Obama taps Boston native to lead Southern Command 

President Barack Obama has nominated a U.S. Marine general from Boston to be the next commander of the military's Southern Command.

Lt. Gen. John Kelly appointment to the Miami-based position is subject to Senate confirmation. If promoted to the four-star post, Kelly would succeed Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser as head of a command responsible for protecting the southern approaches into the United States.

Kelly is currently senior military assistant to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

He is one of the most senior military officers to lose a child in the war in Afghanistan. His 29-year-old son, Lt. Robert M. Kelly of Tallahassee, Fla., was killed Nov. 9, 2010, in Helmand province.

Kelly is the former commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif. He led the unit in Iraq beginning in early 2008.

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