OMAHA, Neb. – Marine Lance Cpl. Shane Kielion was killed in action in Iraq not knowing that his first child had been born just hours before.
April Kielion, the Marine's widow and high school sweetheart, gave birth to a boy in Omaha on Monday, said Kielion's old high school football coach, Jay Ball.
"She's hanging in there," Ball said. "She's a strong woman. She's got a terrific family and lots of supportive friends."
The baby was named Shane Kielion Jr., said April Kielion's father, Don Armstrong. He said his daughter was "doing as well as to be expected under the pressure."
Shane Kielion, a rifleman in the 1st Marine Division of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, was killed Monday in Al Anbar Province, the military said.
Officials at Camp Pendleton (search), Calif., where he was stationed, refused to comment on how he was killed. Anbar Province (search) includes Fallujah — which American forces now control after a lengthy offensive — as well as other guerrilla strongholds.
The family is numb, said Ball. "It's time for them to do some healing," Ball said.
Kielion joined the Marines on Dec. 3, 2002, and this was his second tour in Iraq.
Ball said Kielion had come home to visit in August, and bragged about his family.
"He was excited about his baby on the way and he always told me how beautiful his wife was," Ball told KMTV News in Omaha (search).
He started at quarterback for Omaha South High School in 1997 and 1998. He went to Peru State College for a short time on a football scholarship, but when that didn't work out he returned to Omaha to work and joined the Marines, Ball said.
"He wanted to improve his life for his family," Ball said.