[UPDATE] Local Marine Casualty

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.

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[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.

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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.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Mariah Location: Tallahassee on Nov 24, 2010 at 01:05 PM
    Please let us know when the funeral will be held. I would love to go pay my respects. My heart goes out to his family during this hard time!
  • by jy Location: oklahoma on Nov 22, 2010 at 11:45 AM
    I deployed with this Marine in 2006 when he was not yet an officer. He was a great Marine. I will miss you brother
  • by sisie Location: usa on Nov 12, 2010 at 07:22 PM
    Emily does have the right cause people like Lt.KELLY Died for her to say it. BUT SHE still could have kept that part to her self. What did it do to make the family feel any better?? NONE!!! My bro was a Marine who fought in Nam. I don't think something like that said would made our family feel any better.
  • by J Location: Georgia on Nov 12, 2010 at 04:32 AM
    I have been thinking about Lt Kelly's family since yesterday. I can't image how they feel. I was privilaged to work with his dad several years ago. If he was anything like his dad, he was a good man. Please pray that God will give his family what they need to get through this.
  • by Patricia Location: El Paso, TX on Nov 11, 2010 at 01:07 PM
    My heartfelt condolences to Lt Kelly's family, friends and fellow Marines. Lt. Kelly was my sons Platoon Commander my son his Plt Sgt. My son spoke hightly of Lt Kelly on his last leave home before they deployed. This a a great loss to the 3/5 Marines and Marine Corps. Lt Kelly took the time to e-mail my daughter in-law last week with a message from son. We now have one more Marine standing tall at heavens gates.
  • by designgirl on Nov 11, 2010 at 09:47 AM
    @Crooked Televangelist With Perfect Hair - Happy Veterans Day and than you for your service. I don't want to take this thread in the wrong direction since it is about Lt Kelly. I just didn't think telling Emily to keep her opinions to herself was very polite.
  • by honored on Nov 11, 2010 at 08:08 AM
    I was not priveleged to know this Marine or his family. I can only thank him and them for his service to America. He gave the ultimate sacrifice to help keep the savagery out of our country. Our troops are fighting a battle against animals who have no qualms about sacrificing their own for a hedonistic life. God has called this angel home, the beasts who brought him down will face our God one day and be cast into the depths of hell where they belong.
  • by Crooked Televangelist With Perfect Hair Location: Walking Downstairs To The Veteran's Day Parade on Nov 11, 2010 at 07:12 AM
    @designgirl - Re-read my post. Specifically lines 1 and 2. Semper Fidelis, Bryan
  • by Miriam Location: Thomasville, GA on Nov 11, 2010 at 04:15 AM
    My deepest condolences to the family. He was a true hero. Thank you for your sacrifice and service.
  • by Sharon Location: Perry, Fl on Nov 11, 2010 at 03:49 AM
    Our heart goes out to LT Kelly family. He will be always be remembered as a hero to all, even if we did not know him personally. We are a true military family and our son has had 3 tours to Iraq so far. I worried as a Mom every time I heard of something happening. God has another soldier to stand guard in heaven. Your son sacrificed all for our freedom. May God help you during this time of greif.
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