A U.S. Marine who survived two mass shootings is getting ready to be deployed to Afghanistan in two weeks for his first tour of duty.
Brendan Kelly, 22, told The New York Times in an article published Wednesday that his experience living through the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Thousand Oaks, Calif., only galvanized his desire to serve his country abroad in the new year, so he can protect fundamental freedoms at home — including the right to bear arms.
“This is what I can do,” Kelly told the newspaper. “This is what my role is supposed to be, as an able bodied and willing young man.”
Kelly lost two of his friends last month when a gunman opened fire at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, killing 12 people in total. He and another friend survived the 2017 massacre at the Route 91 country music festival in Las Vegas, which claimed the lives of 58 people. Kelly, who was hailed a hero for shielding a young woman he had met that night in Las Vegas, still has nightmares “replaying the terrible things that happened.”