In June 2015, Mr. Kelly spoke up again, this time to prevent Todd Shane Tomko, then a colonel, from being discharged from the Marine Corps. Mr. Tomko faced a litany of charges, including misconduct and sexual harassment.

In an administrative hearing before Mr. Tomko’s eventual court-martial, Mr. Kelly served as a character witness, joining the proceedings through a telephone call. During the call, the transcript of which was obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Kelly described Mr. Tomko as a “superb Marine officer.”

Mr. Tomko had never served under the general, and Mr. Kelly said he had little knowledge of why the colonel was removed from command at the Marines’ wounded warrior regiment. In 2016, during Mr. Tomko’s court-martial, Mr. Kelly again called into the proceedings to defend the colonel.