Twentynine Palms -- Family, friends and respected colleagues gathered for the retirement ceremony of Col. Andrew R. Kennedy at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field April 15, 2016.
Kennedy most recently served as director of the Tactical Training and Exercise Control Group. As director, Kennedy was responsible for overseeing the execution and evaluation of units conducting training aboard the Combat Center.
“If you look at his [biography] you will see a passion for training Marines,” said Maj. Gen. Lewis A. Craparotta, Combat Center Commanding General. “It started at [the School of Infantry], but most of it took place right here at the Combat Center.
Throughout his 30-year career, Kennedy honorably served multiple commands. He served as the operations officer for 2nd Marine Regiment as well as the commanding officer of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 7th Marine Regiment, deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Kennedy also held various positions at TTECG, to include combined arms instructor and director of urban warfare.
“After 30 years you begin to see more clearly how things have worked out,” Kennedy said. “There’s a better understanding of why you were able to do the things you did and how the knowledge you had facilitated your ability to move to the next level.”
During the ceremony, Kennedy was awarded the Legion of Merit for his exceptional performance and outstanding service as the director of TTECG and assistant chief of staff G-3 Operations and Training. He was presented an American flag that was flown over the Combat Center, February 17, in honor of his service. Craparotta also presented a certificate of appreciation to Kennedy’s wife, Kristie Kennedy. Afterward, Craparotta gave his views on Kennedy’s impact on the Marine Corps.
“I first met [Kennedy] when I was a regimental commander for [1st Marine Regiment],” Craparotta said. “Some things that were very apparent were his commitment, professionalism, attention to detail and the fact that he understood he was responsible for getting every Marine in that unit ready for combat. I can tell you from personal observation that his efforts during that time saved lives.”
Kennedy also thanked everyone for their presence and continuing support. Flowers were presented to Kennedy’s wife and daughter. His son also received a coin from the commanding general.
“Retirement’s really just about remembering the good parts,” Kennedy said. “What I say to young Marines and what the Marine Corps taught me is to become an expert and learn everything about your chosen field. I’ve had a pretty good 30 years. It’s been fun.”