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Marines remember fallen engineer

19 Jul 2004 | Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes

Marines from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., came together July 19 to remember one of their own here. 

Marines gathered around a memorial for Lance Cpl. Bryan P. Kelly, a 21-year-old combat engineer from Klamath Falls, Ore.  He was killed in action July 16.

Kelly was killed by an improvised explosive device while manning the machine gun in the turret of a humvee.

"No matter what kind of heat or pain he felt here, it's all gone now.  He'll always be remembered here," said Cpl. Donovan Benally, a 25-year-old combat engineer from Chinle, Ariz.  "He's in a place where he feels no pain now."

Marines who knew Kelly best spoke of him with smiles on their faces.  They remembered all the funny things the young lance corporal would do to bring their spirits up.

"It's hard to translate the friendship I had with Kelly.  He used to be the 'GQ' of the platoon, always dressing up, even to go to Wal-Mart," said Sgt. Thomas M. Esquivel, a 24-year-old from Dallas. "Kelly was also a volunteer firefighter.  I asked him once why he joined the Marines when he had that in front of him.  He told me 'I want to serve my country while I have the chance and then be a firefighter.'"

Marines shared stories of Kelly's love for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  He was known to have two at every meal.  Kelly also had a love for country music when shopping at a base or post exchange.

"Every time we would go to the PX, Kelly would buy a male country singer's CD.  I asked him if he realized he only owned CDs of guys singing country," Esquivel said. 

He said Kelly asked him to buy a CD for him once.  When Esquivel asked Kelly what he wanted, he replied, "A female country singer.  It doesn't matter who."

The fallen Marine's friends laughed as the stories were told, remembering their individual experiences with Kelly.

He loved his parents and his fiancée, Kate, according to Lt. Col. Giles Kyser, the battalion commander from Dumfries, Va.  He added Kelly loved his fellow Marines and sacrificed his life for us to keep them safe.

His comrades took solace in the fact that Kelly was a Christian and was destined for good things after this life.

"If you know God like Kelly did, then you don't need to fear death," Esquivel said.