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Jo Kelsey (1987: Bombs Over Kabul)

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Jo Kelsey (1987: Bombs Over Kabul)

Jo Kelsey (Born Joseph Kasun, December 2, 1961 -) is a Croatian-American Green Beret famous for executing Petya Yakolev during the 1987 Soviet overthrow and bombing campaign. Raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, Kelsey later became senator of North Carolina in 1994.

Early life

Jo Kelsey was born Joseph 'Jozo' Kasun in Zadar, Croatia, in 1961, to Dalibor Kasun, a longshoreman, and Z. L. Oberto, an Italian-American entertainer and former POW during the four days of Naples in WWII. He was home-schooled starting at a young age, and moved to Beirut in 1979 to study at the Lebanese University.

After he was nearly blown to pieces by a stray grenade during the Siege of Beirut in 1982, Joseph spent over a year in the infirmary recovering. In August 1983, Joseph was released from the hospital. With renewed faith, he converted to Judaism (the religion his father belong to) and became an out-spoken preacher on Christian-Jewish reconciliation.

After living in Santiago, Chile, Joseph settled in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he Anglicized his name and quickly found himself in the Special Forces after goading from an acquaintance. He worked up the ranks, and by January 1988, he was a colonel.

Operation Hamlet

Kelsey was chosen in late January to be commanding officer of Operation Hamlet, a clandestine mission to find and capture Petya Yakolev, leader of the 'New Soviets' (execution was authorized by President Reagan).

On February 15, 1988, at approximate 13:30, Kelsey and his squad were driving in an APC down M56 in southern Siberia. A few minutes into the drive, a loud boom was heard and a torched Soviet APC flipped several times, exploded, then came to rest after crushing several trees. Further investigation revealed a rogue rocket-propelled grenade fired from a nearby radio tower was the cause. Kelsey and his squad approached the wreck with guns drawn, and inside lay Petya Yakolev, bruised and bleeding. After a matter of seconds, Yakolev reached for an AK-74 from one of the dead guards, and Kelsey shot him in the temple with his SIG Sauer P228, killing him instantly.

Aftermath

Kelsey received the Medal of Honor at a private ceremony at Fort Bragg on June 4, 1992, two days before Mikhail Gorbachev would receive his Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House for his actions during Operation Amontillado.

In 1993, Kelsey joined the Democratic Party's platform, and eventually became Senator of North Carolina in 1994, running in the Presidential election against Michael Dukakis and winning. He served as President from 1994 to 1996, when he passed the torch to fellow Democrat Bill Clinton, who served from '96 to 2004, when he succeeded by Mark Schweiker. In a footnote, the currently serving president is Barack Obama, who expects to serve until 2016, as the 2010 Cleveland Act (imposed by VP Biden) calls for a maximum of three terms.

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