Cpl. Sean P. Kelly
Hometown: Pittman, New Jersey, U.S.
Age: 23 years old
Died: January 26, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Unit: Marines, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base, HI.
Birth: Feb. 18, 1981
Death: Jan. 26, 2005, Iraq
By Geoff MulvihillAssociated Press PITMAN, N.J. — Cpl. Sean Kelly, one of 31 U.S. troops killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq on Wednesday, fulfilled his childhood ambition early in life.In a yearbook when he was a sophomore at Pitman High School, he wrote, “In the future, I plan on being a United States Marine.” He enlisted immediately after his graduation in 2000.Kelly, 23, was killed on the deadliest day for U.S. personnel since hostilities began in Iraq 22 months ago. He was on a helicopter that crashed in bad weather in the desert, killing 30 Marines and a sailor.His tour in Iraq was scheduled to end on Feb. 7, his family said.Now, his parents Alexander and Lynn Kelly are preparing to send one of Sean’s two older brothers, Ryan, 25, also a Marine, to Iraq in late March.Sean Kelly played football and wrestled for Pitman High. He loved fast cars and motorcycles, his parents said.Growing up with a father, two grandfathers, a great uncle and other veterans in the family, he knew the dangers of life in the military, his parents said.“Sean was our hero. He always wanted to be a U.S. Marine. He died a U.S. Marine and was fulfilling his life choice,” Lynn Kelly said in a news conference Thursday afternoon on the front porch of the family’s home.His parents said Sean intended to be a career Marine, and when he was home on leave he talked to students at his old elementary school — where his mother is a secretary — about life in the military.His older brother, who followed Sean into the Marines and is now preparing to go to where he died, said he wants Sean to be remembered by one word: “Hero.”
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