Robert R. “Rob” Simmons
Colonel, US Army Reserve, Retired
Colonel Rob Simmons has spent over 40 years in public service at the local, state and federal levels.
Rob enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1965 as a Private, graduated from Infantry Officer Candidate School in 1967, and spent 19 months in Vietnam, where he earned two Bronze Star Medals. In 1969 he joined the Central Intelligence Agency, working as an Operations Officer for a decade, including five years on assignment overseas in Vietnam and China.
In 1979, Rob left the CIA to join the staff of Senator John H. Chafee (R-Rhode Island). In 1981, he was Staff Director of the Senate Intelligence Committee by Chairman Barry Goldwater (R-Arizona) – a position he held through February 1985.
Rob has served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a Military Intelligence Officer since 1970, retiring as a Colonel in 2003 with over 37 years of active and reserve service. He is past commander of the 434th Military Intelligence (MI) Detachment (Strategic) in New Haven, Connecticut.
In 1996, Colonel Simmons’ unit received the Reserve Officers Association's Outstanding USAR Small Unit Award as the best small unit in the Nation. In 1998, he received the Knowlton Award for "Integrity, Moral Character, Professional Competence and Selflessness" in recognition of his contributions to the Military Intelligence Corps.
Colonel Simmons is a Member of the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame and the Infantry Officer Candidate Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, GA. He is a Life Member of The American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Association of US Army Officers. Colonel Simmons is a recipient of both The American Legion’s Connecticut State Department and National Commander’s Awards.
Rob represented Stonington and North Stonington in the Connecticut General Assembly for ten years, and was Congressman from Connecticut’s Second District from 2001-2007. He also served as Connecticut’s first Business Advocate.
One of his biggest accomplishments as Congressman was serving on “Team Connecticut” to save the Groton New London Sub Base from closure by the Base Realignment Advisory Commission (BRAC).
Rob Simmons is a 1965 graduate of Haverford College, PA, where he won six varsity letters and was captain of the cross-country and track teams. He earned a Master in Public Administration degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in 1979, where he was a Littauer Fellow.
Colonel Simmons is married to Heidi Paffard, also of Stonington who is a public school teacher at the Regional Multicultural Magnet School in New London, Connecticut. They have two grown children.