Mark Kelly retires from Navy to be with Giffords

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 22, 2011 2:34 PM
Mark Kelly retires from Navy to be with Giffords

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Captain Mark Kelly, the astronaut who commanded the last Space Shuttle Endeavour flight into space and the husband of Gabrielle Giffords, will retire from the United States Navy and NASA effective October 1.

Kelly said that he wanted help Giffords' recovery from the close-range gunshot to the head on January 8.

"I want to be by her side. Stepping aside from my work in the Navy and at NASA will allow me to be with her and with my two daughters," Kelly said in a statement posted to his Facebook page on Tuesday.

"Words cannot convey my deep gratitude for the opportunities I have been given to serve our great nation," Kelly said.

"From the day I entered the United States Merchant Marine Academy in the summer of 1982 to the moment I landed the Space Shuttle Endeavour three weeks ago, it has been my privilege to advance the ideals that define the United States of America."

He said that he hoped to serve the country again in the future.

Kelly and Giffords will also write a memoir together, a spokesman for Giffords said, confirming a report in the Arizona Republic.

(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Jerry Norton)