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Marine 1st Lt. Robert M. Kelly

Died November 9, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


29, of Tallahassee, Fla.; assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died Nov. 9 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.

Kelly looked forward to long career in military

By Jeff Burlew

Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Marine 1st Lt. Robert M. Kelly had a quick wit, a fondness for history and ice hockey, and a deep love of country, his friends and family members said.

Kelly, 29, a 2003 Florida State University graduate, was killed Nov. 9 by the blast of an improvised explosive device while taking part in dismounted combat operations against enemy forces in Helmand province, Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.

He was an infantry officer assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif. The decorated officer was a son of Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly, commander of the Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North. His brother, John Kelly, also is a Marine.

“Growing up in a military family, he had a sense of duty,” said Matthew Rowland, who met Kelly in 2000 when they were freshmen at FSU. “I think he always knew he was going into the military. When we were in school, he studied a lot of military history — he was a big reader and a history buff.”

Rowland got to know Kelly from their days living in Cash Hall on campus. At one point, Kelly caught a glimpse of Rowland’s first cousin, Heather Landry, and asked him to introduce them.

“He kept saying, ‘Set us up — let’s go out on a double date,’ “ Rowland recalled. “Eventually, we went out on a double date. And they did hit it off. They were pretty much inseparable.”

Kelly and Landry married June 30, 2007. They were making their home in Oceanside, Calif., friends said.

Rowland remembered Kelly as quick-witted, intelligent and patriotic. He last spoke to him a few weeks ago, the day before Kelly was deployed to Afghanistan.

“He said he definitely wanted to make [the military] a career and that he liked what he was doing,” Rowland said. “He felt like he was doing a good thing.”

Kelly was born at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. and graduated from Gar-Field Senior High School in Woodbridge, Va., said his close friend, Mike LaBella.

He also is survived by his mother, Karen Kelly, and a sister, Kathleen Kelly.


Officer killed in Helmand was 3-star’s son

By Gina Cavallaro

Staff writer

A Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based Marine officer killed Nov. 9 while on foot patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, was the son of a Marine three-star general.

First Lt. Robert M. Kelly, 29, who was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, was killed by an improvised explosive device, according to a 1st Marine Division release.

He was the son of Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly, commander of Marine Forces Reserve, a spokeswoman at the command confirmed.

First Lt. Kelly, commissioned on Dec. 12, 2008, after having served as an enlisted Marine, was on his third combat deployment.

Lt. Gen. Kelly is largely credited with maintaining the security environment achieved in Anbar province, Iraq, during his command of I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) in 2008.

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