HOWARD G. COOMBS retired from full-time duty with the Canadian Armed Forces in 2003 and transferred to the Canadian Army Reserve, where he continues to serve on a part-time basis. He is currently assigned to the staff of the Chief of Reserves, in Ottawa, as a Strategic Advisor, in the rank of Colonel. From 1976-1979 Coombs was member of 2415 Gonzaga Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Since enrolling in the CAF in 1979, Coombs has had the privilege of command from platoon to brigade, as well as held a variety of staff and training positions. His command experience includes service with the 1st and 2nd Battalions, The Royal Canadian Regiment, 3 Commando, Canadian Airborne Regiment, Princess of Wales’ Own Regiment, and 33 Canadian Brigade Group. His current regimental affiliation is the PWOR. He is a graduate of the Canadian Forces Staff School, Canadian Land Force Command and Staff College, United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the US Army School of Advanced Military Studies, which awarded his Master's degree. Coombs received his PhD in military history from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and is currently Kingston-based as an Associate Professor of History at the Royal Military College of Canada and Deputy Director Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy. He is also a Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.
Coombs has operational deployments to the former Yugoslavia (Croatia 1994-1995, and Bosnia-Herzegovina 1998) and Afghanistan (2004) as a military officer. In addition, he deployed with Joint Task Force Afghanistan from September 2010 to July 2011 as a civilian advisor to the Task Force Commander. He has received both the Canadian Forces Medallion for Distinguished Service and the Order of Military Merit. Moreover, he has been awarded the US National Infantry Association Order of St. Maurice and is a US Army Master Strategist (6Z). His research interests are Canadian professional military education, in addition to Canadian military operations and training since the Cold War.