Lt. Col. Jeffrey John Kenney was born on Aug. 31, 1957, in Hartford. He attended Maloney High School in Meriden, graduating in June 1975.
He immediately enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and reported to Parris Island for recruit training where he graduated as the platoon honor man. He was then sent to 29 Palms, Calif., to work as an intelligence assistant until he was selected for Marine Security Guard duty in August 1976. During this tour, he was meritoriously promoted to Lance Corporal. He was also meritoriously promoted to the rank of Corporal before leaving for Marine Security Guard duty. Lt. Col. Kenney spent 13 months at the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran and 17 months at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany before returning to the U.S. During his tour at the embassy in Iran, Lt. Col. Kenney was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
Lt. Col. Kenney reported to Camp Pendleton, Calif., in July 1979, where he was assigned as the Platoon Sergeant of the Surveillance and Target Acquisition Platoon of 3rd Battalion 5th Marines. In August 1980, he transferred to 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton. He filled a Platoon Sergeant billet there until his transfer to U.S.M.C. Recruiting Station Denver, Colo., in July 1982.
During his tour at the recruiting station, Lt. Col. Kenney was selected at Recruiter of the Year for 1983, and was meritoriously promoted to Gunnery Sergeant. He was accepted into the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Program in 1984, and reported to the University of Colorado. He received a bachelor’s degree in history in May 1987, at which time he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. After graduation from The Basic School, he reported to the Infantry Officer’s Course, graduation in March 1988, as the recipient of the Wheeler Award for superior leadership.
Lt. Col Kenney’s first duty station as an officer in the Fleet Marine Force was 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division. He served in 3/8 as a Rifle Platoon Commander, Weapons Platoon Commander and Company Executive Officer.
During this tour, he also participated in Operation SHARP EDGE, a security mission in Monrovia, Liberia.
Upon completion of his tour with 3/8, Lt. Col. Kenney reported to the Basic School where he served as a Weapons Platoon Commander for the Enlisted Instructor Company before moving into an Instructor’s billet at the Infantry Officer’s Course. He was then selected to go to Amphibious Warfare School where he graduated with honors.
After graduation from Amphibious Warfare School, Lt. Col. Kenney went to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division where he was assigned as the Company Commander of Golf Company. During the third deployment of his career to the Mediterranean, Lt. Col. Kenney returned to Monrovia, Liberia to participate in Operation ASSURED RESPONSE, a security mission in the American Embassy. For his heroism in repelling several attacks against the embassy on April 30, 1996, he received the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”.
After returning from deployment, Lt. Col. Kenney was given command of Weapons Company 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines. He was immediately sent to weapons training instructor course in Arizona.
In June 1997, Lt. Col. Kenney was awarded the Leftwich Trophy winner for outstanding leadership as a company commander. In August of 1997, he then assumed command of Recruiting Station Pittsburgh until June of 2000.
He attended Command and Staff College from August 2000 to June of 2001, where he graduated with honors.
Following graduation, Lt. Col. was selected to be the Director of the Infantry Officer’s Course in Quantico, Va., where he served until May 2003.
He was assigned as the Operations officer of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and participated in humanitarian operations in Indonesia during the tsunami and then went onto serve in combat operations in Iraq.
He returned to the U.S. in June 2005, and volunteered to serve as an Advisor to the Iraq Army that fall.
Lt. Col. Kenney served as the Senior Advisor to the 2nd Brigade of the 7th Iraqi Infantry Division from January 2006, until being wounded by a roadside bomb on May 25, 2006.
Among his awards and decorations are the Bronze Star with a combat “V” and star denoting two awards, the Purple Heart medal, two awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, two awards of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Good Conduct Medal with two Stars.
Lt. Col. Kenney is married to the former Lori Allen of Philadelphia, Pa. Together they have eight sons; he is also the son of Carmella Kenney, of Meriden and the late Francis Kenney.