By Wayne Gates –
Many people know John Kelly as the White House Chief of Staff for President Donald Trump.
Kelly moved to the center of the national stage in October when he gave an emotional briefing to the national press corps in the White House.
Kelly was responding to a political controversy over President Trump telling the new widow of a fallen soldier in a phone call that “he knew what he signed up for.”
Kelly defended the president by saying that he was only trying to acknowledge that the soldier was a volunteer.
Kelly then shocked the press corps by describing in painful detail what happens to a fallen soldier and how their family is notified.
One of those watching the press briefing was Brown County Probate/Juvenile Judge Danny Bubp, who served with Kelly in Iraq in 2007.
“Everybody was riveted. When he said he went and spent time among the greatest men and women in the world, I got tears in my eyes,” Bubp said.
Bubp was referring to Kelly telling the press about being frustrated by the political controversy of the phone call and said,
“…the only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go and walk among the finest men and women on this Earth. And you can always find them because they’re in Arlington National Cemetery. I went over there for an hour-and-a-half, walked among the stones, some of whom I put there because they were doing what I told them to do when they were killed.”
Bubp reported to Kelly when he was the Commanding General of the First Marine Division in Anbar province in Iraq.
“The Marines were providing security to the Governor of Anbar Province. My job was to work with the governor to teach him how democracy worked in America and to provide him with support so he could be able to govern,” Bubp said.
“I reported daily to General Wiley Post, the Deputy Commanding General of the First Marine Division. His boss was General John Kelly.”
Bubp said that it was a bit of a shock to see Kelly on the national stage as White House Chief of Staff.
“I’m surprised he took the job because if its political nature. He knew he would be attacked. But he loves his country and he wants to serve it. That’s the bottom line,” Bubp said.
“Kelly will take to that job everything he has ever served for as a Marine. That is precision, attention to detail, patriotism and a desire to serve. There could not be a better person giving the president advice. I have immense respect for John Kelly and there is no doubt in my mind that he will always do what’s right, no matter the political consequences.”
When asked to describe how it felt to serve with Kelly in Iraq, Bubp simply responded, “I had a great opportunity to serve for and with an incredible officer and man.”
Kelly’s decision to take the podium in the press room has made him a different kind of target than the one he might have been in combat. His closing remark to the press corps last October indicated that he was ready to keep fighting.
“We don’t look down upon those of you who that haven’t served,” Kelly told reporters.
“In fact, in a way we’re a little bit sorry because you’ll have never have experienced the wonderful joy you get in your heart when you do the kinds of things our service men and women do — not for any other reason than they love this country. So just think of that.”