Remember of Veterans: Lt. Col. Eric Kelly
By Karen Johnson and Dorothy Moloney
Lt. Col. Eric D. Kelly (USAF Retired)
Born September 15, 1960, in Lynchburg, Virginia, Lt. Col. Eric D. Kelly (USAF RETIRED) graduated from Dorman High School in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in the year of 1978. Eric obtained a four year Air Force ROTC scholarship to Duke University, graduating in May of 1982, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and History. Soon after, he received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.
Upon receiving his commission, Eric was assigned to Mather AFB, California, for Undergraduate Navigator Training. Eric received his navigator wings in April of 1983, and was assigned to Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, for C-130 initial qualification. August 1983 Eric was assigned to the 39th Tactical Airlift Squadron, 317th Tactical Airlift Wing, Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, where he was upgraded to Instructor Navigator, C-130E Adverse Weather Aerial Delivery System (AWADS). In April 1986, he served as Wing Combat Tactics and Techniques Officer, planning and coordinating airlift for contingencies, joint exercises, operational readiness inspections, and joint/unilateral training.
The next assignment in July of 1988, Eric went to the 37th Tactical Airlift Squadron, Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany, where he also served as Wing Current Operations scheduler. Eric’s next assignment came in June of 1990, when he was assigned to the 34th Combat Aircrew Training Squadron and Tactical Airlift Instructor School, once again in Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas. There he upgraded to C-130 Evaluator Navigator and became a Flight Commander.
September 1993 brought Eric to Combat Delivery Program Manager, Directorate of Requirements, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. His duties included developing mission needs statements, operational Defense Plan program. He also set test criteria, evaluated test results, and authored the Combat Delivery Mission Area Plan, a 25-year master plan for C-130 modernization.
October 1996 brought Eric back to Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, assigned to the Headquarter Air Mobility Command (AMC) Air Mobility Warfare Center (AMWC) Combat Aerial Delivery School (CADS), and became Deputy Chief and Test Director in the Test and Evaluation Division. He conducted operational testing of new or modified C-130 systems.
Eric’s next assignment was to the AMWC’s 333rd Flight Test Squadron, Fort Dix, New Jersey in March 1998, following the transfer of C-130 operational testing from the CADS to the 33rd,. As Systems Flight Commander, Eric was responsible for operational testing of aeromedical evacuation, avionics, communications, computers, electronic warfare, and navigation systems on all AMC weapon systems. When AMC established a 3rd detachment at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, in September 1998 for C-130-J operational testing, Lt. Col Kelly was named Provisional Commander. Not much longer, in June of 1999, Eric became AMWC Deputy Director of Resources, managing Chief of Safety.
Commander of the 332nd Recruiting Squadron in Nashville, Tennessee was Eric’s next challenge. His latest position began in July of 2001, ensuring sufficient applicant flow to health professions, line officer, and enlisted accessions service programs to meet Air Force recruiting goals. He led, trained, and equipped 118 personnel and 11 flights dispersed other parts of six states. His squadron ranked #3 and #5 of 28 squadrons in enlisted accessions in Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002 (FY01/02), respectively. The 332nd sent the highest percentage of airmen to basic training in critical mechanical specialties--best in Air Force Recruiting Service, FY01/02. It also earned an “Excellent” overall rating on a Headquarters Air Education and Training Command triennial unit inspection.
In July of 2002, Eric became Chief, Command and Control (C2) System Requirements Branch, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, where he led a team of 18 military, civilian, and contract support personnel in functions management and requirements validation/prioritization for fixed and mobile Mobility Air Force C2 systems. With the program managers, he guided development and oversaw timely software releases to over 22,000 control center and airlift/tanker unit users while focusing on migration from costly legacy systems.
When Eric retired from active duty in 2006, he relocated wigt. William Reid (USAF Retired), supervise approximately 100 cadets each year who have earned Air Force JROTC;s prestigious Distinguished Unit Award in 2007-08, 2008-09, and 2009-10. Parkwood’s JROTC program is dedicated to “Building Better Citizens for America” (the AFJROTC motto), and its corps of cadets strives to embody the Air Force’s core values of “Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.”
Eric’s other educational accomplishments include a Master’s degree in Management from Webster University. His professional military education includes Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College seminar, and Air War College seminar. He also holds an Acquisition Profession Development Program certification in test and evaluation. He is a Master Navigator with over 2800 flying hours. His major decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (three oak leaf clusters) an Air Force Commendation Medal (two oak leaf clusters), Air Force Achievement Medal (one oak leaf cluster), and Army Achievement Medal.
Eric is married to the former Madeline Hoffman of Fayetteville, North Carolina. They have two children, Brian, 21, and Sarah, 17.