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Lt Col Kel D. Ryan Ret'd MBusPhNS

National President Defence Force Welfare Association

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Kel Ryan is a passionate advocate for achieving the common good among the ex-service organisations that seek to advocate for the Australian Defence Community (ADC). He is a firm believer that it is only in unity that the ADC will achieve due recognition for the uniqueness of military service and therefore an effective, professional relationship with government and the relevant government departments.

He was called up for National Service in 1965 and then served two tours of Vietnam. Subsequently, he served with the Pacific Islands Regiment in PNG, the SASR, the 1st Battalion the Royal Australian Regiment and finally as the founding CO of 51 FNQR. 51 FNQR is tasked with reconnaissance and surveillance in Cape York and into the Torres Straits. He recently completed an appointment as Honorary Colonel of 51 FNQR. He retired from the Australian Army in 1988 after nearly 24 years’ service.

Since retiring from the Army Kel has been intimately involved in several ex-service organisations. He has held elected office in the RSL Queensland Branch at sub-branch, club, district and state level, was Deputy State President of the RSL for several years and is a Life Member of the RSL. He was secretary and then Chair of his Legacy Club for a total of six years. Other appointments included President of the 5 RAR Association Queensland Branch, President of the Royal Australian Regiment Queensland Branch and Vice President DFWA Vice President DFWA Far North Queensland. He is currently National President Defence Force Welfare Association and National Spokesman for the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations.  

Kel is a graduate of the Australian Army Staff College. He completed his master’s degree through QUT in 2006 where his thesis was on ‘Why are there so many ex-service organisations in Australia?’ He is presently completing a PhD at JCU on the question of, “Establishing Pathways for the advocacy of the issues of the Australian Defence Community in the 21st Century”.

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