A man who has survived two major mass shootings in the last 14 months is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan in two weeks.

Brendan Kelly, 22, told The New York Times that he never considered delaying his service as a Marine after living through the 2017 Las Vegas massacre and the November shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

“This is what I can do,” Kelly told the Times. “This is what my role is supposed to be, as an able-bodied and willing young man.”


Kelly signed up for the Marine reserves in 2015, following in the footsteps of two older brothers and his grandfather.

Kelly lost two friends in the Thousand Oaks shooting and has commemorated them and others killed in the Las Vegas shooting through a number of tattoos. The Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Kelly has been hailed as a hero in his community after saving the life of a woman in the Las Vegas shooting, and for wrapping tourniquets to help those injured in last month’s shooting.

He told the Times that he has dealt with nightmares and briefly sought therapy after the Las Vegas shooting, and has changed some behaviors, such as never sitting with his back to the door.

“There have been nightmares, it’s something I can’t really control,” he said. “I wake up and shake myself out of it and write it down and maybe even talk about it. ... Mostly replaying the terrible things that happened that night. And potentially what could have happened.”

Kelly’s parents told the paper that they are concerned about the potential effect on their son of deploying so quickly after experiencing major tragedies.

Ryan Kelly, Kelly’s father, told the Times that his son “hasn’t slowed down enough at all.”

“I am concerned that he’s going to get over there and that’s when it’s all going to come down on him,” he said. “He’s going to have to compensate and deal with that under enormous pressure.”

But Brendan Kelly said that he is determined to live his life as normal, and has cited religion and the support of family and friends in helping him do that.

“Even though I’ve been through all these events, I am just a guy that’s trying to figure it out like everybody else is at the end of the day,” he said. “And try to make sense of it all. It’s going to be OK that it doesn’t make sense because there’s no real way for it to make sense.”