COL John Rafferty, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1987 and served as an indirect fire infantryman with the 8th Infantry Division in Mainz, Germany for two years. He then attended Longwood University in Farmville, Va where he was commissioned into the regular Army as a Field Artillery officer. His first assignment was in the 18th Field Artillery Brigade at Ft Bragg, NC as a fire direction officer and platoon leader in B Battery, 5th Battalion (AASLT), 8th FA. After two years, COL Rafferty joined the 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Ft Benning, GA where he served as the B Company fire support officer before moving to Marine Corps Base Quantico to attend the USMC Amphibious Warfare School. COL Rafferty then moved to Baumholder, Germany with the 1st Armored Division and served as a Division AFSCOORD and DivArty S4 before assuming command of B Battery 1st Bn, 94th FA (MLRS), and then HHB 1st Armored Division Artillery. In 2002, he returned to the 75th Ranger Regiment to serve as the fire support officer for 1st Ranger Battalion and deployed several times in support of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. COL Rafferty was then selected UK Joint Services Command and Staff College in Shrivenham, England.
Following the staff college, COL Rafferty was assigned to the newly formed 4th BCT (Airborne), 25th ID at Ft Richardson, Alaska where he served as the BCT fires and effects coordinator, plans officer, and S3 during operations in Iraq. He then served as the S3 for 2d Bn, 377th PFAR. In 2008, COL Rafferty was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Legislative Liasion (OCLL) in Washington, D.C. where he served as the operations and readiness liaison to the US Congress.
From February 2010 until June 2012, COL Rafferty served as the commander of the 1st Bn, 319th AFAR, 3d BCT, 82nd Airborne Division as part of the Global Response Force. He then attended the U.S. Army War College, where he completed the Advanced Strategic Art Program. COL Rafferty returned to OCLL to serve as deputy chief of the House of Representatives liaison division before deploying to Kabul, Afghanistan as the legislative advisor to the Commander, International Security Assistance Force/ US Forces-Afghanistan.
COL Rafferty assumed command of the 18th Field Artillery Brigade in June 2015 and deployed with the Brigade headquarters to the CENTCOM area of responsibility to serve as both Joint Fires Cell-Syria and the CFLCC Force Field Artillery Headquarters for a multi-component HIMARS brigade distributed throughout the theater in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Spartan Shield. After relinquishing command June 2017, he served as the Executive Officer for the Director of the Army Staff, Headquarters Department of the Army in the Pentagon.
His education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Longwood University, a Master of Arts degree from King’s College London, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. COL Rafferty has been married for 24 years to the former Tracey Lowery of South Boston, VA. They have two children: daughter, Erin (17) and son, Evan (16).