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Father of SEAL in Afghan crash lives in SoCal

August 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
One victim from a deadly military helicopter crash in Afghanistan is 33-year-old Lt. Cmdr. Jonas Kelsall, the son John Kelsall, president of The Greater Lakewood Chamber of Commerce.

Kelsall was a Navy SEAL who was among 30 Americans killed when their chopper crashed in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday.

Kelsall reportedly was the officer in charge of the mission. He was trained in San Diego and attended the University of Texas, where he met his wife of three years.

Kelsall was killed along with his childhood friend from Louisiana, Petty Officer Robert Reeves. Friends there are showing their support for the men's sacrifice by displaying the American flag.

"I'm proud of them. They died doing what they wanted to do, protecting us, and keeping us safe. I'm sure the rest of the team will carry on with their work," said neighbor Gerri Woolbert.

Saturday's incident was the deadliest single loss for U.S. forces in the decade-long war. International military forces worked on Monday to recover every last piece of a Chinook helicopter from the rugged area of eastern Wardak province.

The exact cause of the crash remains under investigation, but some officials have said that the helicopter was shot down.

People across the nation are mourning the loss of the soldiers. For the loved ones of the fallen soldiers, the news has been devastating. The last words one couple shared will never be forgotten.

"He said, 'You and the girls are always in my heart. Don't worry, this place isn't going to change me. I'm going to change this place. That's just how I am.' He said 'I love you, Ma. Just take care of my girls,'" said Candie Reagan, the fiancée of a fallen soldier.

Families are in the process of making funeral arrangements, but a joint service is expected to take place in Arlington, Va.

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