Keeping Fallen Michael Kelley’s Memory Alive
by Sgt. 1st Class Laura Berry
Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs
November 15, 2018
The rain held off as people gathered on Hancock Street, which was
blocked off for the dedication ceremony of the recently remodeled
National Guard armory that has been in Quincy, Mass. since 1924. The
armory, now known as the Kelley Armory, was named in honor of Sgt.
Michael Jason Kelley of Battery E., 101st Field Artillery Regiment,
Massachusetts Army National Guard.
Sgt. Kelley, of Scituate,
Mass., was killed in action on June 8, 2005 at Camp Salerno, Shkin
Province, Afghanistan, when Camp Salerno came under heavy fire
during what was one of the harshest battles of the early stages of
Operation Enduring Freedom. A mortar attack on a helicopter landing
zone where Kelley was working resulted in his death along with
another U.S. Soldier. Kelley became the first Massachusetts National
Guard combat casualty in the Global War on Terrorism.
Remodeled National Guard armory
is named for fallen Massachusetts National Guard soldier
Sgt. Michael J. Kelley of Battery E., 101st Field Artillery
Regiment on August 12, 2018. Sgt. Kelley, of Scituate,
Massachusetts, was killed in action on June 8, 2005 at Camp
Salerno, Shkin Province, Afghanistan, when Camp Salerno came
under heavy fire during what was one of the harshest battles
of the early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom. (Image
created by USA Patriotism! from Massachusetts National Guard
photos by Sgt. 1st Class Laura Berry)
Thirteen years later, Kelley’s memory is not forgotten. His
family was among those in attendance at the dedication ceremony and
they were proud and honored by the dedication to their Michael.
“This memorial in memory of my brother is so much more than the
sign on this building in which his name is being placed. It’s
keeping Michael’s memory alive for years to come,” said his sister
Joe Kelley, Michael’s father, said that one
of Michael’s favorite movies was Tommy Boy and a quote from the
movie is etched on his gravestone. “Brothers don’t shake hands,
brothers gotta hug.”
“Michael was a fun guy to be with.
Always had something nice to talk about,” Joe said with emotion and
Karianne described him as the life of the party.
devotion to his country and his patriotism are undeniable,” said Lt.
Col. Peter Fiorentino, Battalion Commander of the 101st Field
Artillery Regiment. “I was honored to know him personally.”
Now that the remodeling construction is coming to a close, the
armory will be ready for occupants. The updates to the building are
long overdue and will be a welcome boost to morale for those who
work there. Soon, Kelley’s brothers and sisters from the 101st Field
Artillery will be moving back into the updated building to walk the
same halls he once walked.
A plaque with the armory’s new
name and a sketch of Sgt. Kelley was ceremoniously hung inside the
armory by his father, while other members of the family helped out
or stood close by for support.
“To have this armory named and
dedicated to the service and sacrifice of our son, Sgt. Michael J.
Kelley, has shown me and my family that we are not alone in honoring
Michael’s sacrifice, and how proud we all are of the hero he really
is,’’ his dad said. “For all future generations, Michael will never,
ever be forgotten.”
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