LT. CMDR. JONAS B. KELSALL- U.S. NavyHometown / City: Shreveport, LA
Date of Death: Saturday, August 6, 2011
Conflict: Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan)
Branch: U.S. Navy
Rank: Lt. Cmdr.
Unit: Naval Special Warfare Unit
Post / Base: East Coast Birth: Nov. 8, 1978, USA
Death: Aug. 6, 2011
A member of the elite Navy SEALs, killed in the shoot-down of the Chinook helicopter in which he was traveling to a rescue operation in Afghanistan.
Jonas B. Kelsall
SHREVEPORT, LA – Lieutenant Commander Jonas B. Kelsall was born on November 8, 1978, in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was killed in action in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011, fighting for his country as a United States Navy SEAL. Jonas committed every day of his life to the happiness of his wife, Victoria; family; and friends; as well as to service for his country.
Fast friends with all he met, Jonas was a magnetic storyteller who shared his compassion, humor, and energy with those around him. Full of spontaneity, he was known for surprising his loved ones, whether with playful pranks or unexpected acts of kindness—such as flying halfway around the world to surprise Victoria and her family on Christmas Eve.
Jonas led a fulfilling life with his wife, family, friends, and teammates. Devoted to his family, he and Victoria prioritized spending time with them in California, Texas, Virginia, and Michigan. He also took great pride in his job and valued the commitment, skill, loyalty, and friendship of his teammates. Despite spending a great deal of time on deployment, Jonas never considered his job a sacrifice, but instead a great honor. When not working, he enjoyed traveling with Victoria to places such as France, Belgium, Portugal, China, Israel and Turkey. Throughout all of his travels, however, Jonas was always happy to return home to the United States, and often expressed how fortunate he felt to be an American.
Jonas enlisted in the Navy after graduating from Caddo Magnet High School in Shreveport, where he excelled in soccer. Jonas completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado, California, in 1997. He then attended the University of Texas at Austin as a member of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, along with his future wife, Victoria. Jonas and Victoria discovered their interest in travel and love for one another while studying abroad in Paris, France.
Jonas received his Navy commission in 2001 and was one of the original plank owners of a West Coast based SEAL Team in Coronado, California. Jonas and Victoria were married in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2007 and in 2008, after an arduous training and selection process, Jonas reported to his East Coast based SEAL team as troop commander.
During his numerous deployments in support of the War on Terror, Jonas was awarded a Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals with Combat “V” Devices for Valor, a Purple Heart, a Joint Service Commendation Medal with Combat “V” Device for Valor, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, two Joint Service Achievement Medals and numerous other personal and unit decorations.
Jonas is survived by his wife, Victoria Jennings Kelsall of McLean, VA; his parents John and Teri Kelsall, who currently reside in Los Angeles; and sister Kim Kelsall, a native of Shreveport, LA. He will be eternally loved and remembered by his wife, family, friends and teammates.
A private memorial will be held in Shreveport, LA. and a private funeral will be held in Falls Church, VA. The burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that you consider a donation to the Navy SEAL Foundation “Jonas Kelsall Fund”, 1619 D Street, Bldg. 5326, Virginia Beach, VA 23459.
Published in Shreveport Times on August 20, 2011
From The Times at Shreveport, Aug. 6, 2011:
Local SEALs among dead in Afghanistan helicopter crash
By Adam Duvernay
Two Shreveport-born Navy SEALs were among the victims of the deadliest single attack in the nearly decade-long Afghanistan conflict.
Chief Petty Officer Robert James Reeves, 32 and Lt. Commander Jonas Kelsall, 33, both were killed today when a U.S. Chinook helicopter crashed in Wardak province.
Military authorities have not released the exact cause of the crash, but the ISAF did report enemy activity in the area.
The attack killed 30 American International Security Assistance Force service men, a civilian interpreter and seven Afghan commandos, the U.S. Department of Defense reported. Reports indicated many of the passengers killed were SEALs.
Reeves and Kelsall were both graduates of Caddo Magnet High School where they played soccer together, according to John Kelsall, Jonas Kelsall’s father. Both would join the military after graduation, though Reeves spent a year at LSU first, his father, Jim Reeves of Shreveport, said.
Reeves became a SEAL in 1999, his father said, and served on SEAL Team 6. He was deployed many times in his career and earned four Bronze Star medals, among other achievements, his father said.
Kelsall was one of the first members of SEAL Team 7, his father, John Kelsall, said, and received most of his training in San Diego. He attended the University of Texas right out of Basic Underwater Demolition training where he met his wife, Victoria Jennings, John Kelsall said. They were married for three years.
Naval Special Warfare Group TWO
Lieutenant Commander Kelsall, 32, was a native of Shreveport, Louisiana. He enlisted in the United States Navy in September 1996.
After graduating Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Illinois in December, 1996, he reported to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training in Coronado, California. Soon after graduating BUD/S in August, 1997, he attended Naval Recruit Officer Training Corps at the University of Texas until September, 2001. He then reported to Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command in Coronado, California for follow-on training and was then assigned to a West Coast based SEAL Team until April, 2008. He reported to his East Coast based SEAL Team in May, 2008.
Lieutenant Commander Kelsall’s awards include Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” device for valor (2), Joint Service Commendation Medal with Combat “V” device for valor, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Rifle Marksmanship Medal, and Pistol Marksmanship Medal.
Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Admiral Sean A. Pybus, released the following statement:
“Early Saturday morning, Aug. 6, Naval Special Warfare suffered a tremendous loss of 22 men while conducting critical special operations combat in Afghanistan. They cannot be replaced. We will honor their service and sacrifice, and embrace their families as our own, in this time of immeasurable grief. The outpouring of support and sympathy from the Armed Services, the Government, Communities and the Public is well beyond my ability to properly thank. The Naval Special Warfare Community is deeply humbled and appreciative.
Our NSW men were in company with U.S. Army aircrew, U.S. Air Force para-rescue and combat controllers, and an Afghan security element. We grieve for all of them, and admire their teamwork, commitment and courage. I have great hope for the future knowing that extraordinary men dedicate themselves completely to the idea and the actions of freedom and security, not only for ourselves but for others. We are truly blessed that such men answer a call to military service at the highest levels of professionalism and capability, but also deeply saddened by their loss. In the days and weeks ahead, I would ask for your thoughts, prayers and support for NSW, our Families, the Special Operations Community, and all of our Armed Forces.”Burial:
Arlington National Cemetery
Plot: Section 60 Site 9937