Paul W. Riley

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • Desert Storm & Operation Iraqi Freedom


LTC Paul Riley was born in 1967 at Fort Sill, OK into an Army family. His relationship with URI and ROTC began early, as his father, MG(R) William H. Riley, was the Professor of Military Science from 1978 to 1979.  Paul moved frequently graduating from Cathedral High School in El Paso, TX in 1986.  He was an All-State Cross Country and Track runner.  He attended the University of Rhode Island and ran on the Cross Country and Track teams.  He joined the ROTC program earning a scholarship.  Cadet Riley graduated from Airborne school and in 1990, graduated from URI, commissioning in Air Defense Artillery.

Paul’s first duty assignment was Fort Riley, KS in the First Infantry Division.  The Division deployed in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.  Paul deployed with the Division as a Vulcan/Stinger Platoon leader supporting initial breach forces to break through the defenses of the Iraqi Army.  He also fought in the Battle of Norfolk, the second largest tank battle in American History.  

As a captain, Paul commanded a PATRIOT Missile battery in Ansbach, Germany.  During his command, he deployed his unit twice in support of OPERATION PROVIDE COVER in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.  His unit received the Army Superior Unit Award for actions in response to the Khobar Towers Bombing in 1996.  Upon relinquishing command, he served as an Assistant Professor of Military Science at URI and later, Providence College.  As a major, Paul was selected to command the Officer Basic Course at Fort Bliss, TX

 In 2005, Paul helped stand up the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.  He served as the Chief of War Plans for Korea where he deployed numerous times in response to missile threats by North Korea.  Also, during his tour, he deployed to Sri Lanka to advise on Air Defense tactics in response to Tamil Tigers threats.

In 2007, Paul became the Professor of Military Science at Temple University. His biggest achievement was securing academic credit for ROTC classes, which had been rescinded in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.  In 2009, Paul deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. His primary duty was as a Stability Transition Team Leader charged with advising the 2nd Iraqi Army Division in Mosul.  

LTC Riley was then assigned to the Army Staff as a Division Chief in the Air and Missile Defense Directorate, G-3. He led a team that spearheaded a new Short-Range Air Defense capability. In 2014, after 24 years of service, Paul retired and became a Defense contractor, and then a DA Civilian.  He worked for the Army Cyber Command and now works for the Army Intelligence and Security Command.  

Paul continues to serve the Army by volunteering at the newly constructed National Museum of the US Army and advocating for disabled veterans with the Disable American Veterans. He currently serves as the steward for an endowed URI ROTC scholarship gifted by his Aunt, SFC (R) Sandra Riley and his father, MG (R) William H. Riley.  Paul is married to the former Elizabeth Martin (URI Nursing ’90).  They have three daughters Meagan, Sarah, and Ellie.

Paul’s awards include: Bronze Star Medal (1 OLC), Meritorious Service Medal (5 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (2OLC), Army Achievement Medal (3 OLC), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, DA Staff Badge, Parachutist Badge, German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge; among numerous other service ribbons and foreign awards.  

LTC Paul Riley has spent his entire life serving his community and nation.  His exemplary devotion to duty, personal courage, and outstanding leadership are in the highest traditions of the military and reflect great credit upon the United States, his family, and the University of Rhode Island.