered the military as a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. in 1986.

“I spent a year there before transferring to Furman University in Greenville, S.C., where I joined Army Reserve Officer Training Corps. I served simultaneously in 151st Signal Battalion in South Carolina National Guard,” Kelley said.

He graduated as Distinguished Military Graduate from ROTC at Furman and was commissioned as active-duty Second Lieutenant. After 22 years of service, he retired on Jan. 1, 2012.

After Rotary Wing Aviator Course at Fort Rucker, he deployed with Aeroscout Platoon, Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment in Katterbach, Germany. Also in Katterbach, Kelley worked in Assistant S-3 Plans and Operations and Battalion Intelligence Officer/S-2.

In 1995, he completed courses for Military Intelligence Officer and Special Electronic Mission Aircraft at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. and Fixed Wing Multi-Engine at Fort Rucker. He then served as Battalion Logistics Officer/S-4, Military Intelligence Battalion at Orlando Naval Training Center, Fla., and Battalion Assistant S-3 Training, 204th Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Reconnaissance) at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Also at Fort Bliss, he was Charlie Company Commander, 204th Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Reconnaissance). From 1999-2002, Kelley served as Aviation Detachment Commander, U.S. Army Parachute Team (The Golden Knights) at Fort Bragg, N.C.

In 2002-2003, he was a student at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He then was Assistant Product Manager for Shorts C-23 Sherpa Army cargo aircraft fleet, Fixed Wing Product Management Office on Redstone Arsenal.

Also at Redstone Arsenal, Kelley worked as Procurement Officer and Executive Officer for Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter and Unmanned Aircraft Systems; Assistant Product Manager, Joint Cargo Aircraft Product Directorate; and Product Director for Unmanned Systems Airspace Integration Concepts. He also flew counter-narcotics missions in South America.

“I was Science & Technology Advisor to Combined Joint Task Force Paladin, Operation Enduring Freedom, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan,” Kelley said. In 2010-2011, he was Director for External Programs (FMS), Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project Management Office at Redstone Arsenal.

Originally from Nashville, he also has a master’s degree in computer resource and information management from Webster University and credential of Project Management Professional (PMP) with Project Management Institute. Currently, Kelley is a Program Manager for SAIC as a senior acquisition analyst supporting Fixed Wing Project Management Office.

His wife Viva Kelley, an Army Civilian, is an aerospace engineer. Their children are Karrie Gaskin, 27, and family of Mobile; Thomas Kelley, 24, Navy civilian aerospace engineer in Jacksonville, Fla. and entering Air National Guard for Officer Training School and Undergraduate Pilot Training for F-15s; and Taylor, 21, third-year cadet at U.S. Military Academy at West Point majoring in mechanical engineering.

The Kelleys support charities like Fisher House and animal rescue organizations.

His hobbies are playing guitar and ukulele, reading, fishing, bird hunting and travelling with Viva.v

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