James Kitfield describes life with the 3rd ID, including the audacity of its commander and the losses of comrades, including Michael Kelly.

During Michael Kelly’s final days, the V Corps Forward Headquarters occasionally received word from other reporters about Mike’s comings and goings. These accounts confirmed how well he understood his own nature. Kelly was seen at the scene of this or that fresh battle, covered head to boot in soot and scribbling into a reporter’s pad as he interviewed U.S. soldiers near the front. Among other reporters — who know Kelly’s work the way that baseball players can cite the batting average of an all-star — his return to the field and to eyewitness writing was a topic of conversation. His opinion pieces in The Washington Post often skewed to the conservative and acerbic, and those with different political views could be understandably put off. Yet Kelly’s unapologetic sense of right and wrong and fierce streak of independence were integral to both his writing and his life. It was part of the complexity of the man that the bite of his opinion pieces was nowhere reflected in his gentle personality, or indeed in his other prose. About his basic decency and craftsmanship, his peers offered no argument: Michael Kelly was back where he was needed most, doing what made him feel most alive — bearing witness to history with his own keen insights.

(Hat tip: RealClear Politics)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.