Major Chad Kelling is a native of Waukesha, WI. He then attended and completed his undergraduate education at the United States Naval Academy in 2009, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in History. His military education includes the Basic School, Naval Flight Training, MV-22 Flight Training, MAWTS-1 Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, and the Expeditionary Warfare School and Command and Staff College Distance Education Programs.
Following graduation from USNA, Major Kelling commissioned in the Marine Corps in May 2009 and subsequently attended The Basic School in Quantico, VA. Following graduation from TBS, Major Kelling served as an Assistant Staff Platoon Commander for the Naval Academy Marine Summer Training Program from June – July 2010. Immediately after this assignment, Major Kelling attended the Center for Advanced Culture Learning (CAOCL) language course, studying Modern Standard Arabic from July to December 2010.
Upon completion of the language course, Major Kelling reported to NAS Pensacola for flight training in December 2011. He received his wings and designation as a naval aviator in September 2012, and reported to the MV-22 Fleet Replacement Squadron (VMMT-204) for follow on training.
After finishing the MV-22 flight training, Major Kelling reported to VMM-263 as the Aviation Life Support System OIC in March 2013. He deployed with the 22d MEU with the Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group to the 6th and 5th Fleet AORs from February to October 2014. During this deployment, Major Kelling participated in multiple exercises in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, as well as OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE. Returning from the MEU, Major Kelling was subsequently assigned as the Current Operations Officer and deployed to Special Purpose MAGTF – Crisis Response Africa (SPMAGTF-CR AF) 16.1 from January 2016- August 2016. After returning from deployment, Major Kelling attended Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 1-17 and was assigned as the Pilot Training Officer. During this time, he planned and coordinated the squadron’s training detachment to NAF El Centro in preparation for the upcoming deployment. In March 2018, Major Kelling deployed with VMM-263 to SPMAGTF-CR AF 18.2 as the Assistant Operations Officer and Quality Assurance Officer, supporting diplomatic and military operations in the EUCOM and AFRICOM AO.
In June 2018 Major Kelling reported to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1), Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. While with MAWTS-1 he served as an MV22 instructor pilot, assistant academics officer, and MV-22 division head. He supported five WTI courses as an instructor pilot. At the end of his tour at MAWTS-1, Major Kelling was selected for command of Recruiting Station Raleigh.
Major Kelling has logged over 1600 military flight hours, including 1400 hours in the MV-22. His personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with one gold star, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.