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Patty M.
Democrat WA

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  • Tribute to Lieutenant Colonel Kelly Marie Laurel

    by Senator Patty Murray

    Posted on 2013-12-13

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    MURRAY. Madam President, today I wish to pay tribute to an exemplary leader, an accomplished Soldier, and an extraordinary American, as she retires from Active Duty with the U.S. Army. LTC Kelly Marie Laurel has dedicated nearly 25 years of service to our great Nation and has set the very standard of leadership, strategic thinking, and selfless service that we expect of our finest Army officers. Culminating her career as the hand-picked Deputy Chief of the Secretary of the Army's Strategic Initiatives Group, [[Page S8807]] Lieutenant Colonel Laurel has served and excelled at every level of our Army, and she exemplifies the patriotism, fidelity, and commitment to which every citizen should strive.

    From her early enlisted career as an airman in the Wyoming National Guard to her Active-Duty service in key positions ranging from medical platoon leader and company commander to personally advising the Army surgeon general and the Secretary of the Army, Kelly has been exceptional in every respect. Examples of her ever-increasing responsibilities include medical platoon leader, 61st Area Support Medical Company at Fort Hood, TX, company commander, Headquarters, 52d Medical Evacuation Battalion; and later the chief of the Management Division, 18th Medical Command in Korea; and the chief financial officer for the widely dispersed Heidelberg Hospital and its nine outlying clinics in Germany. Her work and potential was so great that then-Major Laurel was soon personally selected to serve the Army's surgeon general as the senior budget analyst, the chief of the Financial Health Policy Division, and finally as the senior congressional affairs coordinating officer.

    Fortunately for me and so many Members of Congress, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller soon recognized her outstanding abilities and selected Kelly to serve as the Army's senior budget legislative liaison. I and my colleagues in both Chambers have personally benefited from Kelly's extraordinary intellect, keen analysis, and unmatched determination. During her tenure in this position, Kelly routinely worked the most sensitive, complex, and critical Army actions involving the Senate and House Appropriations Committees. Her wisdom and unmatched expertise led the Army to extraordinary success in obtaining vital funding for the most critical medical, environmental, and behavioral health programs and ensured that our soldiers and their families had the necessary support they needed during these years of war. Moreover, she was instrumental in obtaining vital funding for the restructuring and expansion of the Army National Cemeteries Program. Most recently, recognizing her leadership and exceptional intellect, the Secretary of the Army selected Kelly to be his deputy chief of strategic initiatives. In this capacity, Kelly advised the Secretary and other Army senior leaders on the development and implementation of critical service-wide policies and programs that will benefit the Army for many years to come.

    Kelly's superb career and character is also a true testament to the exceptional support and example provided by her family. As the daughter of first-generation Americans, Kelly was taught early the value of hard work, commitment, and selfless service by her parents Jose and Dolores Montemayor. Moreover, as a child of a career military family, Kelly learned to embody the values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage before she even knew there was an Army. As she has repeatedly demonstrated, to Kelly, these are not ideals but character traits; not platitudes, but requirements and expectations of every citizen. Clearly, her character, work ethic, and patriotism are examples to us all. We owe the highest praise and tribute to this great American and her family.

    Accordingly, on behalf of a very grateful nation, I join my colleagues today in recognizing and commending LTC Kelly Marie Laurel for nearly 25 years of service to this country. Although, to the Army, Kelly is irreplaceable, I am certain this exceptional citizen will continue to make great contributions to the United States as she embarks on the next chapter of her life.


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