Paul Michael Kelly
Colonel, United States Army
RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 081-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2007
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of 12 soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died in Baghdad, Iraq, on January 20, 2007, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter they were in crashed.
Colonel Brian D. Allgood, 46, of Oklahoma, who was assigned to the 30th Medical Brigade, European Regional Medical Command, Heidelberg, Germany.
Staff Sergeant Darryl D. Booker, 37, of Midlothian, Virginia, who was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division, Virginia Army National Guard, Sandston, Virginia.
Sergeant First Class John G. Brown, 43, of Little Rock, Arkansas, who was assigned to the Arkansas Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 185th Aviation Regiment (Air Assault), 77th Aviation Brigade, Camp Robinson, Arkansas.
Lieutenant Colonel David C. Canegata, 50, of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, who was assigned to the Virgin Islands Army National Guard, Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Command Sergeant Major Marilyn L. Gabbard, 46, of Polk City, Iowa, who was assigned to Joint Forces Headquarters, Iowa Army National Guard, Camp Dodge, Johnston, Iowa.
Command Sergeant Major Roger W. Haller, 49, of Davidsonville, Maryland, who was assigned to the 70th Regiment, Regional Training Institute - Maryland, Maryland Army National Guard, Reisterstown, Maryland.
Colonal Paul M. Kelly, 45, of Stafford, Virginia, who was assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters of the Virginia Army National Guard in Blackstone, Virginia.
Staff Sergeant Floyd E. Lake, 43, of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, who was assigned to the Virgin Islands Army National Guard, Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Corporal Victor M. Langarica, 29, of Decatur, Georgia, who was assigned to the 86th Signal Battalion, Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
Captain Sean E. Lyerly, 31, of Pflugerville, Texas., who was assigned to the Texas Army National Guard's 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, 36th Infantry Division, Austin, Texas.
Major Michael V. Taylor, 40, of North Little Rock, Arkansas, who was assigned to the Arkansas Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 185th Aviation Regiment (Air Assault), 77th Aviation Brigade, Camp Robinson, Arkansas.
First Sergeant William T. Warren, 48, of North Little Rock, Arkansas, who was assigned to the Arkansas Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 185th Aviation Regiment (Air Assault), 77th Aviation Brigade, Camp Robinson, Arkansas.
The incident is under investigation.
For information on Allgood, the media can contact the European Regional Medical Command public affairs office at 011-49-6221-17-3317.
For information on Booker and Kelly, the media can contact the Virginia National Guard public affairs office at (434) 298-6107.
For information on Brown, Taylor and Warren, the media can contact the Arkansas National Guard public affairs office at (501) 212-5020.
For information on Canegata and Lake, the media can contact the Virgin Islands National Guard public affairs office at (340) 712-7750.
For information on Gabbard, the media can contact the Iowa National Guard public affairs office at (515) 252-4582.
For information on Haller, the media can contact the Maryland National Guard public affairs office at (410) 576-6179.
For information on Langarica, the media can contact the Fort Huachuca public affairs office at (520) 533-2752.
For information on Lyerly, the media can contact the Texas National Guard public affairs office at (512) 782-1034.
Colonel Paul Kelly, 45, a University of Dayton and Carroll High School graduate, was among 12 U.S. troops killed Saturday in Baghdad when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed.
Kelly, one of the most senior Army officials to die in Iraq, lived in Stafford, Virginia, with his wife, Maria, and sons Paul David, 9, and John Joseph, 5.
Kelly is to be buried Thursday in Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery, according to his sister-in-law, Peggy Kelly, one of several family members who live in Beavercreek — including Kelly's parents, John and Mary Rose Kelly.
A scholarship fund for Kelly's sons is being set up through St. William of York Catholic School in Stafford.
UD is planning a memorial service, time and place to be announced.
Colonel Paul M. Kelly was nicknamed "the Senator" because he was always shaking soldiers' hands, no matter their rank, colleagues said.
The Carroll High School and University of Dayton graduate was among the 12 soldiers killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed northeast of Baghdad last Saturday.
Kelly, 45, is one of the most senior Army officers to die in Iraq. He was a mentor to many coming up through the ranks, soldiers said.
Sergeant First Class Arturo Robinson remembered how years ago, when he was getting into disciplinary trouble, Kelly told him to take a hard look at the way he was acting.
It was the sort of command that officers give their soldiers all the time — and often it goes ignored. But something about the way Kelly said it — firmly but with respect — got through to Robinson.
"He saved my career," Robinson said. "I would walk behind him in any war, in any place."
Tuesday in Al Asad, Iraq, nearly 200 members of the Virginia National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, gathered in a chapel at their base west of Baghdad to mourn Kelly and the others who died.
Kelly's parents, John and Mary Rose Kelly, and two of his five siblings, Patrick and Theresa, live in Beavercreek.
His brother John, who lives in Boston, recalled a man who cherished the soldiers he worked with.
"Every time we communicated with him, he'd ask us to pray for all the soldiers doing a great job out there," John Kelly said.
"He was extremely caring and dedicated both to the profession and his family and friends. He loved what he did, and he loved his country."
Kelly, of Stafford, Va., was deployed to Iraq
with the National Guard last fall and was to come home in March.
Colonel Paul M. Kelly was remembered as a devoted family man and soldier yesterday as hundreds mourned the highest-ranking National Guard member to die in a combat theater in the Iraq war.
"Paul loved his family, his God, his soldiers, his country," the Rev. David P. Meng told more than 800 mourners, among them Governor Timothy M. Kaine, at St. William of York Catholic Church in Stafford County.
Kelly, 45, was among 12 soldiers who died January 20, 2007, when the UH-60 Black Hawk in which they were flying went down northeast of Baghdad, military officials said. Kelly went to Iraq in August and had been expected to return home next month.
Kelly's wife, Maria, and the couple's two young sons followed his casket into the church after it was blessed with holy water and draped in an ivory-colored pall.
Five-year-old John Joseph clutched his mother's neck as she held him. Paul David, 9, wore a leather bomber-type jacket.
Kelly was not piloting the helicopter that crashed, resulting in the highest number of National Guard fatalities in a single combat incident since at least the Korean War, according to the National Guard.
The boys wrote messages to their father, which were included in yesterday's printed program along with a drawing of a man in a helicopter with "Go Dad!" written beside it.
"Dear Dad," Paul wrote. "I just wanted to tell you I miss you a lot. I was looking forward to Play foot Ball with you. You're my Best friend and the Best Dad ever. We miss you. Love, Paul your son."
John, known as J.J., wrote, "Dear Dad, I love you. I want to wrestle with you when its night time. I want to go food shopping with you and buy lunchables. I want to go to Batman begins Movie with you. Love, J.J."
Meng told the gathering that although they may feel sadness and even anger, heaven welcomes Kelly. "A brother has come home," he said.
Kelly followed his father, a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, into the military. He was commissioned as an officer through the University of Dayton's ROTC program and spent his career in staff and leadership positions with the Guard, serving in Ohio, South Carolina and Virginia.
He was assigned to Joint Force Headquarters-Virginia, with active duty at the Army National Guard Readiness Center in Arlington. He had served in Bosnia, as had Virginia Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Darryl D. Booker, 37, of Midlothian, who also died in the crash.
Kelly is to be buried this morning at Arlington National Cemetery, and Booker is scheduled to be buried there tomorrow.
A sweet, pungent smell wafted through the sanctuary yesterday as the pastor swung a censer, dispensing incense-laced smoke around Kelly's casket near the end of the service.
Mourners sang the "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
as the colonel's wife and sons departed down the center aisle. The casket
was then draped with an American flag and placed by an honor guard into
the back of a silver-colored hearse, where Maria Kelly, standing and holding
J.J., reached out with her older son to touch the coffin.
2 February 2007:
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
Patrick Kelly read those words from 2 Timothy 4:7 at his brother's funeral yesterday.
More than 1,000 people, including members of each branch of the armed services, attended the service for Army Colonel Paul M. Kelly at St. William of York Catholic Church in Stafford.
Kelly's 9-year-old son, Paul David, wore a leather bomber jacket as he brought communion to the altar during the service with his 5-year old brother, J.J.
The 45-year-old helicopter pilot was killed January 20, 2007, in Iraq when the Blackhawk helicopter he was traveling in crashed outside Baghdad. He was not piloting the aircraft. Eleven other soldiers were also killed in the crash, including Staff Sergeant Darryl D. Booker of Midlothian.
In Iraq, Kelly was attached to the Joint Force Headquarters of the Virginia National Guard.
Kelly deployed in August and was due home in March.
Prior to the deployment, Kelly had worked in Arlington as chief of the Aviation and Safety Division at the National Guard Bureau.
Kelly lived in Virginia for nearly 15 years at various posts and met his wife, Maria, while in the area.
She is a former Air Force nurse and volunteers at the parish school as a teacher's aid and nurse.
The couple would have celebrated their 10th anniversary in July.
Kelly will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery today.
COLONEL PAUL MICHAEL KELLY (Age 45)
Paul passed away tragically on January 20, 2007, while serving his country in Operation Iraqi Freedom. COLONEL KELLY is survived by his loving wife, Maria; two dear sons, Paul (age 9) and John (age 5); his parents, Jona and Mary Rose; sisters, Brita and Theresa; brothers, John, Pat, and Tony; various aunts; uncles; cousins; friends and comrades.
Commissioned in 1982 as a National Guard Officer, he served his country honorably as an aviator, officer and a soldier.
A devoted husband and loving father, Paul was also active in the Knights of Columbus and the community which he loved so dearly at St. William of York Parish.
Funeral arrangements have been made at MULLINS AND THOMPSON, Stafford, Virginia, 540-659-7690 with visitation on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 from 6 to 9 p.m. A Mass will be held at St. William of York Catholic Church, Stafford, Virginia, on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 11 a.m. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery following military ceremonies on February 1, 2007 at the New Chapel at Fort Myer at 9 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a fund in Paul's name to St. William of York Paris 540-659-1102.
Interment ceremony set for 12 killed in crash
Twelve soldiers who were killed on January 20, 2007, when their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Baghdad will be honored during a group interment at Arlington National Cemetery.
The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. October 12, 2007.
The soldiers, who belonged to a number of active Army and Army National Guard units, are: Colonel Brian D. Allgood, 46, of Okla. Colonel Paul M. Kelly, 45, of Stafford, Virginia, Lieuetnant Colonel David C. Canegata III, 50, of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Captain Michael V. Taylor, 40, of North Little Rock, Arkansas, Captain Sean E. Lyerly, 31, of Pflugerville, Texas, Command Sergeant Major Marilyn L. Gabbard, 46, of Polk City, Iowa, Command Sergeant Major Roger W. Haller, 49, of Davidsonville, Maryland, First Sergeant William T. Warren, 48, of North Little Rock, Arkansas, Sergeant First Class Floyd E. Lake Sr., 43, of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Sergeant First Class Class John G. Brown, 43, of Little Rock, Arkansas, Staff Sergeant Darryl D. Booker, 37, of Midlothian, Virginia, and Corporal Victor M. Langarica, 29, of Decatur, Georgia.
After the ceremony, Lieutenant General Clyde Vaughn, director of the Army National Guard, will host a reception for all 12 families at the Army Guard's Readiness Center in Arlington, Virginia.
KELLY, PAUL MICHAEL
Photo By Michael Robert Patterson, May 2008
Photo Courtesy of Holly, March 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, February 2007