b. 24/06/1898 Chicago, Illinois. d. 20/11/1957 Chicago, Illinois.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 13/10/1918 Blanc Mont Ridge, France.
Kelly was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 24, 1898. He enlisted as a private in the United States Marine Corps on May 15, 1917 in Port Royal, South Carolina. On September 5, 1917, he joined the 7th Company, 6th Regiment, at Quantico, Virginia, and on September 12, 1917, he was transferred to the 78th Company. On January 19, 1918, his regiment embarked from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the USS Henderson and arrived at St. Nazaire, France on February 5, 1918.
Private Kelly participated in engagements at Château-Thierry, St. Mihiel, Blanc Mont and the Meuse-Argonne offensive. In the desperate fighting at Blanc Mont Ridge he ran "100 yards in advance of the front line and attacked an enemy machine-gun nest", for which he was awarded both the Army and Navy Medals of Honor.
He also participated in the march to the Rhine River and in the occupation of the Coblenz Bridgehead, from November 17, to December 12, 1918. Pvt Kelly was honorably discharged, with character "Excellent" at the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia on August 14, 1919.
The circumstances of Pvt Kelly's Medal of Honor decoration were unique. It was pinned on his chest by General John J. Pershing, Commander-in-Chief, American Expeditionary Force, while Pvt Kelly was with the Army of Occupation. With him in line, waiting for other decorations were U.S. Army Major Generals Dickman, Muir, Haan and Hines. His foreign decorations include the French Croix de guerre with Bronze Star; French Croix de guerre with Palm; Montenegrin Silver Medal for bravery; the French Médaille militaire; and the Italian Croce al Merito di Guerra.
Private Kelly ran through our barrage 100 yards in advance of the front line and attacked an enemy machine- gun nest, killing the gunner with a grenade, shooting another member of the crew with his pistol, and returning through the barrage with eight prisoners.
BURIAL LOCATION: ALL SAINTS RC CEMETERY, DES PLAINES, ILLINOIS.
13, Section 2, Row 4, Grave 12
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