Updated 11-10 7:36pm
On the eve of Veterans Day, WCTV learned that A decorated U.S. marine and FSU graduate loses his life in Afghanistan.
Tuesday is Veterans Day, and one local war hero says the ones lucky enough to survive become veterans.
Wednesday, we received the news that a U.S. Marine from Tallahassee--2nd Lt. Robert Kelly--did not survive Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
"I know what it looks like because I made the invasion of France on Normandy Beach."
Hearing that a U.S. Marine from Tallahassee has been killed in Afghanistan brings painful memories to World War II Veteran Albert McGonigal.
McGonigal said, "It's something you never forget. It's so sad that we lost a man again. Lt. Kelly lost his life in a war that should never had been. I hate to see this because it saddens me. I know what it is to see somebody get killed."
The U.S. Marine Corps says 29-year-old 2nd Lt. Robert Kelly was killed Wednesday by the blast of an explosive device while he was doing combat patrol on foot in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division from Camp Pendleton, California.
Vietnam Veteran Joe West said, "You have to write that check to the United States government that's payable up to and including your life. Unfortunately, for this young marine lieutenant, that check was cashed in full."
A marine corps spokesperson says Kelly graduated from Florida State University.
This was his third combat deployment since joining the corps in December 2008.
West said, "Everyone hurts and everyone will always hurt. All of my brothers and all of sisters who've worn that uniform feel that pain every time we hear about one of these."
2nd Lt. Kelly was awarded nearly a dozen combat ribbons and awards, including the high honor of the Purple Heart.
The Marine Corps was not able to provide us with his picture.
At this time, we do not have any information regarding a memorial. But, Joe West says if the family asks the Patriot Guard to establish a flag line or do an escort for a memorial, they will most definitely do so.
[UPDATE] 11-10 8:45AM --
The 1st Marine Division releases a statement about 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly:
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - The United States Marine Corps mourns the loss of one of their own.
2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, was killed by an IED blast while conducting dismounted combat operations against enemy forces in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Wednesday.
Kelly, a 29-year-old infantry officer from Tallahassee, Fla., was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Kelly was commissioned in the Marine Corps December 12, 2008. This was his third combat deployment.
His personal service awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
The Marines and sailors of the 1st Marine Division mourn the loss of 2nd Lt. Kelly. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family.
Tallahassee, Florida --
The Department of Defense announced today (Nov. 10) the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, 29, of Tallahassee, Fla., died Nov. 9 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, Calif.
Stay with WCTV.tv for details.