RICHMOND, Va. - Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, the Adjutant General of Virginia, confirmed that two Virginia Army Guardsman supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom were killed on Jan. 20, 2007. Gen. Newman said that Col. Paul Kelly of Stafford, Va., and Staff Sgt. Darryl D. Booker of Midlothian., Va., were among 12 Soldiers killed when the Black Hawk helicopter they were flying in crashed northeast of Baghdad. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Gen. Newman said, "All Virginia Guardsmen are saddened by the terrible loss of these brave Soldier. Col. Kelly and Staff Sgt. Booker understood the dangers facing our nation and were fully prepared to do whatever was necessary to protect this country and Commonwealth. I know I speak for all of the citizens of Virginia when I say that we owe these Guardsmen and their families immeasureable gratitude."
Gen. Newman went on to say Col. Kelly’s and Staff Sgt. Booker’s family and loved ones will be the first priority for the Virginia National Guard. Gen. Newman said the Virginia National Guard will stand with and support those that are affected by this tragic loss. Gen. Newman asked that VirginiaArmy and Air Guardsmen and the citizens of the Commonwealth keep Col. Kelly’s and Staff Sgt. Booker’s loved ones in their prayers.
Col. Kelly. was assigned to Joint Force Headquarters – Virginia, with duty at the Army National Guard Readiness Center in Arlington, Va. Col. Kelly served as the battalion commander for the 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation, Virginia Army National Guard, when the unit deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sept. 2001.