Lieutenant Commander (SEAL)
Jonas B. Kelsall
SHREVEPORT, LA - Lieutenant Commander Jonas B. Kelsall was born on November 8, 1978, in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was killed in action in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011, fighting for his country as a United States Navy SEAL. Jonas committed every day of his life to the happiness of his wife, Victoria; family; and friends; as well as to service for his country.
Fast friends with all he met, Jonas was a magnetic storyteller who shared his compassion, humor, and energy with those around him. Full of spontaneity, he was known for surprising his loved ones, whether with playful pranks or unexpected acts of kindness—such as flying halfway around the world to surprise Victoria and her family on Christmas Eve.
Jonas led a fulfilling life with his wife, family, friends, and teammates. Devoted to his family, he and Victoria prioritized spending time with them in California, Texas, Virginia, and Michigan. He also took great pride in his job and valued the commitment, skill, loyalty, and friendship of his teammates. Despite spending a great deal of time on deployment, Jonas never considered his job a sacrifice, but instead a great honor. When not working, he enjoyed traveling with Victoria to places such as France, Belgium, Portugal, China, Israel and Turkey. Throughout all of his travels, however, Jonas was always happy to return home to the United States, and often expressed how fortunate he felt to be an American.
Jonas enlisted in the Navy after graduating from Caddo Magnet High School in Shreveport, where he excelled in soccer. Jonas completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado, California, in 1997. He then attended the University of Texas at Austin as a member of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, along with his future wife, Victoria. Jonas and Victoria discovered their interest in travel and love for one another while studying abroad in Paris, France.
Jonas received his Navy commission in 2001 and was one of the original plank owners of a West Coast based SEAL Team in Coronado, California. Jonas and Victoria were married in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2007 and in 2008, after an arduous training and selection process, Jonas reported to his East Coast based SEAL team as troop commander.
During his numerous deployments in support of the War on Terror, Jonas was awarded a Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals with Combat "V" Devices for Valor, a Purple Heart, a Joint Service Commendation Medal with Combat "V" Device for Valor, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, two Joint Service Achievement Medals and numerous other personal and unit decorations.
Jonas is survived by his wife, Victoria Jennings Kelsall of McLean, VA; his parents John and Teri Kelsall, who currently reside in Los Angeles; and sister Kim Kelsall, a native of Shreveport, LA. He will be eternally loved and remembered by his wife, family, friends and teammates.
A private memorial will be held in Shreveport, LA. and a private funeral will be held in Falls Church, VA. The burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that you consider a donation to the Navy SEAL Foundation "Jonas Kelsall Fund", 1619 D Street, Bldg. 5326, Virginia Beach, VA 23459.
Published by Shreveport Times on Aug. 20, 2011.