Assumption of Command

14 May 2005

Retired Navy Captian Volunteers to Work In Iraq

Tom Kelly is a retired Navy Captain who has been working in Baghdad for a Dinning Facility contractor. The first thing that come to my mind is he is doing to for the money. But that doesn't seem to be the case:

Man, 67, Volunteers in Iraq to Support U.S. Troops:
What’s he thinking?

“I’m not there for the money,” he’s quick to note. “I could make as much money working for the Maine DOT as I do over in Iraq. I’m there to do whatever I can to support these young soldiers, both our soldiers and these young Iraqi Army and National Guard soldiers, who more and more are on the front lines.”

A decorated veteran of two tours in Vietnam, Kelly said he feels compelled to provide direct support for the U.S. war effort in any way he can. His patriotism runs deep, an emotion that was galvanized for life upon his return from Vietnam.

“When I came back from ’Nam in 1972, I landed at San Francisco as a lieutenant commander,” he said. “As I came off my ship, American citizens, college students probably, threw rotten eggs at me. I never, never forgot that. It was almost as painful as some of the atrocities I saw in Vietnam.

“Forget the reason why we’re there,” he said of the U.S. military occupation of Iraq. “I don’t even want to get into that. I just want to help the troops.”
How cool is this guy. A retired Navy Captain (equal to an Army Colonel) makes a good retirement, and at 67 he is still working. Who am I kidding he makes a great retirement. That takes some serious energy and dedication. I will be happy if at 67 I have the energy and ability to work full time, I just hope I don't need to :) Mr. Kelly doesn't need to but he does anyhow.

Mr. Kelly is very optimistic about not only the US troops, but the Iraqi troops that he meets as well.
Young Iraqi boys — 18 to 20 years old — are coming in and joining up by the hundreds, even though the insurgents are blowing them up, left and right.

“I’ve talked with them personally, and they realize they need to do this for them, for their country,” he said. “I think people in Iraq realize they have