Saturday, June 25, 2011

Army Staff Sgt. Nigel D. Kelly

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Nigel D. Kelly, 26, of Menifee, Calif.

SSgt Kelly was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died June 25 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire.

A highly decorated U.S. Army staff sergeant from Menifee has been killed in fighting in Afghanistan's violent and rugged Kunar province.

Staff Sgt. Nigel D. Kelly, 26, died Saturday after being shot during a battle with anti-government Taliban forces, the Pentagon said Tuesday morning.

An Army spokesman, Maj. David Bolender, said Kelly and a fellow troop were killed during clearing operations. He had no additional details.

No one answered a telephone call to a Menifee residence where Kelly's family lives. Neighbors said they saw Army officials at the house Monday morning informing the residents of Kelly's death.

"The military showed up and then all the family started coming over," said neighbor Chris Ellis. "It's a sad affair."

Kelly was assigned to 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

His deployment history included two combat tours in Iraq and one to Afghanistan.

He joined the Army in August 2003 as a combat engineer and was the recipient of numerous awards, including two Bronze Stars, the Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, a Valorous Unit Award and many other citations.

Kelly played basketball at Temescal Canyon High School. A couple of months before he enlisted, he played in a 2003 High School All-Star Classic in which he scored 13 points.

He was named to The Californian's All-Valley Boys Basketball Team for the 2002-03 season.

Mark Williams coached Kelly and recalled him as a serious-minded, hardworking player and student.

"He was very well-liked," said Williams, now the school's athletic director. "It's very sad and makes you reflect on what an outstanding young man he was.

"We'll miss him and wish the best for his family, which must be very proud of him."

Army Staff Sgt. Nigel D. Kelly was killed in action on 6/25/11.

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