Rank and organization:   Corporal, U.S. Army, Company L, 143d Infantry,
36th Infantry Division.
Place and date:   Near Altavilla, Italy, 13 September
Entered service at:   Pittsburgh, Pa.
Birth:   Pittsburgh, Pa.
13, 18 February 1944.
Citation:   For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity
at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 13 September 1943,
near Altavilla, Italy, Cpl. Kelly voluntarily joined a patrol which located
and neutralized enemy machinegun positions. After this hazardous duty he
volunteered to establish contact with a battalion of U.S. infantry which
was believed to be located on Hill 315, a mile distant. He traveled over
a route commanded by enemy observation and under sniper, mortar, and artillery
fire; and later he returned with the correct information that the enemy
occupied Hill 315 in organized positions. Immediately thereafter Cpl. Kelly,
again a volunteer patrol member, assisted materially in the destruction
of 2 enemy machinegun nests under conditions requiring great skill and
courage. Having effectively fired his weapon until all the ammunition was
exhausted, he secured permission to obtain more at an ammunition dump.
Arriving at the dump, which was located near a storehouse on the extreme
flank of his regiment's position, Cpl. Kelly found that the Germans were
attacking ferociously at this point. He obtained his ammunition and was
given the mission of protecting the rear of the storehouse. He held his
position throughout the night. The following morning the enemy attack was
resumed. Cpl. Kelly took a position at an open window of the storehouse.
One machine gunner had been killed at this position and several other soldiers
wounded. Cpl. Kelly delivered continuous aimed and effective fire upon
the enemy with his automatic rifle until the weapon locked from overheating.
Finding another automatic rifle, he again directed effective fire upon
the enemy until this weapon also locked. At this critical point, with the
enemy threatening to overrun the position, Cpl. Kelly picked up 60mm. mortar
shells, pulled the safety pins, and used the shells as grenades, killing
at least 5 of the enemy. When it became imperative that the house be evacuated,
Cpl. Kelly, despite his sergeant's injunctions, volunteered to hold the
position until the remainder of the detachment could withdraw. As the detachment
moved out, Cpl. Kelly was observed deliberately loading and firing a rocket
launcher from the window. He was successful in covering the withdrawal
of the unit, and later in joining his own organization. Cpl. Kelly's fighting
determination and intrepidity in battle exemplify the highest traditions
of the U.S. Armed Forces.
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)