by Spc. Seth Barham
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
When retired Lt. Col. Peter Kaley raised his right hand to be commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1956, he unknowingly began a Family tradition of Army service in the field artillery branch.
Six members of the Kaley Family – Peter and his sons, Kevin, Shawn, Richard, David and Michael – chose to be leaders and experts in the science of fire support systems: commissioned field artillery officers.
On Jan. 4, Peter and his wife, Maura, watched their fourth son, David, become the fifth Kaley promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel.
David is the only son still on active duty and currently serves as the battalion executive officer of 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
When asked what it meant to see his son promoted and gain another lieutenant colonel in the Kaley Family, Peter said, “It makes me proud, very proud.”
Although Peter served for 21 years and raised his boys around the military, he and his wife, Maura, said they never forced the military lifestyle on their children. Instead, they let the boys choose for themselves.
“We heard about parents pushing their children into a certain career field, and we did not want to do that to our boys,” Peter said. “We wanted them to make their own decisions and they did.”
The Kaley boys agreed with their father’s sentiments.
“Our father never pushed us into the military,” said Kevin, commander, 1st Battalion, 355th Regiment, 1st Brigade, 95th Division (Institutional Training), U.S. Army Reserve Command. “Both he and mom provided guidance, discipline and inspiration, and let us do our own thing,”
Richard of the Rhode Island National Guard, echoed his brother’s thoughts.
“Military life permeated everything … our school, neighborhood, friends, shopping, etc.; and it is a good lifestyle, surrounded by people that share the same values of Family, service to nation, and physical fitness,” he said.
In addition to all of the Kaleys serving as artillery officers, they were also commissioned through ROTC programs at their respective colleges.
Shawn, executive officer, 4th Cavalry Brigade, First Army Division East, Fort Knox, Ky., said after he decided to join the ROTC program at Syracuse University, the rest of his career choices fell into place.
Shawn also emphasized that his father did not influence his decision to serve.
“Dad never encouraged nor coerced us into joining the Army,” he said.
Peter and Maura’s youngest son, Michael, former captain, now works for a major computer company in Austin, Texas.
The Kaleys do not believe they are part of any sort of Army legacy, however they all say they are proud of what their Family has accomplished and continues to accomplish in service of their country.
“To have all of us become a part of that small percentage of Americans who serve our country is something special,” David said. “I take pride in what my Family has done, and how we have been able to be part of a bigger team.”
Returning with the brigade after completing a recent deployment to Iraq, David is preparing to assume a new assignment as an instructor for a joint fires support team at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.