Rank and organization:   Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, 311th Infantry, 78th
Place and date:   Kesternich, Germany, 3031 January 1945.
Entered service at:   Keyser, W. Va.
Birth:   Roda, W. Va.
G.O. No.: 77, 10
Citation:   In charge of the leading squad of Company E,
he heroically spearheaded the attack in furious house-to-house fighting.
Early on 30 January, he led his men through intense mortar and small arms
fire in repeated assaults on barricaded houses. Although twice wounded,
once when struck in the back, the second time when a mortar shell fragment
passed through his left hand and rendered it practically useless, he refused
to withdraw and continued to lead his squad after hasty dressings had been
applied. His serious wounds forced him to fire his rifle with 1 hand, resting
it on rubble or over his left forearm. To blast his way forward with hand
grenades, he set aside his rifle to pull the pins with his teeth while
grasping the missiles with his good hand. Despite these handicaps, he created
tremendous havoc in the enemy ranks. He rushed l house, killing 3 of the
enemy and clearing the way for his squad to advance. On approaching the
next house, he was fired upon from an upstairs window. He killed the sniper
with a single shot and similarly accounted for another enemy soldier who
ran from the cellar of the house. As darkness came, he assigned his men
to defensive positions, never leaving them to seek medical attention. At
dawn the next day, the squad resumed the attack, advancing to a point where
heavy automatic and small arms fire stalled them. Despite his wounds, S/Sgt.
Kelley moved out alone, located an enemy gunner dug in under a haystack
and killed him with rifle fire. He returned to his men and found that a
German machinegun, from a well-protected position in a neighboring house,
still held up the advance. Ordering the squad to remain in comparatively
safe positions, he valiantly dashed into the open and attacked the position
single-handedly through a hail of bullets. He was hit several times and
fell to his knees when within 25 yards of his objective; but he summoned
his waning strength and emptied his rifle into the machinegun nest, silencing
the weapon before he died. The superb courage, aggressiveness, and utter
disregard for his own safety displayed by S/Sgt. Kelley inspired the men
he led and enabled them to penetrate the last line of defense held by the
enemy in the village of Kesternich .
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)