Two Shreveport Navy SEALs who died when their Chinook helicopter came under enemy fire in Afghanistan in 2011 are now permanently memorialized in the city’s Riverview Park.
Lt. Cmdr. Jonas Kelsall and Chief Petty Officer Robert Reeves, both 32, rose to the most elite force – Seal Team 6 – which is known for killing Osama Bin Laden. At the dedication ceremony, Reeves’ father, Jim, said they were patriots with unfailing loyalty to country and each other.
“All of those guys were just like brothers. It would be fitting to have all 22 of them right here just because that’s how close they all were. And they all had each other’s back," Reeves said.
The memorial is made of three angled granite slab foundations. The bronze busts of the soldiers’ heads are attached to the granite wall. The monument was designed by Dr. Jim Ciaravella of Shreveport. After hearing about the tragic incident, Ciaravella said he was inspired to create the memorial.
“I’m really pleased with it. My main hope is the families are pleased with it. That’s who stood out very much in my mind. They participated from day one. I got their permission before even starting anything," Ciaravella said.
Shreveport mayor Cedric Glover said the memorial displays the price of freedom, and he hopes it inspires all people to do their best in life and try harder.
“We have an obligation to do what we can to make our community a better place. For U.S. Navy SEALs Jonas Kelsall and Robert Reeves, that meant traveling to the far corners of the globe, putting their lives at risk every second of every day, so we could be here safe," Glover said.
About two hundred people attended the ceremony. Kelsall and Reeves also have tributes at their alma mater, Caddo Magnet High and Arlington National Cemetery.