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Michael Lee "Combat" Kelly was a former boxer. He joined the United States Army c. 1940 and continued to box with other enlisted men. In July 1940, Kelly was arrested for manslaughter. Jake "the Snake" Cochran, one of his opponents, succumbed to severe brain damage following their latest match. Kelly recalled that Cochran had taken a beating in every round of the match. But kept rising for more. He suspected that his opponent had been drugged during the match.
The original Combat Kelly of the 1950s was the protagonist of his own series. He was a military officer active in the Korean War. Half of his stories were contemporaty adventures, the other half flashbacks to his service in World War II. All were highly jingoistic. He even bragged about personally capturing Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. The Combat Kelly of the 1970s was a World War II combatant. The following is the history of the second character.
Mayor Story Arcs
Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen
Kelly was given a chance to redeem himself by representing the United States in an international match. His opponent was Karl Schroeder, a representative of Nazi Germany. Schroeder arranged for Kelly to suffer an injury prior to their match. Kelly still entered the ring to fight. His opponent kept targeting Kelly's wound. Making his moves predictable and allowing Kelly to outmaneuver him. Kelly was hailed as a hero and all charges against him were dropped.
In 1942, Kelly was arrested in a second case of manslaughter. Details of the incident were not given within the Deadly Dozen series. Captain Sam Sawyer chose Kelly to become the new leader of the Deadly Dozen unit. He was to replace Dum-Dum Dugan, their initial leader. His new unit was composed of military convicts of varying backgrounds. The unit was active in the closing faces of World War II.
Kelly had several friends among the men of the unit. He also found a love interest in the person of Laurie Livingston, female member. A suicide mission in 1945 resulted in the deaths of most men in the unit and the crippling of Laurie. A furious Kelly threw his stripes and badges at Sawyer. It was his way of resigning from service. He would be returned to a military prison rather than lead another incarnation of the unit to their deaths.