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  • Recognizing General John F. Kelly for 45 Years of Service to the U.s. Marine Corps

    by Representative Duncan Hunter

    Posted on 2016-01-12

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    HUNTER of california in the house of representatives Tuesday, January 12, 2016 Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a great American and fearless leader of Marines--General John Kelly, who is retiring this week after 42 years of honorable service to this nation. Few officers can claim General Kelly's long list of accomplishments, but that's just a part of what he's known for. He's also one of the savviest and most proficient officers among a very deep bench of leaders within the American military. And because of his talents and acumen, he's also among the most respected.

    I really got to know General Kelly during my first Iraq deployment in 2003. He had a reputation as someone who was willing to get his hands dirty, which isn't always true of many officers at that level. Looking back at that deployment, I am proud and honored to call General Kelly a mentor, and I am especially grateful that I was able to see up-close the value and significance of true leadership.

    General Kelly also has a way with words. He can honor or even memorialize Marines in one breath, and then motivate and inspire in the next. In fact, in one of his many inspirational moments, General Kelly eulogized two Marines who died as a result of a suicide vehicle. That speech, now known by the title ``Six Seconds to Live,'' is widely cited by Marines, military leaders and veterans alike, and exists as a testament to Marine combat ethos and dedication to duty.

    General Kelly also experienced an enormous hardship of his own when his son, Marine First Lieutenant Robert Kelly, was killed in action in Sangin, Afghanistan. We know, Mr. Speaker, that there is no greater sacrifice a Marine and his or her family can make--and as a nation, we are forever grateful for such a sacrifice. Some people might have walked away from their military careers at that point, but not General Kelly, whose oldest son is also a Marine. The Kellys are a military family--more importantly, they are Marine Corps family, and service to the nation is in the Kelly bloodline. General Kelly's resolve and courage, during the toughest of times, is a testament to his character, his strength and his commitment to his nation and his family.

    Mr. Speaker, the Marine Corps and the entire nation benefited from General Kelly's service and his many contributions, from a commander in Iraq to the head of U.S. Southern Command, where he's closing out his career. He leaves behind him a trail that he blazed over 40-plus years--and I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, there will continue to be many Marines who will aspire to walk down that same path. He would have been a great Marine Corps commandant, and he could have served anywhere and done anything--without limits. But as his Marine Corps career ends, knowing General Kelly, he'll be spending lots of quality time with friends and family--and it's time that's well deserved for his contributions as one of my generation's top military leaders.

    To General Kelly, I say Semper Fi. Thank you, on behalf of this entire institution and the nation. We are grateful for your service.

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