521st Troop Command changes hands

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Lt. Col. Cartmell gives her remarks.

BANGOR, MAINE (10/20/2023) (readMedia)-- In a Oct. 14 ceremony in front of family, friends, and fellow service members, Lt. Col. Kevin Kelley passed the colors of the 521st Troop Command to his successor, Lt. Col. Amy Cartmell. Kelley is retiring after a 27-year military career.

Kelley, an infantry-turned-intelligence officer, was awarded the Legion of Merit in recognition of exceptionally meritorious service, and dedication to both the mission and his soldiers.

"Lt. Col. Kelley, I know I speak for all of us when I say that I'm genuinely happy for you and whatever may lie ahead in your next chapter," said Cartmell. "The soldiers of this battalion were served well by your experience, both civilian and military, and your ability to transpose that experience into steadfast leadership and guidance. Congratulations to you and your family on a successful command and admirable career."

Kelley is a native of Lewiston and enlisted in the active Army as an infantryman in 1989, serving in Vilseck, Germany, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He has served in all three components of the U.S. Army – Active, Reserve, and National Guard – and deployed to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, and Kosovo. His numerous assignments within the Army and National Guard have included: infantry platoon leader, instructor, operations officer, company commander, and S-2 intelligence officer at multiple echelons of command.

"This battalion is a group of powerlifters, that's who we are," said Cartmell in her remarks. "We aren't perfect, but we have an immeasurable amount of try. We are going to get the job done, safely and to the best of our ability, with the maximal care given to who is serving to our right and who is serving to our left."

"Service is a choice," Cartmell continued. "And that is not a one-time event. When we raise our right hands and swear an oath, we make that choice yearly, monthly, weekly, even daily as we focus on our family needs – their wellbeing and preparedness as they support our service, and as we put in the work to ensure our own mental, spiritual, and physical readiness for the mission. I thank you for that continued choice. Thank you for your stewardship of the profession, and encouraging others to serve in our communities in whatever capacity that may be."

The 521st Troop Command is the in-state higher headquarters for several detachments of aviation flight crews, maintenance and support personnel, as well as the 195th Army Band, and B Company, 3-172nd Infantry (Mountain). The 521st also serves as the command element of the New England CERFP, a regional National Guard response team designed to assist first responders during various large-scale emergencies.

Cartmell comes to command following a deployment to Poland as the deputy commander of Maine's 120th Regional Support Group in support of U.S. Army Europe's Operation Atlantic Resolve. Originally enlisting as a flight medic in 1996, she commissioned into the Medical Services Corps and ultimately qualified as an aeromedical evacuation pilot, deploying to both Iraq and Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

Cartmell is a full time member of the National Guard and previously served in recruiting as an officer strength manager and an assistant professor of military science at the University of Maine. She is currently assigned in Augusta as a deputy personnel officer at Joint Force Headquarters. She and her husband, Peter, live on a small hobby farm in Newburgh.

Kelley is employed as a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the Boston-based Cyber Crime Task Force. Prior to that assignment, he served as the senior supervising agent for the FBI in Maine. Kelley and his wife, Anne, have two children, Ethan and Owen.

For more information and imagery of the 521st leading the New England CERFP, and recent accomplishments, go to:



Maine National Guard photos by Maj. Lena Witham / Released