John E. ‘Jack’ Killeen May 27, 2022


JOHN E. ‘JACK’ KILLEEN May 27, 2022

John E. ‘Jack’ Killeen, 79, son of John J. & Frances (Germon) Killeen passed away peacefully among members of his loving family on Friday, May 27, 2022 at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.

Born in Atlantic City, NJ and raised in West Cape May, Jack became a “man of all seasons”, hunting, fishing, trapping, working the docks, working both the Taylor farm and the Rae farm and working for Steger’s Beach Service. by coach Steve Steger of Cape May.

He attended the original West Cape May Elementary School and the original Cape May High School on Washington Street and was a member of the first senior class to graduate from the new Lower Cape May Regional High School, being president of his senior class and being one of two co-captains of their football team. He then attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

During this time, he was a member of the Air Force ROTC Air Commandos, which he commanded as a cadet lieutenant colonel in his senior year, and was president of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. Jack earned three scholarships, choosing Colgate U. in Hamilton, NY for which he earned a master’s degree in personnel administration cum laude. He earned a second master’s degree at Catholic University in Washington, DC, this one being in psychology while working full-time for the USAF.

In October 1966, Jack entered the United States Air Force as a Security Police officer with the rank of Second Lieutenant. During his 29-year career, he held several notable positions, including Chief of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control at Pentagon Headquarters; Director of Deterrence and Detection for the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, developing and executing the programs that have been successful in reducing drug and alcohol abuse for all branches of the service. He also served as the DOD liaison officer for drug and alcohol abuse issues with the White House, congressional committees, Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency, Drugs, Coast Guard, National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. . He was the executive officer of the DOD’s Law Enforcement Task Force, developing global policies and programs to minimize the negative impact of drug and alcohol abuse on the Army’s mission. air and people. These programs, being subject to congressional scrutiny, only the Air Force program survived, and Jack was hired by the Secretary of Defense to develop programs for all military services.

In North Carolina, he was chief of police at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, where he commanded 350 policemen and women who protected 18,000 people. Each year he commanded, the force was voted “Best Large Security Police Force in Tactical Air Command”. During this time, Jack also taught evening classes in the subjects of criminal justice, psychology, and social theory for North Carolina Wesleyan College.

In 1987, while attending the Air War College in Alabama, he received the Commander’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Military Thought for the paper titled “Coping with Terrorism.”

In Turkey, Jack was the Director of Security Police, with US forces providing direction for all US military security. He worked with Turkish police in capturing 55 terrorists sent by Gaddafi to kill American women and children. The effort was very successful with no injuries to the Americans. Jack became Colonel under the Zone shortly thereafter.

He was also Director of Security Policing, US Air Forces Europe, UK, and led all US forces in England. For three years he was the Ministry of Defense Representative to Her Majesty’s Government for Home Defense in the United Kingdom.

After England, Jack became the vice-commander of Ramstein Air Base in Germany around the time of Desert Storm; the first Iraq war.

His last post in the Air Force as a colonel was as commander of the security police agency at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, providing oversight and guidance to 35,000 troops. and female security police around the world.

In 1996, Jack was one of only three senior United States Air Force Security Police officers in history to be awarded the “Order of the Sword” by enlisted members of the Army. air for his superior people-centered leadership.

After retiring from military service, Jack entered the world of civilian work, first serving as director of operations and later becoming general manager of security forces operations for Los Alamos National Laboratory, with a hand -work of more than 600 men and women.

While in Los Alamos, NM, he joined the Kiwanis club and eventually became vice president and then president. He also held the position of vice-president of the local art society.

Jack was a lifelong student, having attended college at Texas Christian U., U. of Guam and at the U. of Nebraska, Lincoln. He was a voracious reader until the end. He had great respect and love for the outdoors. In July 2013, he fulfilled a dream of his by cycling 2,600 miles on the Western Great Divide Trail, alone and unassisted, from the northern border of Montana/Canada to the southern border of New Mexico/Mexico. , taking him two and a half months to complete. He was a Boy Scout leader while stationed in Virginia and was a leader of the Los Alamos, NM High Adventure Group, made up of young school-aged men and women, taking day and week-long trips with them for rafting the Snake River, the River of No Return and the Rio Grande; overnight camping; camping in snow caves; hike the high trails of Colorado; and downhill skiing. He’s hiked the Grand Canyon River twice on a group trip and taken Boy Scouts and their parents to Canada’s Great Lakes for a week-long canoe trip.

He was an avid cross-country and telemark skier, hiker, camper, hunter, fly fisherman, whitewater rafter, kayaker, canoeist, and horseback rider, having owned three-quarters of the horses in Texas then that he was stationed at Ft. Worth. He was a diver while stationed on the island of Guam and became the club president there. Returning from a dive one day in 1970, Jack ended up delivering a baby in the back seat of a car and became the baby girl’s godfather. He enjoyed running, having completed the Marine Marathon, New York City Marathon, and John F. Kennedy 50-Mile Ultra-Marathon, as well as several here in Cape May and Virginia, and having also competed in triathlons. He also became an avid mountain biker and road cyclist. While stationed in England, he was one of the first Americans to pass their written test to hunt deer and was called upon by English landowners to hunt deer that were damaging crops on their property. While stationed in Turkey, Jack hunted with the Turks in the villages to hunt the large wild hogs which were also destroying their crops. In Germany, he hunts with the Germans.

In 2016, Jack decided it was time to return home to Cape May after nearly 22 years of residence in New Mexico, his final military posting and place of residence. While there, he joined the Cape Island Deer Club in New Gretna and served as secretary. He also became an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Cape May, eventually serving as vice president and president.

As a family man, he was an exceptional husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle. Jack will be missed by his loving family which includes his wife of 56 years, Sonja (née Straaten); two children, Krista (and Jeff) Yuhas and Sean (and Lisa) Killeen; one sister, Judy Hansen; and 4 grandchildren, Kelsey (and Grant) Smith, Tanner Yuhas, Megan (and Russell) Flanagan and Kayla Yuhas, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

In celebration of Jack’s life, friends will be received by family to be viewed at Spilker’s Funeral Home in Cape May, NJ on Friday, June 3 from 10-11 a.m., followed by a ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. in the form of family and friends sharing thoughts, memories and feelings, and ending with a reception at a venue to be announced at the ceremony. All are welcome.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the Cape May Kiwanis Club Scholarship Fund (1041 Beach Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204) or the American Cancer Society.


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