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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Kelly

Birthplace: Reading, PA, US

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Home of Record: Reading, PA
Middle Name: Joseph

Date of Birth: 04 March 1938

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1959 - 1994
Robert Joseph Kelly

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1959

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Robert J. Kelly

Admiral, U.S. Navy

Robert J. Kelly was born on 4 March 1938.

Kelly graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1959 and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1961. Kelly's flying career included air combat in the Vietnam War. His staff tours included the Naval Postgraduate School and service in the Pentagon.

He was a graduate of the Navy Nuclear Training Program, and went on to command USS Enterprise (CVN-65). In April 1983, while he was captain of Enterprise, she ran aground on a sandbar in San Francisco Bay while returning from deployment and remained stuck there for several hours.

While most commanding officers who run aground are almost immediately relieved of command, Kelly went on to flag rank. He served as Vice Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies at the National War College, and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy, and Operations.

On 1 March 1991, Kelly was promoted to the four-star rank of Admiral and assigned as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT), where he served until 1994. He was the senior Naval Aviator in attendance at the 1991Tailhook incident, and was subsequently one of 12 senior officers recommended for forced retirement by Secretary of the Navy John Dalton.

Admiral Kelly retired from the Navy in 1994.

Medals and Awards

Legion of Merit
Air Medal


Naval Aviator Badge
Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge

In Retirement

Kelly became the Executive Vice President of The Wing Group, a leading international developer of energy projects. In March 1999, he became the President and Chief Operating Officer of Energetics, Inc., an energy consulting company and wholly owned subsidiary of the VSE Corporation.

Kelly is the current president of Pensacola Country Club.

Honoree ID: 575   Created by: MHOH




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