The Annual Memorial Day Remembrance Service on Monday will feature retired Marine 1st Sgt. David Pelley as the keynote speaker.
The Annual Memorial Day Remembrance Service will be held Monday at 10:30 a.m. on the Bradley County Courthouse Plaza.
Delivering the keynote address will be retired U.S. Marine Corps 1st Sgt. David B. Pelley, formerly of Charleston.
Pelley was born in Cleveland to Max and Wanda Pelley. He graduated from Charleston High School in 1982 and enlisted in the Marine Corps within the following year. Pelley attended recruit training at Parris Island, S.C. After graduating from training, Pelley attended further training at the Infantry Training School, Camp Geiger, N.C., where he was assigned as an infantry mortar man.
Pelley moved to Jacksonville, Fla., and was assigned duties at the Marine Barracks Cecil Field, Fla., as a security guard. He was a member of the Marine Barracks Color Guard and often performed color guard duty in various locations around Jacksonville and beyond.
Upon completing four years of active duty in Jacksonville, he exited the Marine Corps to return home to Cleveland in 1987. During his time at home he was a member of Kilo Company, 4th Engineers Battalion Knoxville while working for MAYCOR, a division of Maytag.
In April 1989, Pelley re-entered the active duty ranks and served with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, in Camp Pendleton, Calif. After rotation of duty to Okinawa, Japan, in the early 1990s, the unit moved to 29 Palms, Calif., and soon deployed to Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm. While completing Operation Desert Storm, Pelley was a member of Task Force Grizzly.
In October 1991, Pelley returned to Parris Island, S.C., for drill instructor duty with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion. During that tour he served as a drill instructor and senior drill instructor. Pelley was then promoted to staff sergeant following his successful completion of the Parris Island tour.
Pelley transferred to 29 Palms, Calif., and served as a mortar platoon sergeant and as infantry platoon sergeant in 1994. He was then transferred to Instructor Inspector duty with the 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines in Memphis in 1997 and was soon promoted to gunnery sergeant.
Pelley then transferred to The Basic School in Quantico, Va., in July 2000 where he served as senior enlisted advisor and company gunnery sergeant for three officer companies. During that tour, Pelley was promoted to first sergeant.
In July 2002, Pelley assumed the duties as the training and education company first sergeant at Headquarters and Service Company in Quantico. While in the training and education company, Pelley attended Equal Opportunity School and served as the family readiness officer within his company.
Pelley served as the company 1st sergeant for Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Company in July 2003 when he was transferred to Norfolk, Va. He was then transferred to Marine Corps Security Forces Battalion in February 2005 and served as the Headquarters and Service Company first sergeant.
Pelley retired from the Marines in September 2006 and moved to Lexington, S.C., where he now serves as a Naval Science Instructor for the Naval Junior ROTC program at White Knoll High School.
While working at the school, Pelley has been an instrumental role in multiple community projects. He received the highest civilian award from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. Pelley also successfully planned and executed a fundraising campaign that earned $150,000 in 10 months. The finances were used to name the school’s field house after a fallen Marine. Pelley is frequently utilized to speak with the media on live radio and television broadcasts and was the guest speaker in 2008 for the city of Colombia’s remembrance of 9/11. In 2013 Pelley was named Patriot of the Year by the Lexington Knights of Columbus, and the High School Teacher of the Year by the VFW Post 8738. Pelley is a graduate of Southern Wesleyan University with a BS in Business Administration.
Pelley is married to the former Colleen McBennett of Lorain, Ohio. They have two sons, Shawn and Shane, and one daughter, Rachel.