Mark Kelly retiring from Navy, NASA to be with Rep. Giffords
June 21st, 2011
11:53 AM ET

Mark Kelly retiring from Navy, NASA to be with Rep. Giffords

Capt. Mark Kelly announced his retirement from the United States Navy and NASA on his Facebook page Tuesday.

"Words cannot convey my deep gratitude for the opportunities I have been given to serve our great nation," he said in the post. "From the day I entered the United States Merchant Marine Academy in the summer of 1982 to the moment I landed the Space Shuttle Endeavour three weeks ago, it has been my privilege to advance the ideals that define the United States of America."

His retirement will take effect on October 1, the post said.

Kelly said that he wants to be with his wife Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on her "mission of recovery."

Giffords was shot in the head January 8 in a mass shooting in Tucson that left six people dead. She was sent to the Houston facility January 21 to undergo intense rehabilitation. She was released last week to go through outpatient therapy.

Kelly, who has been with NASA for 15 years, completed his fourth and final shuttle mission on June 1. The space agency's 31-year shuttle program is coming to a close with the final mission, a flight of the shuttle Atlantis, in July.

In his Facebook posting, Kelly said he "will be forever grateful to the NASA managers who trusted me with this enormous responsibility during such a difficult period in my personal life."

Before joining the space program, Kelly served as a Navy pilot and flew combat missions in Operation Desert Storm from the aircraft carrier USS Midway.

"There is no higher calling" than military service, he said. "These are the people who inspire me with their sacrifice and timeless sense of duty."

Despite the end of the shuttle program, Kelly said he is optimistic about NASA's future: "Exploration is a critical component of what makes our country great. We will continue to explore and NASA will continue to lead that effort."

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Filed under: Gabrielle Giffords
soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. gremlin

    And I'm saying you can't base your facts of how things were from nostalgic recollections. I talked to my grandparents and my parents. And it wasn't as rosy as you claim, at least not where I live. "The Greatest Generation"? These pieces are always biased, look at the t itle. Do you think they are going to film something that is going to anger the people that they want to watch these films. Women in the 1940s couldn't wear pants in public because that's not what you do. Blacks couldn't marry whites because that's how it is. Do you think gays didn't exist because you don't read about them? The Beatnik generation had one of the most active gay populations in the last century with the exception the current one. It's as I expected you base the moral fiber of decades past on nostalgia not on actual events. The ancient Greeks lamented that civilization would soon collapse because of the degeneracy of the coming generation. People often look to previous generations as "better" and "more moral," particularly older people comparing theirs to current ones. Doesn't make it so.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • gremlin

      This was intended as a response. Sorry, it won't make much sense as to why it's here out of context.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff O

      So now you know all about what my parents and grandparents told should change your screen name to gremlin the mind reader. I guess you know all about my grandmothers childhood in Poland during WWI, of course you do, you know everything else. I don't remember them telling me about road rage, or drive by shootings, or drug wars, or gangs, etc..yeah, they left that out to paint a rosier picture.

      June 21, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmazonGirl999

      Jeff O says: "I don't remember them telling me about road rage, or drive by shootings, or drug wars, or gangs, etc..yeah, they left that out to paint a rosier picture."

      They left that out? Are you SURE?? History shows and books have been written about ALL of that stuff. Ever heard of the MAFIA? Ever heard of AL CAPONE? LUCIANO? Ever heard of all those IRISH gangs that were killing each other and other minorities too? Ever heard of the Ku Klux Klan? Talk about "terrorism", those nuts were doing it BEFORE Muslim radicals thought it was cool.

      You've been hearding about gangs, drug wars, and drive by's your whole LIFE, but you were too busy watching reality shows to LISTEN. The Irish immigrant gangs, the Italian mafia, those WERE the "gangs" and drug pushers of their day. Most of them weren't suave and well-dressed either. Far below the big dogs were all those street pushers who got PLENTY of war vets hooked on drugs, chasing skirts and gambling. They terrorized small businesses and neighborhoods, they corrupted policemen and judges. You wanna REAL rosy picture? Google some articles about lynching in America, and notice how many are full of people smiling and posing next to the still-hanging CORPSE.

      Doesn't seem so impossible to believe, to me, that the generations who went through all that just MIGHT edit those bedtime stories about the good ol' days every now and then. But it's cool, you go ahead and believe whatever you want.

      June 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mary McIntrye

    @Jeff O:
    Why are you being such a dick to that military wife???
    You're an ass!!!!!!!

    June 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. @Jeff O

    I gave you what the figures are in my 20+ experience as a military wife. You responded to another poster saying something like, 'didn't you read the article? It's 25%'. I posted that in my experiences with all the military spouses, it was something like 60%. Of course I don't have official stats that you put so much stock in; I can only quantify my own experiences. I am not asking anyone to take anything at face value; do as you like. I was only making a general comment BASED ON MY FIRST-HAND KNOWLEDGE to you in response to your smart ass response to another poster.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff O

      And I replied to you originally that the military is a totally different case were things like separation and PTSD are additional factors. If you didn't read it the first time, I invite you to go back in the thread and read it. My "smart ass" response was to ANOTHER poster that said most all husbands or wives leave after a spouse has a serious medical issue... which is dead wrong.. she did not quantify it as military only and neither did I, you made the original distinction...its all in the previous posts.

      June 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. teremist

    Thank you Capt. Kelly, for your honorable service and dedication to our country.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Henry from Canada

    Mark Kelly . You and your wife have given so much to your country . I hope your pension is at least 10% of what the fat bankers drew as severence pay when they bankrupted your great country . Wish much happiness to your family .

    June 22, 2011 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. kpat

    That was a beautiful and inspiring article , I also believe that our country is essentially a great place. I have lived all over the world, and with no disrespect to anywhere else, we may have issues, but we are working to solve them, I only wish it was with a greater spirit of co-existence. There is much that is good in our world, Mark Kelly and his wife are part of that, I wish them the best on their mission of recovery.

    Our Nation needs a "Mission of Recovery".I hope that everyone can pitch in to help, we are going to need everyone to contribute what they can, even if it is just respect for someone else's opinion. There are so many who are polarized with their differences of opinion, and it has brought our government tand our economy to an impasse.

    Here's hoping that all of us are inspired by the spirit of Mark Kally's service and appreciation to his country and his wife.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. K.Jeanne

    ICaptian Mark Kelly's position as a shuttle commander is one of great honor and one greatly admired by many. For Captain Kelly to leave his work to help in his wife's recovery shows great love. I thank him for his brilliant accomplishments with NASA and the Shuttle Program...and now for this complete devotion to his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. God speed!

    June 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. KPB

    Thank you for your unselfish service Capt Kelly. Well done!!!

    June 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. alumette

    Does anyone know the waiting list on the space program ? Difficult to get in. It is a prestigious and elite group of men who have the drive, ambition and quest for adventure and fame. Sacrifice ? of is part of the deal but the rewards can be...should I say ? astronomical...Capt. Kelly is well on his way to become a politician as his wife will not be able to assume her position but he certainly can and I think he will do just that. She likely will be in the shadow doing what recovering brain injury patients do...have good days and bad days. Ask Jim Brady.

    June 25, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. alumette

    I should say the ex-space program since it is being retired as we speak. Things could change ...who knows ?

    June 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
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