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R.I. Marine Colonel Leads Emergency Response Operations for Providence

United States Marine Lieutenant Colonel Peter T. Gaynor brings a global perspective and national emergency disaster preparedness experience to city government.

Mayor David N. Cicilline today appointed retired United States Marine Lieutenant Colonel Peter T. Gaynor to lead the Providence Emergency Management Agency & Office of Homeland Security.  The highly decorated Marine was once responsible for managing the operations for the U.S. Marine Corps headquarters following the September 11th terrorist attacks and for the security of the President of the United States at Camp David.

Photo: Marine Lt. Col. Peter Gaynor and Providence R.I. Mayor David N. Cicilline 

"Colonel Gaynor brings unprecedented global emergency management experience to Providence City government and I am extremely proud to have someone with his unique leadership skills, talent and strategic planning expertise on my team," said Mayor Cicilline.  "I'm confident Colonel Gaynor will take PEMA to a new level of professionalism which will only strengthen the City's emergency response efforts.

"Colonel Gaynor has demonstrated throughout his career the ability to plan large and complicated logistical operations while ensuring an excellent flow of communications, even in times of crisis," the Mayor added.  "This is someone who hasn't just planned for a large-scale crisis situation, he's actually experience them and proven himself to be ready and capable."

Colonel Gaynor retired from the Marine Corps after 26 years of wide-ranging experience in a number of high-intensity leadership positions, including directing and coordinating daily combat operations in the Al Anbar Province, Iraq; directing around-the-clock operations of the Marine Corps' Crisis Response Center which supported global Marine  Corps crisis operations following the September 11th attacks; managing mass casualty evacuations and the recovery of downed aircraft and missing aircraft personnel in Iraq; planning, executing and overseeing training exercises and operations for a 1200 member infantry unit; and in addition to being responsible to the security of the President of the United States at Camp David, Gaynor also served as Marine Corps liaison to the Secret Service, FBI, Park Police and law enforcement agencies at Camp David.

He holds a Bachelor degree in History from Rhode Island College and a Masters degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in Newport. 

Colonel Gaynor has also received numerous awards and commendations during the course of his career including the Meritorious Service Medal with two gold stars, Navy Commendation Medal with two gold stars, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation award, the Navy Unit Commendation award with two gold stars, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the GWOT Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with a silver star, the NATO Medal and the Presidential Service and Naval Parachutists Badges.  He was also recognized for heroism, bravery and leadership for his actions as a result of a 1996 midair helicopter collision in which he directed and participated in the rescue of two critically injured Marine pilots.

"I am genuinely excited and eager to lead Providence's emergency response efforts in my home state and to work with an outstanding team at PEMA," said Colonel Gaynor.  "I believe that my unique perspective in crisis management as well as my leadership and decision making skills, which were honed under the pressure of real-world events, will help to ensure that Providence is prepared to rapidly respond in a coordinated and strategic manner to extraordinary incidents that may threaten the safety of residents, commuters and visitors to the City of Providence."

Colonel Gaynor and his wife Sue have one daughter, Grace.  He begins his new position as the director of PEMA on February 25th.