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Troy, Mich., native serves double duty in Iraq

9 Jun 2005 | Lance Cpl. Zachary W. Lester

“Every Marine is a Rifleman” is a concept taught to Marines from the moment they step on the yellow footprints at the Marine Corps recruit depots.  For one Marine with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, it’s a way of life here. 

Private first class Jack W. Kelly, an administrative clerk, with Headquarters and Support Company, recently volunteered to serve with the battalion’s security platoon in addition to performing his normal duties.

“Before we left, me and a couple of other Marines in my section volunteered.  We were going to be attached to Company C or B, but with the way things were going out here we started working as scouts with the battalion security platoon,” he said.

Kelly is proud to be a Light Armored Vehicle scout and is doing something he wanted to do since joining the Marine Corps.

“Going on patrols is the kind of thing I wanted to do when I joined the Marine Corps,” Kelly stated. “The most interesting thing I did was a raid in Akashat. We cleared a lot of buildings and saw the way the Iraqi people live.

“I’ve also been to a few improvised explosive device sites and seen the damage that those things can do,” Kelly said.

Kelly works a portion of the day doing his administrative duties as an administrative clerk and spends his free time on patrols. 

Added to this work load is his time spent working a shift as a journal clerk.

“My job as journal clerk involves keeping track of all the events that happen throughout the day and tracking the patrols.  If somebody comes in during the day and needs to know where someone is at or what has been happening, I can look at my log and tell them,” Kelly explained.

The Troy, Mich. native studied urban and regional planning at Michigan State University, but felt he needed more.

“After I finished college, I realized that I didn’t want to have any missed opportunities.  I didn’t want to grow old without having done what I always wanted to do,” Kelly stated.  “I had always wanted to be a Marine since I was a little kid.”

This is the 27-year-olds first deployment in support of Operation Iraq Freedom and he is making the best of it.

“I like actually doing the job that we, as Marines, train to do.  I enjoy it out here.  It is not like I am not looking forward to going home, but out here I get to do the things that I joined the Marine Corps to do,” Kelly explained.