Colonel MacKenzie was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1963, and spent his early childhood in Regina, Ottawa, and Victoria. In 1976, his family moved to Vancouver, where he joined The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada as a Private in 1985. Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1986, he won the Canadian Infantry Association Sword as the Top Candidate on his Lieutenant qualifying course during the following summer.
After completing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology from the University of British Columbia in 1989, Colonel MacKenzie transferred to the Regular Force, and joined the Second Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Winnipeg. He completed the basic parachutist course, served on United Nations peacekeeping operations in Cyprus, and then served on two missions in Central America as a United Nations Military Observer: first in Guatemala, and then in El Salvador.
On return to Canada in 1992, he was posted to the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada in Winnipeg as the Regular Support Staff Officer and Adjutant. He also taught and completed several courses, and graduated from the United States Army Ranger School.
In 1994, Colonel MacKenzie joined the First Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Calgary, where his duties included service as Senior Liaison Officer during the 1997Manitoba Flood. Posted to The Canadian Parachute Centre in Trenton, he qualified as a military freefall parachutist, and then conducted all static-line and freefall basic, jumpmaster and parachute instructor courses run by the Canadian Army. In 1999, he was posted to 39 Canadian Brigade Group Headquarters in Vancouver as the G3 Training.
In May 2000, Colonel MacKenzie returned to the Primary Reserve and The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. Following completion of the company commander’s course, he was promoted Major. He then completed the Militia Command and Staff Course at the Canadian Land Force Command and Staff College in Kingston, and the Joint Reserve Command and Staff Course at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.
In May 2005, Colonel MacKenzie was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel, and assumed command of The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. In 2006, he was selected as one of only two Canadian Forces Reserve officers to attend the United States Reserve Components National Security Course at the National Defense University, Washington, where he returned the following year as a Seminar Leader at the request of the faculty.
After leaving the Regular Army, Colonel MacKenzie began his second career as a Police Constable with the Vancouver Police Department (VPD). He attended the Police Academy at The Justice Institute of British Columbia, where he was awarded The Oliver Thomson Memorial Trophy for Physical Fitness. He then served as a member of the Patrol Division in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, while holding secondary duties as a police firearms instructor and recruit field trainer. He was next assigned to the VPD Emergency Response Team (ERT). Together with his many police certifications, he has completed the Canadian Army Sniper Detachment Commander’s Course, and the Master Sniper Course.
Following his command of the Seaforth, Colonel MacKenzie deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009 to serve in a key position as Officer Commanding the Operational Coordination Centre – Provincial, as part of the Joint Task Force Afghanistan Headquarters in Kandahar. On return to Canada, Colonel MacKenzie served simultaneously Assistant Chief of Staff – Operations 39 Canadian Brigade Group and Director of the Regional Liaison Officer Program – Joint Task Force Pacific. On his return to the VPD, he was reassigned to the ERT for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.
Promoted to his current rank on 7 September 2010, he was selected nationally and volunteered for a second deployment to Afghanistan, where he served until 2011 with the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan as the Senior Advisor to the Afghan Border Police, a specialized police organization with 23,000 members. Colonel MacKenzie then returned to the VPD, and now works in the Operations Division in Patrol in East Vancouver. On 27 May 2012, he was appointed to his current position as Commander, 39 Canadian Brigade Group.
Colonel MacKenzie’s awards include the General Campaign Star – South West Asia with 3 bars, the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal, United Nations Peacekeeping Medals, the Canadian Forces Decoration, and a Chief of Defence Staff Commendation.
Colonel MacKenzie is married to his wife of 20 years, Marnie, and they have two children: Rob Roy Junior, 14 years old, and Meaghan, who is 12. Colonel MacKenzie’s hobbies include many outdoor adventure sports, alpine skiing, scuba diving, distance running and fly-fishing - of course, only in his spare time.