LaPorte Native Killed in Iraq

By: Robert Borrelli
By: Robert Borrelli

A LaPorte native, who had been deployed to Iraq only 16 days ago, was killed Sunday.

Nineteen-year-old Army Private Kelly Youngblood was getting out of a tank when he was shot and killed by a sniper in Ramadi.

Youngblood was born in LaPorte, but moved to Arizona when he was nine.

According to relatives he was the type of guy who was fun to be around.

His family says Kelly admitted he was scared when he was deployed to Iraq, but it was something he always wanted to do.

Kristen Chacon is Kelly’s mom. She said, "He used to dress up in Army clothes and shoot at little people, little plastic people with his BB gun."

When he turned 18, he joined the Army, panicking his mother. "I was hysterical,” she says. “I said, ‘why would you join in a time of war’?"

But he had the support of his family, especially at boot camp graduation in January to send him off to Iraq.

His mother says he was her best friend.

Kelly’s aunt, Dorothy Kalsow, who lives in Laporte says, "He wanted to be in the service, and he couldn't have picked a worse time."

Kelly lived in LaPorte until he was nine, and then moved with his family to Arizona.

His aunt Dorothy says, "I did see him this summer when he had his uniform on and everything. His camouflage pants, you know and all that. He was in 7th heaven, which he probably is now, too."

Kelly was a young man who wanted to serve his country and ended-up giving the ultimate sacrifice.

Dorothy says, "He was...eager to go into the service. He couldn't wait. He was a very nice young man. Very easy going and he was just a good kid. It's like so many other young men going and not coming back. So, it’s sad."

A full military funeral for Private Kelly Youngblood is set for March 3rd.

He'll be cremated and buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

A March 10th memorial service is planned in Westville.


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