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Obituaries | MILITARY DEATHS

Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Bolor, 37; Killed in Helicopter Crash

November 23, 2003|Jose Cardenas | Times Staff Writer

In letters home from Iraq, Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Bolor wrote about his plans to bring his wife and young son from California to visit his family in Hawaii.

"He said after everything was done, he wanted to come home and relax," his brother, Conrad Bolor, said from the family's home in Lahaina, Maui.

Instead, Kelly Bolor's siblings in Lahaina and his wife in Whittier buried the 37-year-old soldier Saturday at Maui Memorial Park.

Bolor, who was with the Army Reserve's 137th Quartermaster Company in South El Monte, died Nov. 15 when two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters plummeted to the ground in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

Seventeen soldiers died in the crash, the largest single loss of life in Iraq since major fighting ended May 1, military officials said. Bolor is one of five soldiers with California ties to be killed in Iraq during November.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday November 25, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 44 words Type of Material: Correction
Bolor obituary -- The obituary in Sunday's California section of Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Bolor, who was killed in Iraq on Nov. 15, incorrectly stated that he was buried Nov. 22 at Maui Memorial Park. His burial is planned for this Saturday.

As of Friday, 424 American service men and women had been killed in Iraq, 286 of them since major fighting ceased, according to military officials.

Kelly Bolor was born in Wailuku and raised in Lahaina, the third-oldest child in a Filipino family of five boys and a girl anchored by a single mother whose husband, Martin, died in 1968, Conrad Bolor said.

Their mother, Annie, worked in the cafeteria at Sacred Heart School, and her salary helped pay for the children's tuition at the school, he said. She died in 1995 at age 52.

Kelly Bolor graduated in 1984 from Lahainaluna High School, where he was on the wrestling team.

With no money for college, three of the Bolor boys joined the Army right after high school, Conrad Bolor said.

"That was an alternative route, hopefully to get a better education," he said.

Keith Bolor -- Kelly's twin brother -- chose the reserves so he could stay home and help his mother look after the younger boys.

Rocky Bolor, 36, enlisted for active duty, and is a sergeant first class stationed in Oahu.

Kelly Bolor also enlisted and was stationed in Kentucky and Alaska before he returned to the island in the early 1990s and joined an Army Reserve unit.

Soon afterward, he met his future wife, a young California woman -- coincidentally also named Kelly -- who was visiting Maui.

To avoid confusion, the Bolor siblings began calling them "Kelly Boy" and "Kelly Girl."

The couple moved to Southern California, where they lived in Whittier with their 3-year-old son, Kyle.

Bolor's reserve unit, which was activated last winter, left California for the Middle East in January. His job was to bring supplies to troops on the front lines.

In one letter home, he compared the aftermath of one battle his crew had witnessed to scenes of devastation from the movie "Black Hawk Down" -- about an American helicopter shot down in Somalia.

"He said everything was just demolished," Conrad Bolor said. "He told me that his soldiers would never forget what they saw."

Kelly Bolor was last in Maui in September 2002, his family said. In his letters, he talked about possibly buying a house there for his family.

"We were waiting for their arrival," Conrad Bolor said.

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