Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Bryan Patrick Kelly

Bryan Patrick Kelly

Klamath Falls, Oregon

July 16, 2004

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
21 Marine L/Cpl

1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Camp Pendleton, California

Died due to injuries received from enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

Bryan P Kelly Bryan P Kelly Bryan P Kelly

Bryan Patrick Kelly

For Some Memorial Service Snapshots, Click photo below:

Bryan Patrick Kelly

July 28, 2004

From Donna & Ryan Huntsman 08/01/04:

Bryan was the best son-in-law I almost had.

Bryan Kelly wishing kate a Happy Birthday from Iraq

Happy Birthday Kate

Bryan Kelly  and Kate

Kat & Bryan 10/2003

Bryan Kelly at Sadam Palace Babylon 2003

Bryan at Sadam Palace Babylon 2003

Bryan Kelly and his girl Kate.

Bryan and his girl.

Lance Cpl. Bryan P. Kelly of Klamath, Oregon was a 2001 graduate of Klamath Union High School. His father is a former detective in the Klamath County sheriff's office, and his mother is active in community theater. He joined the Marine Corps in June 2002 and in 2003 graduated with honors from the Marine Corps Basic Combat Engineer Course. As a child he would often pretend to be firefighter, dressing up in rain jackets and dragging around a garden hose. The picnic table was his fire engine, and shrubs were the fires he was trying to put out. As a young man he worked as a volunteer firefighter and served in the Police Explorers. He met Klamath Falls native Kate at a skate park when he was 11, and had proposed on the day after Thanksgiving. The couple were to be wed Nov. 27. Bryan was a cheerful man who was seldom with out a smile. He had sort of a grin; he knew they were people back home supporting him and waiting for him. He was 21.
From Captain Keith Bartleson 12/17/04:

Dear Sir or Madam,
Thank you for Brian P Kelly. His sacrifice to our country and to my family.
God bless you all for your sacrifice.
Sincerely
Captain Keith Bartleson

Oregon Marine killed in Iraq

Associated Press

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — A Marine from Oregon has become one of the latest casualties in the war in Iraq, officials said Monday.

Lance Cpl. Bryan P. Kelly, 21, of Klamath Falls, died July 16 after he was wounded in Anbar province, according to the Department of Defense.

Kelly was assigned to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Officials at Camp Pendleton declined to provide details about his death.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski on Monday asked that flags be flown at half-staff around the state on Tuesday in honor of Kelly.

“Lance Cpl. Kelly’s bravery, commitment, and sacrifice will not be forgotten,” said Kulongoski, a former Marine. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the many other families who still have loved ones away at war.”

Kelly, a 2001 graduate of Klamath Union High School, is the second Marine from Klamath Falls killed in Iraq.

His father, Patrick Kelly, is a former detective in the Klamath County sheriff’s office, and his mother, Joani Kelly, is active in community theater, according to a report in The Herald and News in Klamath Falls.

Two Marines drove from Eugene with a chaplain to notify the family, Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger told the newspaper.

The sheriff said he remembered the business-like, “alpha green” uniforms of the Marines, and he looked around the living room at the photos of Bryan Kelly.

“He was a real easy-going kind. He joined the Police Explorers, following in his father’s footsteps,” Evinger told the Klamath Falls newspaper. “He was fun to be around, a real good kid. We’re going to miss him.”

Kelly joined the Marine Corps in June 2002 and in 2003 graduated with honors from the Marine Corps Basic Combat Engineer Course.
Oregon soldier killed in Iraq honored

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Gov. Ted Kulongoski flew home from the Democratic National Convention to honor a Marine who had dreamed of becoming a volunteer firefighter alongside his best friend.

Kulongoski spoke Wednesday evening at a public memorial service for Lance Cpl. Bryan Kelly, the second Marine from Klamath Falls to die fighting in Iraq.

“Klamath Falls has been especially hard hit by this war,” Kulongoski said.

“I can’t bring Bryan Kelly back to the warm and loving arms of his family,” he said, looking down at the parents of the slain 21-year-old. “But I promise this, your son will not be forgotten.”

A 2001 Klamath Union High School graduate, Kelly had been serving his second tour of duty when he was killed July 16 by a roadside bomb in Iraq’s Anbar province.

He was the seventh Marine from Oregon to die in Iraq.

Lance Cpl. Gary Van Leuven, who graduated from Klamath Falls’ Mazama High School in 2002, was killed in Iraq in April. Kulongoski has gone to services for all seven of the fallen Oregon Marines.

Kelly had joined the Marines after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to his best friend, Capt. Mark Shea of Klamath County Fire District No. 4.

“That is what he felt he had to do,” Shea said.

As children, Shea said the two would often pretend to be firefighters, dressing up in rain jackets and dragging around a garden hose. The picnic table was their fire engine, and shrubs were the fires they were trying to put out.

“Our parents wondered why the trees and bushes grew so well, but if you put as much water as we did on anything, it would grow,” Shea said.

Kelly also worked as a volunteer firefighter and served in the Police Explorers while growing up.

He met Klamath Falls native Kate Huntsman at a skate park when he was 11, and had proposed on the day after Thanksgiving. The couple were to be wed Nov. 27.

“As his father said, ‘You couldn’t ask for a better son,”’ Kulongoski said.

Others remembered Kelly as a cheerful man who was seldom with out a smile.

1st Lt. Casey Farrell, who was Kelly’s platoon commander for seven months, said the soldier would often lay on his cot and shuffle through photos of family and friends during down time.

“He had sort of a grin; he knew they were people back home supporting him and waiting for him,” Farrell said.

--- Associated Press
From The Union-Tribune utsandiego.com 08/21/04:

Fallen: Bryan P. Kelly, Marine lance corporal

August 21, 2004

Age 21

Since he was a little boy, Bryan P. Kelly couldn't decide whether to become a firefighter or a policeman like his father.

But he was determined, as he was in everything, to be one or the other. As a teenager, he joined the Police Explorers and was chief by 17. He also volunteered as a firefighter and was certified within a year.

When he graduated from high school, Kelly enrolled at a community college in his hometown of Klamath Falls, Ore., to become certified as an emergency medical technician.

Then Sept. 11 happened and he put his future on hold.

"He was fighting a battle from there on," said his father, Patrick Kelly. "He said, 'This isn't right. We've got to do something about this.' "

On July 16, Kelly made the ultimate sacrifice.

The 21-year-old Marine lance corporal was killed by enemy fire when shrapnel hit him in the back of the head while he was fighting in Iraq's Anbar province, his father said.

Kelly, who joined the Marine Corps on June 10, 2002, was a combat engineer assigned to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division from Camp Pendleton.

"I would like (people) to remember that he put this country above himself," Patrick Kelly said. "He stopped his life to go in the service because of what happened in 9/11. He didn't have to do that. Most of the young men his age didn't do that. He did "

Kelly came from a family of soldiers who served from the Civil War to Vietnam. When he told his parents he wanted to enlist, they encouraged him. Even today, his father said, "I'd give him the same answer."

"I'm very proud of the fact that he was a Marine," Kelly said. "They try to teach their men to be honorable men and to be courageous, and that's exactly what I believe men should be."

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski was among the estimated 1,000 mourners who attended Kelly's funeral, according to the Herald and News of Klamath Falls.

The governor was quoted as saying: "I can't bring Bryan Kelly back to the warm and loving arms of his family ... but I promise this, your son will not be forgotten. As his father said, 'You couldn't ask for a better son.' "

Kelly called his son a "mighty fine Christian" who went to Bible school up to the age limit and then taught it as a youth assistant.

"He loved working with the kids," his father said.

Kelly never dated a girl he didn't take to church, and attended services at Suburban Heights Baptist Church every chance he could when he was home.

Patrick Kelly said his family's faith in God has helped them cope.

"Our family has been a very happy family," he said. "God has been good to us. I don't know how to explain it, but there's a joy in our family that comes from being a Christian family. Even in bad times, that joy is still there."

Kelly is also survived by his mother, Joan; two brothers, David and Sean; his fiancee, Katy Huntsman; and grandparents Ruby and John Coughran of Dinuba.

– Daniel J. Chacón 

(reprinted from the HeraldAndNews.com, July 29, 2004)
Family, town share grief over loss of Bryan Kelly

By DYLAN DARLING

H&N Staff Writer

Yellow firefighter boots and a well-worn helmet sat empty next to a photograph of Marine Lance Cpl. Bryan Kelly as Klamath Falls said goodbye Wednesday to a second Marine killed in the war in Iraq.

"Klamath Falls has been especially hard hit by this war," said Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who spoke at a public memorial service.

Two ceremonies were held to honor Kelly - a morning service for those close to the 21-year-old and an evening service for the public in his hometown.

Kelly, who was on his second tour of duty in Iraq, had wanted to return and be a volunteer firefighter. The boots and helmet were the ones he wore as a volunteer with Klamath County Fire District No. 4.

"I can't bring Bryan Kelly back to the warm and loving arms of his family ... but I promise this, your son will not be forgotten," Kulongoski said, looking down at Kelly's parents from a podium.

"As his father said, 'You couldn't ask for a better son,' " Kulongoski said.

A 2001 Klamath Union High School graduate, Kelly was killed in action July 16 by a roadside bomb in Iraq's Al Anbar Province. He was manning the machine-gun turret of a Humvee when a manufactured explosive device went off, said Marine Sgt. P.V. Bland at the public service.

Lance Cpl. Gary Van Leuven, a 2002 graduate of Mazama High School, was killed in combat in April. Kelly and Van Leuven are among seven Marines from Oregon to die in Iraq. Kulongoski, a Marine veteran, has gone to services for all seven and flew from the Democratic National Convention in Boston to attend the Klamath Falls ceremony.

Kelly had joined after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, feeling he needed to serve his country.

"That is what he felt he had to do," said Kelly's best friend, Capt. Mark Shae of Klamath County Fire District No. 4.

The two had shared a dream of being firefighters together since they met when Shea was 7. They would dress up in rain jackets and grab a garden hose. The picnic table was their fire engine, and shrubs were the fires they were trying to put out.

"Our parents wondered why the trees and bushes grew so well - but if you put as much water as we did on anything, it would grow," Shae said.

Kelly's first big move from his parents' house was down the block to Shae's house so the two could get to fire calls together quicker. He later left to go fight in Iraq.

After Shae spoke at the public service, he had the firefighters and law enforcement officials turn up their radios to hear dispatch give a final call for Bryan Kelly. The radios squelched and beeped the alarm warning of a fire before the dispatcher gave a message honoring Kelly. She ended with, "Thanks for serving our country."

Wednesday morning, fire trucks, an ambulance and police squad cars mixed in with the sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks parked around the memorial service for friends and family at a Klamath Falls cemetery.

In the crowd of more than 100 were family members and friends, Marines, firefighters, police officers and sheriff's deputies - all people Kelly had touched in his 21 years, including his two older brothers, David and Sean, and parents, Patrick and Joani.

"He had a tenacious desire to succeed," said Mountain Allbritton, the girlfriend of David Kelly. Allbritton spoke at the private service on behalf of the family.

Six of Kelly's Marine brothers carried his flag-draped casket from a white hearse to a stand in front of the Acacia Veterans Memorial, a tribute Eternal Hills has for fallen veterans, this morning.

At the evening public service, almost 1,000 people were joined by the governor.

Somber patriotic songs played over public address system before and after the memorial service.

Pastor Bill Swartz of Suburban Heights Baptist Church, where the Kellys attend, led both services.

He said he would often get calls from Kelly in Iraq on Sundays, interrupting his prayers and preparations for church, but it was a welcome interruption. Kelly would tell Swartz he could feel the power of his prayers.

"He said, 'My heart belongs to God, everything else belongs to the Marine Corps,' " Swartz said.

He said Kelly often wore a smile that made him nothing but teeth and ears.

"He was truly a person who could light up people around him," he said.

That smile was something he carried even in the rough military fatigues of a Marine.

"Everyone here today would know what kind of person Bryan was," said 1st Lt. Casey Farrell, who was Kelly's platoon commander for seven months during his first tour of duty.

Farrell, who is from Chicago, said Marines eat, sleep and fight together and have a camaraderie like no other.

During their tour, Farrell said the Marines in his platoon called a bombed-out concrete building home. His cot was toe-to-toe with Kelly's.

When they had down time, Kelly would lie on his cot with his shirt off to beat the heat and his headphones on to drown out the sounds of war. He would look up at photos of friends and family he taped to the wall and shuffle through a stack of even more photos.

"He had sort of a grin," Farrell said. "He knew there were people back home supporting him and waiting for him."

Some of his favorite photos were ones of Kate Huntsman, a Klamath Falls girl he met at a skating rink when he was 11 and had dated occasionally since.

"He said, 'Sir, I think I'm going to ask this girl to marry me,' " Farrell said.

Between his two tours, he did just that. He proposed the day after Thanksgiving and the couple were to be wed on Nov. 27.

Farrell said he and Bryan Kelly would also talk about home and had an ongoing debate about whose dad was tougher.

"Seeing Mr. Kelly here today, I think Bryan won," he said.

A retired Klamath County sheriff's detective and former Klamath Falls police trainer, Patrick Kelly now manages the Gull Station at South Sixth Street and Washburn Way.

Farrell ended his words with a tearful salute to his fallen friend.

Folded American flags were given to Joani Kelly and Huntsman after a gun salute and playing of taps. Kulongoski also gave Joani Kelly a flag at the public service.

Patrick Kelly stood and thanked the gathering at the end of the service as many filed past the casket of the young Marine.

Governor helped get Marine home

Gov. Ted Kulongoski helped fallen Klamath Falls Marine Lance Cpl. Bryan Kelly get home last week.

Sheriff Tim Evinger, who is a friend of the Kellys, got a call from members of the family Wednesday, July 21, who were trying to figure out the logistics of getting the young Marine's body back to Klamath Falls.

The U.S. Marine Corps can fly a fallen Marine to large commercial airports, but from there families need to figure out the arrangements, Evinger said. Thus, the Kellys were trying to arrange a flight from Sacramento, Reno or Portland.

"It was very important to the family to have Bryan fly into Klamath Falls, so he could be there when the (extended) family got there," he said.

Just after his talk with the Kellys, Evinger saw Kulongoski, who was in Klamath Falls last week. He told the governor of the predicament.

Two hours later, the governor called and said that he would take care of getting a flight.

Friday, an Oregon National Guard C-23 plane flew Kelly's body to Kingsley field, where firefighters, police officers and sheriff deputies stood at attention and a Marine honor guard took him off the plane.
Tuesday, July 20. 2004

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Camp Pendleton Marine Lance Cpl. Bryan P. Kelly
Governor Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement regarding the death of Lance Cpl. Bryan P. Kelly of Klamath, OR, who was stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA:
"Maria and I send our heartfelt condolences to Bryan's family during this time of mourning and grief. Bryan has left behind a legacy of freedom, honor and courage. He will be deeply missed by all whose lives he touched."
Lance Cpl. Kelly, 21, died July 16 due to injuries received from enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, CA.
In honor of Lance Cpl. Kelly, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.
From Babtist Press bpnews.net 08/11/04:

Community remembers soldier who loved to be in worship 
By Cameron Crabtree 
Aug 11, 2004 
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (BP)--As flags at public buildings in Oregon were lowered to half-staff in mid-July, prayers at Suburban Heights Baptist Church in Klamath Falls were raised to honor Lance Cpl. Bryan P. Kelly, who died July 16 from wounds sustained by an explosion in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province.

The 21-year-old Marine was the son of Patrick and Joanie Kelly. Patrick Kelly, recently retired from the Klamath Falls police department, is the worship leader and a deacon at the Klamath Falls church.

“Lance Cpl. Kelly’s bravery, commitment and sacrifice will not be forgotten,” Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski said in a public statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the many other families who still have loved ones away at war.”

Kelly had six weeks remaining on his second tour of duty in Iraq as a combat engineer. Working near Baghdad, Kelly and his fellow Marines routinely patrolled the roads and detonated hidden ordnance caches.

The soldier, who planned to marry his fiancé this November, is among more than 900 Americans killed during military operations in the country.

The Defense Department did not release any details about Kelly’s death, only that it stemmed from “injuries received from enemy action.”

“This was just an exceptional young man,” said Pastor Bill Swartz. “The first day he accepted Jesus Christ, when he was 14, he went and got his best friend and shared with him and he accepted the Lord. Every one of the girls he dated, he led to Christ.”

“Families in these circumstances tend to make saints of their kids,” Patrick Kelly told the Klamath Falls Herald and News. “We don’t have to. You couldn’t ask for a better son.”

Swartz agreed with the father’s assessment: “I couldn’t find anyone in this town who would have a bad thing to say about Bryan.”

Kelly was active in the church’s youth ministry and regularly attended worship services.

“When he was home, he was there in the second pew,” Swartz said. “He loved worship.”

Swartz noted that when Kelly was able to call home, he usually called about 20 minutes before church began on Sunday mornings.

“He knew his mother was getting ready for worship,” Swartz said. “He’d tell his mom, ‘I can feel the prayers. Keep praying.’

“When I would talk to him he’d tell me, ‘Pastor, I miss worship’” Swartz added. “It was almost as if he was calling to encourage us.”

Nine members of the Suburban Heights church have been part of the military campaign in Iraq. Seven of them have arrived home safely and one is still there -- Nathan Gushwa, son of High Desert Baptist Association director of missions Aaren Gushwa. Three other members of the church began basic training with the armed forces this summer.

Although young adults living in the economically stressed region find military service benefits attractive, Swartz also attributes the high number of local enlistments to the local culture’s emphasis on duty, honor and traditional values.

That became evident, Swartz said, after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Following 9/11, many of our people in Klamath Falls decided that they knew what God wanted them to do, and they chose to serve their country,” Swartz said.

Kelly was one among them. According to Swartz, he delayed plans to become a firefighter and joined the U.S. Marines in 2002.

“I told him it was a good thing to do,” Patrick Kelly told the local Herald and News. “If I had it to do all over again, I’d tell him the same thing.”

“He was very proud to be a Marine,” Joanie Kelly told the newspaper. “He wore his uniform with great honor.

“When you watch these kids grow up and teach them all their lives that they have to trust God, you had better believe it when they make decisions [to enlist]. I admit I’ve had my moments of anxiety, but I’m incredibly proud of them.”

Swartz praised the efforts of Suburban Heights church members as they ministered to the Kelly family during their loss.

“I have the greatest respect for the people of this church who have done everything they could have to help this family, without even being asked,” Swartz said. “They just went and did it and that’s the heart of what it means to be a family of God. When times like this come, you just are grateful.”

About 100 people participate in the church’s regular activities, so the impact of Kelly’s death is felt by everyone, the pastor noted. “I imagine we’ll have a long process [of healing],” he said.

Kelly is the second Marine from Klamath Falls killed in the region. Back in April, Lance Cpl. Gary Van Leuven also died in action in Al Anbar Province. 

The Kelly family held a private graveside service July 27 and a public memorial service the next evening.

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