Who Was Michael Kelly? Donald Trump's Homeland Security Pick Is A Gold Star Parent
On Wednesday, it was reported that President-elect Donald Trump would be making another big cabinet pick. News broke that Trump will nominate decorated retired four-star general John F. Kelly for secretary of homeland security. As outlets rushed to report after Kelly's military career, another personal detail was often mentioned. Kelly is a Gold Star father, with many wondering who was John Kelly's son, Michael Kelly?
It is not surprising considering that Kelly served the military for more than 40 years that his two sons, John and Robert, also enlisted in the Marine Corps. While Kelly was serving as the three-star head of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North in 2010 when his son, Lt. Michael Kelly, while leading a platoon in Afghanistan stepped on a mine in Sangin and lost his life.
It's something that sets the veteran apart from other members of Trump's cabinet. As the Military Times wrote of Kelly:
The 66-year-old veteran has the somber distinction of being the highest-ranking American military official to lose a child in combat during the recent wars. His son, Marine Lt. Robert Michael Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
The very-real high stakes were something that came front and center during the Vice Presidential debate with both VP candidates sparring over which presidential candidate would be equipped to fend for national security and protect and honor military families. Kelly told Foreign Policy in an interview published this past july that he would serve under either Trump or Clinton if called on to do so during the campaign season. Kelly said either “will be in desperate need — and I mean desperate need — of military and foreign policy advice, because the world out there is just getting crazier and crazier."
Gen. Kelly tried to use the so-called distinction of having lost a son to make an impact on the military world and connect those stakes with parents of military families and otherwise, by giving speeches to the community after his son's passing. In 2010, days after learning of Michael's death, Kelly spoke to the Semper Fi Society, a group devoted to marines and their families. He said:
If anyone thinks you can somehow thank them for their service and not support the cause for which they fight –- America's survival -- then these people are lying to themselves and rationalizing away something in their own lives, but more importantly they are slighting our warriors and mocking their commitment to this nation ... It's not Bush's war. It's not Obama's war. It's our war and we can't run away from it.
According to a USA Today report, when Kelly was asked in 2013 if anything was worth the loss of a child, he responded:
"I realized the question was not mine to ask or to answer ... It didn't matter what I thought. Only what he thought. The answer was his to give. He gave it by his actions that day, by the entire life that brought him to the instant he was lost ... That is the answer to all of my questions. I need nothing else.
Now, Kelly may be headed to Washington D.C., but it's abundantly clear that, should he be confirmed, he will be taking his son's memory with him. a strong foot-hold in his son's memory