Jonas Benton Kelsall – Lieutenant Commander (SEAL), United States Navy

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 705-11
August 11, 2011

DOD Identifies Service Members Killed In CH-47 Crash

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of 30 servicemembers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.  They died August 6, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

The following sailors assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:

Lieutenant Commander (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana

Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, California

Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Arkansas

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii,

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Connecticut

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Massachusetts

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Missouri

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas,

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, West Virginia

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit, Michigan

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, California

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, North Carolina

Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah,

Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Nebraska

Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa,

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Florida, and

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah.

The following sailors assigned to a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed: 

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Ukiah, California, and

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of Saint Paul, Minnesota

The soldiers killed were: 

Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, 47, of Centennial, Colo.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation      Battalion), Aurora, Colorado

Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kan.  He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas

Staff Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Neb.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Grand Island, Nebraska

Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Wash.  He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas; and

Spc. Spencer C. Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kan.  He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas

The airmen killed were: 

Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Florida

Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, California; and

Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pennsylvania

All three airmen were assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, North Carolina


LONG BEACH (CBS) — The son of one of the business leaders in the city of Lakewood was among 30 Navy SEALs who was killed in Afghanistan this weekend, according to a report Monday.

Lieutenant Commander Jonas Kelsall, 33, is the son of John Kelsall, the president and CEO of The Greater Lakewood Chamber of Commerce.

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Kelsall and the other SEALs were killed Saturday when Taliban insurgents attacked their Chinook helicopter while they were on a mission.

The Shreveport, Lousiana native was killed along with his childhood friend and fellow Navy Seal, Chief Petty Officer Robert James Reeves, according to the Shreveport Times newspaper.

The Lakewood connection was first reported by the Long Beach Beachcomber newspaper on its website.

Kelsall and Reeves were both graduates of Caddo Magnet High School in Shreveport, where they played soccer together, the paper reported. Both joined the military after graduation.

Jonas Kelsall received most of his training in San Diego and was one of the first members of Seal Team 7, his father told the Shreveport paper.

He attended the University of Texas out of Basic Underwater Demolition training and met his wife, Victoria, there. They had been married three years, according to the Shreveport paper.

John Kelsall has been president and CEO of the Lakewood Chamber since 2005. He is also a co-founder of the Los Angeles County Business Federation, known as BizFed, a group that works to give local companies “a voice” in policy matters.

An associate of John Kelsall told the Beachcomber he was always talking about “my son, the SEAL.”


Jonas Benton Kelsall bio
Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy
Naval Special Warfare Group TWO

Lieutenant Commander Kelsall, 32, was a native of Shreveport, Louisiana. He enlisted in the United States Navy in September 1996.

After graduating Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Illinois in December, 1996, he reported to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training in Coronado, California. Soon after graduating BUD/S in August, 1997, he attended Naval Recruit Officer Training Corps at the University of Texas until September, 2001. He then reported to Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command in Coronado, California for follow-on training and was then assigned to a West Coast based SEAL Team until April, 2008. He reported to his East Coast based SEAL Team in May, 2008.

Lieutenant Commander Kelsall’s awards include Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” device for valor (2), Joint Service Commendation Medal with Combat “V” device for valor, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Rifle Marksmanship Medal, and Pistol Marksmanship Medal.


SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA – Lieutenant Commander Jonas B. Kelsall was born on November 8, 1978, in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was killed in action in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011, fighting for his country as a United States Navy SEAL. Jonas committed every day of his life to the happiness of his wife, Victoria; family; and friends; as well as to service for his country.

Fast friends with all he met, Jonas was a magnetic storyteller who shared his compassion, humor, and energy with those around him. Full of spontaneity, he was known for surprising his loved ones, whether with playful pranks or unexpected acts of kindness—such as flying halfway around the world to surprise Victoria and her family on Christmas Eve.

Jonas led a fulfilling life with his wife, family, friends, and teammates. Devoted to his family, he and Victoria prioritized spending time with them in California, Texas, Virginia, and Michigan. He also took great pride in his job and valued the commitment, skill, loyalty, and friendship of his teammates. Despite spending a great deal of time on deployment, Jonas never considered his job a sacrifice, but instead a great honor. When not working, he enjoyed traveling with Victoria to places such as France, Belgium, Portugal, China, Israel and Turkey. Throughout all of his travels, however, Jonas was always happy to return home to the United States, and often expressed how fortunate he felt to be an American.

Jonas enlisted in the Navy after graduating from Caddo Magnet High School in Shreveport, where he excelled in soccer. Jonas completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado, California, in 1997. He then attended the University of Texas at Austin as a member of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, along with his future wife, Victoria. Jonas and Victoria discovered their interest in travel and love for one another while studying abroad in Paris, France.

Jonas received his Navy commission in 2001 and was one of the original plank owners of a West Coast based SEAL Team in Coronado, California. Jonas and Victoria were married in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2007 and in 2008, after an arduous training and selection process, Jonas reported to his East Coast based SEAL team as troop commander.

During his numerous deployments in support of the War on Terror, Jonas was awarded a Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals with Combat “V” Devices for Valor, a Purple Heart, a Joint Service Commendation Medal with Combat “V” Device for Valor, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, two Joint Service Achievement Medals and numerous other personal and unit decorations.

Jonas is survived by his wife, Victoria Jennings Kelsall of McLean, Virginia; his parents John and Teri Kelsall, who currently reside in Los Angeles; and sister Kim Kelsall, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana. He will be eternally loved and remembered by his wife, family, friends and teammates.

A private memorial will be held in Shreveport, Louisiana. and a private funeral will be held in Falls Church, Virginia. The burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that you consider a donation to the Navy SEAL Foundation “Jonas Kelsall Fund”, 1619 D Street, Bldg. 5326, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23459.

KELSALL, JONAS B  

  • LCDR   US NAVY
  • AFGHANISTAN
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 11/08/1978
  • DATE OF DEATH: 08/06/2011
  • BURIED AT: SECTION 60  SITE 9937
  • ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

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