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Robert Michael Kelly
First Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps
Maryland State Flag
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1033-10
November 10, 2010

DOD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Second Lieutenant Robert M. Kelly, 29, of Tallahassee, Florida, died November 9, 2010, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.

For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the 1st Marine Division public affairs office at 760-725-8766.


Family and Friends:

    As I think you all know by now our Robert was killed in action protecting our country, its people, and its values from a terrible and relentless enemy, on 9 November, in Sangin, Afghanistan. He was leading his Grunts on a dismounted patrol when he was taken. They are shaken, but will recover quickly and already back at it. He went quickly and thank God he did not suffer. In combat that is as good as it gets, and we are thankful. We are a broken hearted - but proud family. He was a wonderful and precious boy living a meaningful life. He was in exactly the place he wanted to be, doing exactly what he wanted to do, surrounded by the best men on this earth - his Marines and Navy Doc.

   The nation he served has honored us with promoting him posthumously to First Lieutenant of Marines. We will bury our son, now First Lieutenant Robert Michael Kelly USMC, in Arlington National Cemetery on 22 November. Services will commence at 1245 at Fort Myer. We will likely have a memorial receiving at a yet to be designated funeral home on 21 November. The coffin will be closed. Our son Captain John Kelly USMC, himself a multi-tour combat veteran and the best big brother on this earth, will escort the body from Dover Air Force Base to Arlington. From the moment he was killed he has never been alone and will remain under the protection of a Marine to his final resting place. 

    Many have offered prayers for us and we thank you, but his wonderful wife Heather and the rest of the clan ask that you direct the majority of your prayers to his platoon of Marines, still in contact and in "harm's way," and at greater risk without his steady leadership.

    Thank you all for the many kindnesses we could not get through this without you all. Thank you all for being there for us. The pain in unimaginable, and we could not do this without you.

Semper Fidelis
John Kelly

Kelly Family PHOTO


Son of USMC Lieutenant General Kelly Killed in Action in Helmand 
Son of Marine General Killed in Afghanistan 

Second Lieutenant Robert Kelly, the Son of Lieutenant General John Kelly, was Killed Tuesday in a Roadside Bombing.

RM Kelly PHOTO

The most recent fatality in the Marine battalion that has seen the heaviest casualties in Afghanistan right now was the son of a Marine three star general. 

Second Lieutenant Robert Kelly, the son of Lieutenant General John Kelly, was killed Tuesday in a roadside bomb blast during a foot patrol in Helmand Province.

John Kelly served as the top Marine commander in Iraq in 2008 when he commanded the Marine force based in Anbar province. He now oversees all reserve units in the Marine Corps as head of Marine Forces Reserve. Robert Kelly, 29, was serving with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, which has seen 14 of its troops killed during its short five- to six-week combat deployment in Afghanistan.



Second Lieutenant Robert Kelly was killed Tuesday by a roadside omb during a foot patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan while serving his 3rd combat deployment.

Lieutenant Kelly, 29, had served two tours in Iraq as an enlisted Marine before being commissioned in 2008, and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, at Camp Pendleton.

His service awards include the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Combat Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, according to the 1st Marine Division Public Affairs Office.

He was the son of Lieutenant General John Kelly, now commander of New Orleans-based Marine Forces Reserve.



10 November 2010:

The son of a Marine general has been killed in combat in Afghanistan while serving with a battalion from Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps confirmed Wednesday.

Second Lieuenant Robert Kelly, killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb during a foot patrol in Helmand province, was the son of Lieutenant General John Kelly, now commander of New Orleans-based Marine Forces Reserve.

Kelly, 29, a graduate of the University of Florida, had served two tours in Iraq as an enlisted Marine before being commissioned in 2008. His brother, a Marine officer, also served in Iraq.

Robert Kelly was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, at Camp Pendleton.

The battalion has had 13 Marines killed in combat in the last month as they have fought to push Taliban fighters out of the Sangin area of Helmand province, long a Taliban stronghold.



Robert M. Kelly, a Marine who was born in Bethesda, Maryland, and graduated from Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge, Va., died in Afghanistan November 9, 2010.

Second Lieuenant Robert M. Kelly, 29, was killed when an improvised explosive devise (IED) detonated in Helmand province, Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.

According to Military Times, Kelly was a 2003 Florida State University graduate and Gar-Field Senior High School graduate before becoming an infantry officer assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, based at Camp Pendleton, California.

The Military Times website also says Kelly was the son of Lieuetnant General John F. Kelly, who was a commander of the Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North.



10 November 2010:

The son of a Marine general has been killed in combat in Afghanistan while serving with a battalion from Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps confirmed Wednesday.

Second Lieutenant Robert M. Kelly, killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb during a foot patrol in Helmand province, was the son of Lieutenant General John Kelly, now commander of New Orleans-based Marine Forces Reserve.

Kelly, 29, had served two tours in Iraq as an enlisted Marine before being commissioned in 2008. His brother, a Marine officer, also served in Iraq.

Robert Kelly was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, at Camp Pendleton.

The battalion has had 13 Marines killed in combat in the last month as they have fought to push Taliban fighters out of the Sangin area of Helmand province, long a Taliban stronghold.

At a teleconference Wednesday with San Diego reporters, Major General Richard Mills, the top Marine in Afghanistan, said the courage of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment has earned the unit a place among the most honored battalions in Marine history.

Mills said of the battle for Sangin: "It's the last piece of prime real estate that the enemy is contesting. Once he loses that ... he will have a difficult time establishing himself in the province."

The elder Kelly commanded Marines during the 2003 invasion of Iraq to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein, in the assault on Hussein's stronghold in Tikrit and in spring 2004 during the battle in Fallouja.

He served as the top Marine in Afghanistan in 2008 as commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).

Marine Commandant General James Amos, in a statement, offered condolences to the Kelly family, including the lieutenant's wife, and said, "The corps will always remember Second Lieutenant Kelly and all of our fallen heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country."



22 November 2010:

Amid a military tradition honed by the agony of warfare, U.S. Marine First Lieutenant Robert Michael Kelly was honored and buried Monday at Arlington National Cemetery in the section reserved for those who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kelly, 29, was killed November 9, 2010, in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan in a place called Sangin, long a Taliban stronghold. He was leading his Camp Pendleton platoon on a combat patrol when he stepped on a concealed bomb.

Kelly was believed to be the only son of a general to have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan during the last nine years.

His father, Marine Lieutenant General Gen. John Kelly, speaking during the funeral service at the Fort Myer Memorial Chapel next to Arlington National Cemetery, said he preferred not to eulogize just his son. The former Camp Pendleton commander said he wanted to honor all those who enlisted after the September 11 attacks ready to fight "an enemy that is as savage as any that ever walked the earth."

"He was in exactly the place he wanted to be, doing exactly what he wanted to do, surrounded by the best men on this earth ---- his Marines," his father told the more than 500 people attending the funeral. "We should not cry for Robert; we should be proud."

The elder Kelly led Marines during the assault on Baghdad and Tikrit in 2003 and during the battle for Fallujah, Iraq, in April 2004. He then served a year as the top Marine in Iraq, returning to Camp Pendleton in early 2009.

Robert Kelly's older brother, Marine Captain John Kelly, served two combat tours in Iraq and is now stationed at Twentynine Palms in the Mojave Desert, where he is helping train troops for Afghanistan.

"He wanted to be where the fight was," Captain Kelly said during the service.

With an all-volunteer force, only about 1 percent of American families have members serving in the nation's wars, but among that 1 percent, there are families for whom service and sacrifice have become a generational obligation.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates noted in a recent speech that there are "a large number" of sons and daughters of senior officers serving combat tours. Tony Odierno, the son of U.S. Army General Ray Odierno, formerly the top U.S. officer in Iraq, lost an arm in combat in Iraq in 2004.

For most of the time since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, there has been at least one member of Robert Kelly's immediate family serving in a combat zone.

Robert Kelly was heavily involved in the house-to-house fighting during the second assault on Fallujah in November 2004, considered the bloodiest urban warfare for the Marines since Vietnam. A graduate of Florida State University, he finished his first enlistment as a corporal, and then re-enlisted in 2008 as an officer, following a path similar to that taken by his father.

Robert Kelly was the only officer among 15 Marines from the Camp Pendleton-based 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment killed during a recent five-week span of fighting in Sangin. Death, as for many U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan, was instantaneous. The Taliban have developed more powerful bombs and better methods of concealment.

"He went quickly, and thank God he did not suffer," Kelly's father, who is now based in Washington as commander of the Marine reserves, wrote to friends. "In combat that is as good as it gets."

The Marines have rushed replacements to Sangin, including more young officers and Navy corpsmen. Tanks are being shipped. The U.S. hopes the ongoing battle will prove a turning point in the nine-year war against Taliban militants.

In the days after his son's death, the elder John Kelly visited wounded Marines from his late son's battalion who are at National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Maryland. Others are at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. More arrive almost daily. Among the wounded is the son of a recently retired colonel.

Even in his grief, Kelly has tried to discourage news coverage that suggests his son's death is any more tragic than other American losses on the battlefield.

As condolence e-mails and calls began pouring in, Kelly sent back notes of thanks in which he said that for the Kelly family, including his wife, Karen, daughter Kathleen and Robert's wife, Heather, "the pain is unimaginable and we could not do this without you."

John Kelly asked that people "direct the majority of your prayers to his platoon of Marines, still in contact (with the enemy) and in harm's way, and at greater risk without his steady leadership."

Among those attending the funeral were Lieutenant General Thomas Waldhauser, head of Camp Pendleton's 1st Marine Division, and Duncan Hunter, the former Republican congressman and a Kelly family friend.

KELLY, ROBERT MICHAEL
1ST LT   US MARINE CORPS
AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ
DATE OF BIRTH: 09/05/1981
DATE OF DEATH: 11/09/2010
BURIED AT: SECTION 60  SITE 9480
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson


Posted: 18 November 2010 Updated: 22 November 2010 10 January 2011 Udpdated: 9 February 2011
Purple Heart Medal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

RM Kelly Gravesite PHOTO By Eileen Horan February 2011

RM Kelly Gravesite PHOTO By Eileen Horan February 2011

RM Kelly Gravesite PHOTO By Eileen Horan February 2011

RM Kelly Gravesite PHOTO By Eileen Horan February 2011
Photos By Eileen Horan, February 2011

RM Kelly Gravesite PHOTO By Eileen Horan December 2010

RM Kelly Gravesite PHOTO By Eileen Horan December 2010
Photos By Eileen Horan, December 2010