Paul Peter Trahan

December 21, 1948April 21, 2022
Obituary of Paul Peter Trahan
Colonel Paul P. Trahan, US Army (Retired) DECEMBER 21, 1948 – APRIL 21, 2022 Paul Trahan was one of the greats. His loyalty, selflessness, and kindness went hand-in-hand with his constant leadership and endless knowledge. Paul was genuine to the core. His successful career in the US Army showed that humanity and empathy are essential qualities, even within the toughness of the military. Paul held multiple Combat Arms Command and staff assignments. He served as Chief of Intelligence Oversight (DAIG), NATO Unit Commander (IFOR), Nuclear Weapons Inspector (OSIA), Organizational Effectiveness Officer, White House Aide, and Military Police Officer. The number of stories Paul could tell from his 30 years of service were seemingly endless. We thought he should write a memoir, but he was content to share his life's work with a tighter circle. Of his 22 assignments with the Army, Naples Italy was his favorite. He served there as unit commander of the NATO base during the Bosnian war. He lived high up on Via Posillipo overlooking the bay and loved to take the ferry to the beaches of Capri during time off. His specialty was tanks and early in his career he served as the tank company commander at Fort Benning. He later commanded the Combat Experimentation Battalion at Fort Hunter Liggett in Central California, training tank units in the high desert. During the Cold War, he inspected nuclear weapon facilities in Russia under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. He also served both the George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan White Houses. He built trust and was a sounding board to the presidents on multiple occasions. Some of his greatest stories came from his insider's view of these administrations. Paul’s retirement day was planned for September 11, 2001. He was still working in the Pentagon when the attack occurred. He worked tirelessly that day to save as many lives as possible, with disregard for his own safety. That was his job, but also who he was. Paul grew up in Eastham. In his early years he attended local schools, followed by graduating from New York Military Academy. He has a deep connection to and love for Cape Cod returning yearly to see family and spend vacations with friends new and old in Provincetown. Paul loved the outdoors and spent his free time windsurfing in the Pacific Northwest, skiing in Utah and mountain biking in California. He always loved a good camping trip. Paul could fix anything, and many friends considered him their own personal MacGyver. The trunk of his beloved BMW somehow always had the tool he needed. He once repaired a blown-out radiator hose with discarded plumbing parts scrounged from a gas station’s waste bin. His years after retirement were also defined by devotion and loyalty but focused on family and friends. Nothing made Paul happier than helping others. His house in Virginia was aptly dubbed ‘The Orphanage’ for how often he opened his door to share his home for visits or extended stays. He helped friends through tough times. He cooked countless meals, the more mouths the better, from his famous turkey burgers to the Penne all’Arrabbiata recipe learned in Naples. As Paul approached retirement, he was able to find the deep personal connections that he deserved. He found acceptance, community, love and finally marriage. Paul is survived by his husband Matthew Kelley, his sisters Carol Trahan and Louise Morris, her husband Glenn 'Buzzy' Morris, his nephew Lt Cmd. Chris Morris, wife Sally Ma and sons Finley and Archer, his nephew Nick Morris, wife Laura Morris and daughters Zoey and Hazel. He is predeceased by his sister Connie Trahan. There will be a memorial service in Eastham at Evergreen Cemetery on May 14 at 11AM followed by a Celebration of Life. In Lieu of flowers, donations in Paul’s name can be made to Cape Abilities and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center For online condolences, please visit

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Saturday, May 14, 2022

Graveside Service