Thousands of young Americans enlist in the National Guard each year, and we thank all of them for their service to our country. But certain cases do warrant some extra attention. We were particularly impressed by the example of the young Paul David Kelly of Virginia, who recently enlisted as an Army Guard member.
Twenty years after his parents got married and 10 years after losing his father in an Iraq helicopter shoot down, Pvt. Paul David Kelly, 19, raised his right hand and enlisted into the Virginia National Guard. Via army.mil
Pvt. Kelly’s father, Paul M. Kelly, was a Colonel in the Virginia National Guard and was killed along with 11 other soldiers when their helicopter was shot down north of Baghdad. But for the young Kelly, resolution grew out of tragedy:
“When he was killed in Iraq, it had a huge impact on me,” Pvt. Kelly said.
“I remember when I was nine years old I decided then that I wanted to pursue something in the military.” Ten years later, at the Military Entry Processing Station located on Fort Lee, Virginia, Pvt.
Kelly fulfilled that goal by enlisting as an infantry Soldier assigned to the Christiansburg-based Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Via army.mil
Many in the Virginia Guard have cited Colonel Kelly as having been a great mentor with a cordial leadership style. Among those who have praised his leadership is current Virginia National Guard Chief of Staff Colonel James Ring, who swore Pvt. Kelly into the Guard at his enlistment ceremony.
We commend Pvt. Kelly for his commitment and patriotism after his family has already given so much to this country.
Kelly’s mother Maria served in the Air Force and said that she sees her son’s enlistment as connected to her husband’s service:
“It’s a sad moment for my husband that he passed, but it’s a happy moment for my son who will continue the legacy for my husband,” she said.
As a mom, she’s nervous about her son entering the military but said, “I know, in my heart, he’ll be okay. His dad will be proud of him, is looking down on him, and I raised him right.” Via army.mil
You certainly did. And we thank you for it.
Featured image courtesy of army.mil