Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin, BA'82 (Economics), has a new command — 17,000 college students, instead of an army of 50,000.
The retired Canadian Army commander — a veteran of such military hot spots as Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq — is taking over as president of London-based Fanshawe College.
Devlin, who replaces 17-year president Howard Rundle, recently retired after 35 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, where he led 50,000 troops and civilians and managed a $2-billion budget. While the 53-year-old has no specific background running schools, he said the army conducts extensive career training programs.
From his first tour of duty in Cyprus as a peacekeeper in 1984 to Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan, Lt-Gen. Peter Devlin has been on the front lines of the Canadian Armed Forces’ ongoing evolution. Although today’s troops are more combat-prepared than the peacekeepers of the past, he insists the core values embraced by today’s soldiers are qualities that Canadians can remain proud of.
Showering praise on today's military personnel for their commitment, Devlin beamed. “They’re professional and courageous and they have a level of skill and confidence I call the ‘warrior spirit.’ They have adapted to a changing world that demands that a Canadian soldier remain a committed peacekeeper, peacemaker and stand alert, a combat-ready soldier.”
Appointed chief of the Canadian Forces in 2010, Devlin began his illustrious military career during the final years of the Cold War. He enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1978 under the Regular Officer Training Program and was commissioned as an infantry officer into The Royal Canadian Regiment.
Devlin has spent the majority of his career in the field and has served in 1, 2 and 4 Canadian Brigade Groups as well as the Special Service Force. He has commanded from the platoon to brigade group level, most notably commanding 1st Battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment (1997-99) and 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2002-04). He served as Deputy Commanding General of III (U.S.) Corps and Fort Hood (2005-08) and deployed with the Corps to Iraq, and as Deputy Commander of Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (2008-10). His staff assignments have included positions in Army Headquarters, 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, and the Canadian Forces Medical Group.
He has several operational tours including UN tours in Cyprus (1984-85) and the former Yugoslavia (1992), two NATO tours in Bosnia (1996-97) including one as the Canadian Battle Group Commanding Officer (1998), an International Security Assistance Force tour as Commander of the Kabul Multinational Brigade in Kabul, Afghanistan (2003-04) and a 15-month tour as the Deputy Commanding General of the Multi-National Corps – Iraq (2006-08).
Devlin’s unit was awarded the Commander-in-Chief Citation for opening the Sarajevo airport in 1992, and he was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross in 2004 and the U.S. Legion of Merit in 2008 for his efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq respectively.
He was appointed as Commander of the Order of Military Merit in February 2010. In addition to Western, Devlin is a graduate of the Canadian Forces Staff School, the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College, the Canadian Forces College and the U.S. Army War College. In June 2010 he was promoted to Lieutenant-General and appointed Commander Canadian Army.
Devlin was featured in the Fall 2013 issue of the Alumni Gazette.
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