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Kelley, Michael J.

Sergeant Kelley grew up in Scituate, Massachusetts, a small coastal town approximately 25 miles southeast of Boston. He graduated from high school there in 1997 and enlisted in the Massachusetts Army National Guard shortly thereafter. He was assigned to the 1 – 102od Field Artillery in Quincy, Massachusetts. He later attended and completed Chaplain’s Assistant School.

After 9/11 he volunteered for the security force at Camp Edwards, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. After completion of his duties there he was assigned to the Artillery unit at Rehoboth, Massachusetts, and attended Radar Technician School in Oklahoma. He was sent overseas and was stationed at a Special Forces base in Shkin, eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. On June 8, 2005 he died when hit by insurgent rocket fire.

On 18 June, 2005 he was honored at Camp Pickett, Virginia when members of several Field Artillery units fired a memorial shoot of 21 M-102 towed howitzers. Three red balloons were released into the air, followed by 30 rounds fired at will. Over the Fourth of July holiday in Plymouth, Massachusetts he was again honored by a mortar salute. Sergeant Kelley was posthumously promoted to Sergeant and was also awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Sergeant Kelley is survived by his parents, two sisters and an older brother. He was buried with full military honors in his home town of Scituate.

On 10 June 2006 the bridge on Rt.3A over the North River connecting Sergeant Kelley’s home town of Scituate, MA, with the neighboring town of Marshfield was dedicated in Sergeant Kelley’s honor. Dignitaries in attendance who addressed the group were Congressman William Dellahunt, State Senator Robert Hedlund and State Representative Frank Hynes along with a number of representatives of the two towns. BG Oliver Mason, The Adjutant General, and two of Sergeant Kelley’s commanders added their remarks. Sergeant Kelley’s sister, Karianne Getchell, and his father, Joseph, spoke fondly of their recollections of him as a loving, caring brother and son, and of their pride in him as one who chose to serve his country. They thanked those in attendance for honoring him with their presence. Mr. Kelley especially thanked the legislators who made the dedication of the bridge possible. A local marching band played the National Anthem, a howitzer salute, a 21 gun salute and flyover by two F-15s from the 102FW at Otis ANGB, added to the ceremony which concluded with a pass in review by a number of MAARNG Artillery units in which Sergeant Kelley served. The steady rain during the ceremony did not diminish the number of town folks who attended.

Sergeant Kelley is the first member of the Massachusetts National Guard to have been killed as a result of hostile action in the Global War on Terrorism.