Colonel (Ret.) Carl D. Kelly, Jr.
U.S. Army Special Forces Regiment.
Colonel (Retired) Carl D. Kelly graduated from the University of Central Missouri and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1992. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Central Missouri, a Masters in Military Operational Art and Science from the Air Command and Staff College, and a Masters in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
Colonel (Retired) Kelly’s assignments include service in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York in the 1/7th Field Artillery, 10th Mountain Division as a Fire Support Officer, Battery XO, and Battalion Support Platoon Leader participating in Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY in Haiti. From 1995 through 1996, he served in 2d BN, 75th Ranger Regiment as a Company Fire Support Officer. In 1997, he attended the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to B Co., 2d BN, 3d SFG(A) as Detachment Commander on Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 351. In this position, he participated in numerous Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) to include a deployment in support of Operation JOINT FORGE in Bosnia as a Joint Commissioned Observer (JCO). In 2000, Colonel (Retired) Kelly was given command of a specialty team (ODA 365) which conducted security surveys of US Government facilities OCONUS. Immediately after the events of 9/11, Colonel (Retired) Kelly was then reassigned to B Co., 2d BN, 3d SFG(A) as an assault troop commander with the newly established CENTCOM Crisis Response Element (CRE) deploying to Qatar, Yemen, and Djibouti in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and the Global War on Terror (GWOT). In the fall of 2002, he was assigned as the 3d SFG(A) Assistant Operations Officer and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. In 2004 he took command of B Co., 2d BN, 3d SFG(A) designated as the CENTCOM Commander’s In-Extremis Force. While in command from 2004 through 2006, his unit trained and fought alongside the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Force in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. From 2006 until 2008, Colonel (Retired) Kelly commanded D Co., 2d BN, 1st SWTG(A) which is responsible for training USASOC Soldiers in Advanced Close Quarters Combat and Sniper operations. In 2008 and 2009 Colonel (Retired) Kelly served as a Group Executive Officer and the United States Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) G3 Chief of Training. From July 2010 through June 2012, he commanded 4th BN, 1st SWTG(A). Following command, Colonel (Retired) Kelly served as the Combined Joint Special Operation Task Force – Afghanistan Operations Director (J3) from July 2012 -2013. Upon graduation from the US Army War College at Carlisle Barracks in July 2014, he was assigned as the Deputy Operations Group Commander for the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
Upon arrival back at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in June 2016, Colonel (Retired) Kelly assumed the duties of the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) Director of Operations and Chief of Staff until his retirement from active service in December 2017. He currently continues to work for 1st Special Forces Command as an exercise planner and is the owner of the Kelly Consulting Group LLC which is a defense and exercise consulting service.
His military education includes: Field Artillery Officer Basic Course; Infantry Officer Advance Course, Ranger and Airborne School; Combined Arms and Services Staff School; Special Forces Qualification Course; Survival Evade Resist Escape (High Risk), Special Forces Advanced Recon/Target Analysis/Exploitation Course, Military Freefall Parachutist Course, Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.
Colonel (Retired) Kelly’s awards and decorations include: the Legion Of Merit (2OLC); the Bronze Star Medal (3OLC); the Defense Meritorious Service Medal; the Meritorious Service Medal (4OLC); the Army Commendation Medal (4OLC); the Joint Service Achievement Medal; National Defense Service Medal; the Army Achievement Medal (4OLC); the Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign medal; the Combat Infantryman’s Badge; the Special Forces Tab; the Ranger Tab; the Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, and the Master Parachutist Badge. He holds the Philip Neri, Order of Saint Barbara and the NDIA Leadership awards.
Colonel (retired) Kelly is married to the former Gretchen L. Thompson from Louisville, Kentucky and they have two daughters; Logan and Tatum.