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Air Force captain dies in vehicle incident in the UAE

USAF Capt. Kelliann Leli and Capt. Jimmy Leli, the couple's last photo taken in Southwest Asia during 2020. (Photo courtesy of Capt. Jimmy Leli/U.S. Air Force/Released)
November 30, 2020

A U.S. Air Force captain from New Jersey died in a vehicle accident on a military base in the United Arab Emirates over the weekend, according to an announcement from the Department of Defense on Saturday.

Captain Kelliann Leli from Palin, N.J., died Friday in a “non-combat related vehicle incident at Al Dhafra Air Base,” the announcement stated. The type of vehicle was not specified.

Leli was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel at the time of her death. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Leli was a doctor assigned to the 60th Healthcare Operations Squadron at Travis Air Force Base in California, as well as the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing while deployed.

“Our entire Travis family is beyond heartbroken over the tragic loss of our teammate, Kelliann. We are thinking of and praying for all her loved ones during this unfathomable time,” Col. Corey Simmons, Commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing, said in a Facebook post.

“Our entire Travis family is beyond heartbroken over the tragic loss of our teammate, Kelliann. We are thinking of and…

Posted by Travis Air Force Base on Saturday, November 28, 2020

A number of Leli’s colleagues and friends took to social media to share their condolences in the wake of her death.

“Our Al Dhafra family is grieving the tragic loss of Capt. Kelliann Leli. She was an exceptional medic, officer, and teammate here, and her incredible presence will be deeply missed. I ask our deployed community to look after each other during this difficult time, to warmly remember the positive impact that Capt. Leli had on our team, and to keep her loved ones in your thoughts and prayers,” Brigadier General Larry Broadwell said in a Facebook post.

“Our Al Dhafra family is grieving the tragic loss of Capt. Kelliann Leli. She was an exceptional medic, officer, and…

Posted by 380th Air Expeditionary Wing on Saturday, November 28, 2020

Leli was married to Capt. Jimmy Leli, a KC-10 Extender pilot in the 6th Aerial Refueling Squadron at Travis.

After graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Leli earned her commission in 2012. She went on to complete her medical program and arrived at the United Arab Emirates base in June 2016 for her first deployment, Air Force Times reported. She was assigned to the Family Medicine Clinic at David Grant USAF Medical Center.

Approximately 3,500 American troops are stationed in the United Arab Emirates.